February 5, 2010

Initial Impressions: Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Beta

My gaming budget of $180 for all of 2010 does not have much room for new games.  However, I saw this video for Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and remembered how much I miss the traditional Battlefield gameplay. (Found the video via ITG)

I've always been at odds with the Battlefield series.  I've been a fan since Battlefield 1942, but have skipped every other title in the series.  I played 1942, skipped Vietnam, played 2, skipped 2142.  I skipped Bad Company 1, but now I'm going to be playing Bad Company 2. (NOTE: I left out BF:Heroes as it is outside of the traditional BF series).

The first thing that struck me about Bad Company 2 (BC2) was it's destructive nature.  As can be seen in the video, almost every wall and obstacle can be destroyed.  This was something promised back in the days of Battlefield 2 and only partially realized in BC1.  BC2 takes it to another level.  No wall, box, barrel, or cement slab seems safe.  Annoying sniper on the third floor three buildings down?  Level the first two buildings and smoke that fucker out.

Oh, did I mention the foul mouthed soldiers fighting on the field?  Every other word seems to be fuck and I have no doubt the enemy (Russian?) one-liners are just as abrasive.  It takes a bit away from the game and with a kid in the house now, I have to pay more attention to things like this.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Limited EditionThe next touted feature for BC2 is the reworking of the Squad mechanic (first introduced in Battlefield 2).  BC2's flavor allows up to four players per squad.  Any squad member can become a roving spawn point instead of just the squad leader.  Even in random pick up group play there is a reason to be in a squad.  Lone wolfing it will mean a lot of running.

Fortunately, I was able to spend the first three hours or so of the Beta with Alex Taldren.  The squad mechanic shines when playing with a friend or group of coordinated players.  The game has built-in, squad-based voice communication which works well.  Teamwork goes a long way; Alex and I were able to remain on the top of the scoreboard running as an Assault and Medic combo.

The combat took a bit to get used to, but I've been playing so much Civilization 4 lately that my FPS skills were rusty.  A couple hours in and I was somewhat back to old form.  My only quibble was with weapon damage being all over the place.  Sometimes a good burst would take down a target, while other times an entire clip could be laid into a hard charging foe only to have them cover the gap and collect my dog tags (via a knife kill).

There is a level and enhancement system built into the game. As I'm only level 4, I don't have much of a comment on the system.  It seems straightforward and most of it does not seem as though it will create overpowered have vs have not situations.

On a side note, in BC2 there doesn't seem to be much of the insanity that the Battlefiled series is known for.  No crazy jumping, vehicle riding, or parachuting tricks.  It has a more realistic feeling, from environments to combat to vehicles.

I recommend this game to anyone that's enjoyed the Battlefield series over the years, but make sure to buy the PC version (its cheaper @ $49.95 via Amazon.com).  The Limited Edition will grant beta access prior to launch.  The game launches on March 2nd.  I can be found in game as [BLOG] Heartlessgamer