By Dan Finkelstein
on 3.9.10

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The men of Gear Patrol are connoisseurs of the finest things, and video games are not exception. That’s why, when Battlefield: Bad Company 2 was released, we felt it imperative to thoroughly test the newest big FPS (first person shooter) and pass along our thoughts to you.

The Battlefield franchise has long been known for epic multiplayer FPS action in a variety of historical (WWII, Vietnam, Modern, futuristic) theaters, with the welcome addition of vehicles to the combat. In past incarnations of the franchise, the game was solely multiplayer and did not contain a single player campaign. The original Bad Company debuted last year, featuring a small, squad-based single player campaign and now Bad Company 2 has really upped the ante in a field that has been utterly dominated by rival wargame, Modern Warfare 2.

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In the opinion of this author, Bad Company 2 has the best sound editing of any video game I have ever played. The folks at EA have really spent some serious time going over every detail of the audio to make the war zones inhabited by the game sound as realistic as possible. When guns are fired indoors, they are louder and more muffled; voice clips sport a similarly authentic treatment. When loud expositions occur, a momentary ringing of the ears adds to the madness. Every weapon sounds extremely realistic, and never before have I as fully appreciated my surround sound system. Take our suggestion and enable the “War Tapes” setting in the options menu to access the highest level of audio realism.

The single player game play is quite impressive with a campaign that spans a serious amount of global real estate including steamy jungles and windswept deserts. The story follows a set of four rough and tough soldiers tasked with suicidal, behind-enemy-lines-style missions. Although a pinch short on length and depth, the writing for this game is engaging and lots of fun (unlike the character-changing and confusing tale of MW2). The missions follow many of the standards created for FPS games (get to a certain spot, survive attack, rescue the POWs, etc.), and, unlike Modern Warfare 2, the environments are much more open and don’t contain an endless supply of enemies that continue to respawn. Vehicles are included in the missions and range from flying a small rotary UAV to driving Jeeps and tanks. Large crates are scattered throughout the missions and serve as points at which you can swap your weapon loadout in order to tailor your kit for that specific mission. Ammo crates are also found throughout the maps to keep you well-supplied as you take out the Tangos.

Overall, Bad Company seems to minded the gaps that were left in MW2. Most noticeable is the ability to destroy buildings and cover. This was experienced firsthand when we attempted to take a few concealed shots at a tank from a building. Our RPG hit square on the side of the tank, causing the behemoth to turn its barrel toward the house with a smoking vapor trail. Two shots later, the house that once provided cover was heap of rubble and missing a few walls.

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Much to our chagrin, Bad Company lacks the ability to fully go prone. We’ve been told by other players that this was to discourage “camping”, but, overall, it seems like a bit of annoyance. Additionally, there are some nuances to be learned regarding weapon usage. No longer is one required to “hold breath” whilst sniping, but rather you’re given a perfectly steady cross hair and must now account for bullet drop on long-distance shots.

Although the single player campaign is very similar to MW2, the multiplayer experience is completely different. Like past Battlefield games, Bad Company 2 is class-based. Assault, Medic, Engineer, and Recon classes all perform crucial tasks and are equipped accordingly. The multiplayer side of the experience also contains challenges and unlocks though, unfortunately, weapons aren’t as customizable as in MW2. The user interface is very clean and you can see how each class is progressing toward the next unlock of weapons or perks.

Bad Company 2 features several different styles of multiplayer goodness which are quite similar to previous Battlefield games. Conquest gives you a set amount of “tickets” and a team wins by capturing certain areas on the map. Rush works similarly, although “crates” must be destroyed by the advancing team (before continuing through the map) while the defending team attempts to prevent this. Both of these modes were fun but, on gigantic maps, there can be some ground to cover (albeit sometimes with a Tank or ATV) before getting into the action and pwning the n00bs. Squads are a huge part of the multiplayer game and really add a unique element to the gameplay.

Squad Deathmatch should be well-loved by MW2 transplants. This style of gaming pits four separate squads (consisting of 4 players each) in an all out deathmatch with the winning squad boasting 50 kills. This style of gameplay takes place on smaller maps and only allows for one vehicle. The action is fast paced and a good squad can really show of its skill.

Overall, Bad Company 2 is a really enjoyable game. It shouldn’t be called a MW2 killer, or even a replacement of the game, but rather a nice addendum to your FPS gaming collection. The single player campaign was a blast (literally) and the multiplayer hearkened back to previous Battlefield games with some and fun functionality. If you are an FPS, Call of Duty, or Battlefield fan, we highly encourage you to check out Bad Company 2.

Buy Now: $57 (Xbox 360 and PS3) | $45 (PC)

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