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Xbox 360 Review: Battlefield – Bad Company 2

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So, in Battlefield Bad: Company 2, there is an angry U.S. military official. He gives information to a Russian, who then lets loose an EMP on the U.S., knocking all aircraft out of the sky, right on top of the lead characters. The Bad Company Special Ops crew must rush a plane to kill terrorists, followed by the Russians invading US soil.

Why does this all sound so familiar? It’s almost like… we’ve been here before. Maybe it was a movie? No… a Tom Clancy novel? No, no, that’s not it. Ooh, what about a recently released video game from a rival game company who produced another shooter about modern warfare? Ding!

It is almost shameful how the story of Bad Company 2 mirrors that of Activision’s Modern Warfare 2, mostly because the two games are in direct competition for the same market. To be fair, there is the likely chance that since development of both games overlapped, no one on the writing staff knew of the plot devices in Modern Warfare 2 and it was too late to make changes. On this level, and to this extent though, it is hilarious how everything unfolds so precisely, you can see it coming long before it happens.

At the least, Bad Company 2 tells the story through well-conceived cinematics, a bit of the proverbial “fresh air” compared to the rival title. Instead of developing characters over a bunch of wildly flashing maps between levels, Bad Company 2 continues to establish the four special ops soldiers via humor. Whether or not is seems completely inappropriate for the intensity of the action is debatable. If it leads to a hardened Texan reciting Dixie Chick lyrics to make a point though, who cares?

This is a strictly linear first-person affair, breaking from the open and at times confusing level design of the original. Spacious maps still allow room for flanking or other maneuvers, not to mention the destructible environments that can (pardon the pun) level the playing field. Even though everything is closed off to a designated mission area, it feels open, enough to be free of any claustrophobic feelings.

In this market, not making gameplay comparisons to Modern Warfare is of course impossible, leaving Bad Company 2 feeling sparse. Most of BC2’s “moments” concern destruction or vehicle romps, not epic, large-scale gunfights in front of familiar landmarks. Enemies come in groups that are large enough to be counted on one-hand, leaving the player free to concentrate on blowing up fuel containers or same-looking houses.

Guns feel sluggish, arguably adding a miniscule level of realism compared to the totally unbelievable (yet satisfying) floaty, smooth feel of Call of Duty. Kills in BC do not carry the same sense of power, enemies crumpling over lethargically when popped. Echo-ey audio design, while a feast for the ears in the proper sound environment, also causes the gun to lack inert force. This remains unchanged from previous Battlefield titles, something that obviously does not bother the bustling communities these EA shooters provide.

Those same mechanics are what polarize the first-person shooter community, some preferring the scattered online, vehicle-heavy battles of Bad Company, others who are more bloodthirsty heading to Activision’s camp. Neither is a disappointing experience, and the more they copy from each other, the stronger each franchise will become. Where your allegiance lies was likely been determined since these shooters began competing.

Battlefield – Bad Company 2 is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood, Strong Language, Violence. This game can also be found on: PS3, PC.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.