Battlefield: Bad Company

Unlike Modern Combat, neither the war you’re fighting nor its location are deemed important enough to specify, which is a good job as it means that the generic dusty warzones that tend to dominate real-life war games are out. Your pursuit of the gold will see you blowing apart disturbingly familiar landscapes - quiet towns, rural backwaters… all will be reduced to rubble in your search for wealth.

Battlefield’s great strength has always been its sandbox approach to multiplayer gaming - but those who fear that a strong story mode will ruin all that can relax. As you romp toward the gold the plot thickens, creating a series of skirmishes in mysterious neutral locations. You’ll be told what and where your target is, but how you get there is up to you, and how your battle plans pan out is anyone’s guess. Being renegades, everyone out there is your enemy, so it’s just you, three thoroughly reliable AI teammates, and a powerful arsenal of weaponry against the world. For all of Modern Combat’s gimmicks (such as being able to take control of any squaddie in your line of fire), its single-player game was excruciatingly linear. Bad Company may still kick glutes in multiplayer, but now it’s got the best of both worlds.

Even if Bad Company’s plot was a run-of-the-mill tale of terrorist-splatting model soldiers, the awesome level of destruction offered by the Frostbite engine would mark it out from the glut of modern warfare titles. As it is, we’re marching toward playing the game for next month’s review with supreme confidence. We don’t want to drop too many jaws, but... this really could be up there as a Call of Duty 4 contender. Could. Be.

Feb 22, 2008