Battlefield: Bad Company 2 – hands-on

If you’re reading this, then you’ve managed to find a spare few minutes to drag yourself away from Modern Warfare 2. Yes, we know, it’s difficult – you’ve just got the Ninja perk and launched your first Tactical Nuke. But you also have the intelligence to appreciate that Modern Warfare 2 isn’t the absolute and final word in war-based online multiplayer.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 was always likely to be dogged with comparisons to Call of Duty. But the simple fact is that the Battlefield series has always presented multiplayer on a much grander scale, and for a longer period of time.

The dusty, bleached-looking level we sampled, set on America’s Pacific coast, has typical Battlefield magnitude. An evolution of the original Bad Company’s ‘Gold Rush’ mode (now just called ‘Rush’), your mission to defend or destroy two important locations will, as always, rely as much on transport as on-foot soldiers.

Gordon Van Dyke, producer of numerous Battlefield titles, admits to us that vehicles have felt a little fragile in past games. Not so here – tanks feel thunderous and weighty (not to mention devastating), while armored trucks and quad bikes are rapid but not quite so unstable. Of course, the finely honed ‘paper, scissors, stone’ nature of Battlefield games (Bad Company 2 being “the best tuned Battlefield to date”, according to Van Dyke) means these vehicles aren’t invincible.

Each of the four classes (Medic, Assault, Recon and Engineer) has explosive methods to dispatch armor. Plus, tactically maneuvering the fight from open, treacherous land to intense street combat is a specialty that DICE have been perfecting nicely since Battlefield 2 back in 2005…

In our hands-on we got a chance to play in two teams of five (rather than the full 24 players), so the colossal maps did feel a bit empty. Respawning back in base could mean a huge trek to get back into the action if you’re an invading force. This did, however, give us the opportunity to try different approaches of attack; storming in with a tank, sneaking round the flank on an ATV or advancing quietly up through cover on foot, for example.