(Artist’s rendering of Bad Company’s pacing)
I was given a copy of Battlefield: Bad Company shortly after the game’s launch and quickly forgot about it. A brief and forgettable foray into the single player campaign and a week or so with the multiplayer did little to convince me that the game was anything special.
So, finding myself between game rentals in the calm before this fall’s release storm, I picked up the game again to see if perhaps I’d overlooked the game’s charm.
Simply put, BC is one of the least compelling shooters I’ve ever played. Much of the game consists of long stretches of fighting AI soldiers that appear to be missing a crucial chromosome in bland, featureless environments. The rest is driving sluggish vehicles that never truly gain any kind of momentum through an unchanging field until reaching the next bland, featureless environment.
Scratch that. At one point you get to drive up a winding cliff road, which is a nice change of pace, until you’re forced to immediately make a return trip and endure the same tedious battle you slogged through on the way up. I guess it’s somewhat commendable that by that point in the game the developers seemed to abandon the idea of trying to trick the gamer into thinking they were someplace new and just said “uh, why don’t we send them back down the hill? Down is different than up, right?”
Much has been made of the game’s destructible environments, which admittedly is a cool feature that I can’t wait for Infinity Ward to get its hands on. But there’s no real satisfaction in blowing shit up in BC, as you end up just blowing the same hole into different walls and only certain parts of any structure are vulnerable. I’ll bet eradicating buildings is not easy to program, but if it’s to be a game’s defining feature, it had best show that some love had been put into it in order to really catch fire.
But here’s the ultimate testimony to how I feel about Bad Company. At the beginning of what I believe is the final stage, one of my squad mates pointed out yet another checkpoint in yet another bland, featureless environment and said:
“Looks like we have to take the long way around.”
I turned off my console, wrote this post and now I’m going to bed.