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Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (Review - PS3)

Directly competing with Activision's money-making machine, Modern Warfare 2, EA's Battlefield Bad Company 2 positions itself in the world of military FPS games with its key game feature: "Destruction 2.0".

Destruction 2.0 is the ability to damage and destroy almost everything in the game environment. Most buildings will eventually collapse after being bombarded by tank shells and explosives. Trees will get cut down. Concrete slabs slowly get chipped away by gunfire. Large blasts will create craters in the terrain.

The effect is that you get an immersive gaming experience that makes you feel like you are in a real war. Or at least, it's as intense as I'd imagine it to be!

Destruction 2.0 literally changed the way I view shooters. Just recently, I played Gears of War 2 for the very first. But when my explosives didn't actually blow things up in the environment, I was very disappointed. In my mind, Bad Company 2 (and Bad Company 1 as well) had set a new standard. I mean, if you blow stuff up, you expect stuff to get blown up, right?

This game is best played in multiplayer mode, which is basically the way it was meant to be played. With 24 people running around, tearing the place down, ramming tanks into houses, choppers raining down hot lead, things get really really REALLY intense and frantic! But the game isn't just about random destruction. In fact, there is a really neat squad system that rewards players for working together with your squad.

Each team of 12 (16 on PC) is divided into 3 squads of 4 soldiers. If you die, you can respawn with any one of your other squadmates (as long as they're not dead). In this way, one guy can suddenly become a group of 4 deadly combatants. The game also rewards more points for helping squadmates, such as healing or providing more ammo.

One new multiplayer feature in Bad Company 2 that I really like is spotting. If you point at an enemy and press the SELECT button (on the PS3), you "spot" an enemy. Once spotted, this enemy will have a red triangle overhead and will show up on the maps and screens of your teammates. If this enemy is killed while spotted, you get a "Spot Assist" worth 20 points. In conjunction with this feature, the sniper has an unlockable gadget called a "spotting scope" that automatically spots enemies for you when your sight passes over them.

I was also very glad to see bullet drop back in the game. When a shot is made, the bullet drops down as it travels farther (as it is in real life, due to gravity). While this might annoy some players, I have to say that hitting a headshot from extremely long distances while compensating for bullet drop is, for me, one of the most satisfying feelings in video games.

Standard with Bad Company 2 are 8 multiplayer maps, but if you buy the game new, you get a special code that unlocks an extra 2 multiplayer maps for free (those who buy second hand copies will have to purchase them). There are also 4 different game types: Rush, which is basically the original game's Gold Rush mode; Conquest, the standard Battlefield game mode; Squad Rush, which is like Rush except it is only 4 vs. 4 and has only 2 objectives compared with 12 vs. 12 and about 8 objectives for Rush; and Squad Deathmatch, where 4 squads attempt to get to 50 kills first.

Also, those of you who are tactical military shooter nerds (like me) will be glad to hear about "Hardcore Mode", where only a few shots kill you, and your life doesn't regenerate. You can play any of the online game types on hardcore.

As for its single player campaign, Bad Company 2 makes some major improvements over the first game. While the missions in the first Bad Company felt like a bunch of multiplayer maps scattered with brainless bots, the new enemy AI in this second installment are a whole lot better. They don't just stand around in an open field shooting in your direction like they did before

Unfortunately Bad Company 2's plot is a step backwards with regard to the first game. It started quite well with a very interesting intro set in World War II, fighting the Japanese in an unnamed island in the Pacific, but from then on the story spirals into a mess of cliche and blah. In addition, Sarge, Preston, Haggard, and Sweetwater are all back in this episode, but the writers didn't even attempt to connect it to the previous game's story. What happened to all the gold they found? Wasn't Sarge due for retirement (see Bad Company 1)? There was no explanation at all. The only explanation I could think of was that Bad Company 2 exists in an alternate reality universe.

I don't even remember what exactly the main plot was... Something about a generic angry Russian guy (who looks exactly like the generic angry Russian guy from Uncharted 2, as my friend pointed out) who wanted to wreak havoc on the United States with a generic EMP-type weapon for some generic reason. Or something like that. It's really too bad because, had DICE decided to get better writers to add a more compelling storyline, this would have been a perfect game.

Nevertheless, because its main component (online) is done so well, you can kind of, sort of, maybe forgive them for this flaw.

But only just a little.

If you're tired of Modern Warfare 2, you might want to take a look at this game. It's different, though. Bad Company 2 is more about tactics, teamplay, has larger, more open environments, and is generally about blowing stuff up (which, in my opinion, is the best part). But once you get used to it, you're (hopefully) going to love it.

As for me, Bad Company 2 certainly has defined online warfare.

Played on the PlayStation 3 (also available on Xbox360 and PC)
Completed single player campaign on hard mode
Unlocked all weapons, gadgets, and specializations in multiplayer
Reached Level 26 online, playing for 72 hours and 34 mins

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