Game Review: Battlefield: Bad Company
Release: 25th June 2008
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3
Players: Single player, 2-24 players online multiplayer
MSRP: $59.99, £49.99
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
These days a gamer can’t faint without hitting their head on a first-person shooter on the way down. Needless to say, many fail where others succeed. Many more copy the good, and sometimes the bad, from other games to, so much so that innovation has been all but pissed up the wall with last night’s vodka. However, once in a while, amongst the general crap we herald as the “Gaming Industry”, a title emerges with it’s head above the water and shoulders above the crowd, to prove that competetive gaming isn’t just about Halo 3 or Call of Duty 4. Welcome friends, to B-Company.
The textures in this game a very well detailed and almost photogenic in places. Now you have to remember, with the size of the maps in this game for both single and multiplayer, the developers had alot to prove in terms of graphical prowess, and I think they got it spot on. Soldiers and vehicles have a grittiness, weapons are realistically captured, masonry and the land itself surpass even Oblivion’s lush visuals. There are one or two games that have done better, that’s what the 9 is for, but again with the sheer scale of the game, it’s still better looking than most.
In terms of audio and sound effects no other game immerses you into it’s world quite like Battlefield: Bad Company. It’s a stretch in itself to attempt to explain in words what the sound is like in this game without an example. For obvious reasons, although I remain inexperienced in this particular area, war has never been captured so realistically. The game is also helpful in that it gives you three options to set your sound to, T.V, Hi-Fi, and Surround. Using the surround setting for your surround sound system adds to the game what could be called pure escapism, total immersion into the battlefield. It’s glorious to say the least.
It’s the game engine though, Frostbite, where Bad Company raises the bar for the genre. More than 90% of the landscape is destructable, with only some building frames and certain walls being the exception. This opens up this already open world shooter to a whole new style of play that current generation games have not yet matched. Gone are the days when a fragment of wall or vehicle remains would save your from a tank barrage, or a small building or shed would unrealistically save you from an artillery strike. The game plays well to, with simple controls and easy to understand gameplay. Online suffered from lag during the first weeks of launch, but things got sorted eventually. Some weapons can feel too powerful when on the other end of the barrel, the Specialist class in general feels unbalanced and too strong, but in general the classes each have their strengths and weaknesses balanced well, and when the team works as a team, the job gets done.
There is little need to add this section to the review, as it’s an online shooter first and foremost, but it will give me a chance to explain some things. Firstly, the single player can be done on the usual normal and hard difficulties, and includes collectables in the form of gold bars and unique weapons (which are all of the online weapons, but for use in single player). For Xbox 360, the Achievements are there for these things, as is the normal completion of levels on different difficulties. But online is where this game shines. It uses only one gametype for now, Gold Rush, which involves one team defending and the other attacking, fighting over crates of gold. It’s OK, but the usual battlefield gametype, Conquest, is coming very soon in a free download. This is what fans of the franchise have been waiting for, myself included. The online includes a ranking system, unlockables, in-house awards to obtain, and ofcourse multiplayer achievements.
Battlefield: Bad Company is a solid addition to an already hugely followed franchise. Without a doubt better than most of it’s peers because rather than follow the crowd, Bad Company matured from previous Battlefield games into something worthy of our time. With destructable environments, amazing sound, lush graphics, and a solid and addictive online system, Bad Company is sure to keep fans busy for many months to come, and with downloadable content already on it’s way who knows what DICE and EA have in store for this game in the future. If you have not yet tried this game there is a demo available on Xbox Live and PSN. Download it now, let it win your heart, and join the battlefield soldier!