Bad Company 2 Multiplayer Hands On - There is no I in Squad
Written Monday, November 16, 2009 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
Battlefield is about as close to realising this twisted fantasy as we’re ever likely to get, being as it has always been: a franchise that has offered one of the most satisfying FPS experiences available, especially in multiplayer. And thanks to DICE’s excellent Frostbite engine, Bad Company was even more fun, letting you almost level entire maps while comfortably ensconced within the impervious innards of a hulking great tank, launching a non-stop barrage of artillery towards anything that moves, or anything that doesn’t for that matter.
In short, Battlefield: Bad Company was pure wish fulfilment, packed with enough military hardware to make Kim Jong Il weep with joy and more loud, loud guns than you can shake a really loud, loud gun at. With a unique tongue-in-cheek humour, Bad Company’s single player campaign might have been the perfect blend of gung-ho military action and pithy dialogue, but it was the game’s multiplayer mode that ultimately left the most lasting impression.
With the first game’s unconventional, yet intuitive control system indelibly etched into our brain, it’s not long before we’re able to delve into the sequel’s intense multiplayer action. The controls remain largely unchanged and are still nicely accessible, but the interface is noticeably tighter, meaning that we’re never scratching our head wondering what buttons to press, where BC1 previously had you juggling through items and guns to find a grenade for instance.
At this early stage, Bad Company 2 is feeling very much the same as its predecessor, with the same massive destruction and same great gameplay. During our hands-on session, we completed three Gold Rush matches on the same Arica Harbour map – a dusty, beige warzone consisting of two military instalments at either end and a small town of shelled out houses in between.
Four classes of character, each with their own bespoke weapons loadout return from the original too, albeit boasting a broader range of hardware and gadgetry for you to consider before making your choice. All are quite self-explanatory, so Recon, Medic, Engineer and Assault classes pretty much tell you from their names what type of play style you’ll be adopting in the field. Appropriate weaponry and support equipment is assigned to each, but DICE has stated that over 15,000 kit variations can be derived from combinations of the game’s 46 weapons, 15 gadgets and 13 unique class-specific abilities. The upshot of all this is that it may take a great deal of experimentation before you finally settle upon a favourite setup to confidently take into battle.
Despite sinking countless hours into the first Bad Company, we find ourselves completely outgunned when running around Arica Harbour’s more populated areas, so sticking close to your squad is a pretty sound strategy to take. As in BC1, you select your spawn point each time you get torn to pieces in a hail of gunfire, but this time, having the ability to spawn on an active teammate, for us, is the most preferable option. Assault class is easily the best all-rounder, the no-nonsense auto-rifles proving lethal in both long range and close quarter skirmishes. Of course, this doesn’t prevent a ghillie-suited maniac sniping you from afar, but then you can always be that very maniac if you’re suitably skilled enough.
Jumping into a tank on the other hand brings the feeling of empowerment that makes Bad Company such enormous fun come rushing back, whereas suddenly being obliterated by several RPG launchers makes the feeling rapidly subside. It seems we’ve forgotten just how riotous Bad Company’s multiplayer fracas can get, with everyone competing for the same targets, snipers concealed in guard towers, helicopters shredding scenery to ribbons from on high and tanks trampling anyone dumb enough to wander into their path. Things invariably get chaotic, which adds up to one hell of an entertaining multiplayer experience, even if we do say so after playing through just one map.
We’ve yet to sample the new single-player, which supposedly follows a more mature B Company into darker territory, or the new vehicles - the UH-60 transport helicopter and nippy ATV, but based upon several rounds of compulsive multiplayer, we can confidently report that Bad Company 2 is looking very good indeed. While Arica Harbour is a predictably drab, sandy setting, the promise of added variety in the other maps in terms of terrain and gameplay focus puts our mind at ease.
The fact that Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is shaping up to be another, slightly heftier dollop of the same stuff that’s already gone before is ultimately not a bad thing at all. DICE appear to be right on track in delivering exactly what players want from a Battlefield sequel - simply more of everything. And then some.
We look forward to seeing how it evolves over the coming months.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is pencilled in for a March 2nd and March 5th 2010 launch date in North America and Europe respectively.