Battlefield Bad Company 2 Beta: hands on

We here at Critical Gamer are ardent fans of the Battlefield series. The last slice of downloadable fun came with Battlefield 1943. It only had 4 maps, which were updated from the original Battlefield 1942; but its exhilarating destructive gameplay and colourful graphics, made it one of the best downloads available on consoles so far. Now here is its big brother, Battlefield Bad Company 2, the sequel to the well received original from 2008 – which is deploying in March 2010.

The Battlefield Bad Company 2 Beta contains just the one map, Arica Harbour, which looks a lot like a Middle Eastern desert town. The graphics are more detailed than Battlefield 1943, although it looks like the colour has been drained away, leaving washed out sandy tones; which are in sharp contrast to the brightly coloured beaches of Wake Island in Battlefield 1943. There’s less of a cartoon feel to the presentation as well, with the characters all looking reasonably lifelike.

Water water...Is that an oasis before me!

Water water...Is that an oasis before me!

When you begin a game you have a choice of four classes of soldier: Assault, Medic, Engineer or Recon. Each have their own guns and abilities. These are upgradeable in the usual multiplayer way, with extra guns and perks as you level up. You have three specialist perks which you can utilise however you see fit. The Assault class is pretty self explanatory, wielding heavy weaponry. With Medic you can bring dead comrades back to life, and dish out medi packs to injured troops. Engineers can repair broken tanks and other vehicles, and Recon is the sniper class, which is a very useful skill in the massive maps that DICE have created.

The player participates in a game called Rush, which is similar to the first game’s Gold Rush, with you playing either as the American army, who are looking to take over the Harbour, or the Russians, who are defending their territory. When you start off you’ll notice two points A and B appear on the handy map. These are the key points to victory in the game. If you, as the attacking team, manage to get to these points and prime a bomb, then watch over it until it explodes, you will be on your way to victory, as you push the enemy back with their tails between their legs. However, if you are on the defending team, and are able to stop the enemy detonating the bombs, then it’s game over for the Americans.

Thats not a rocket launcher, THIS is a rocket launcher!!

That's not a rocket launcher, THIS is a rocket launcher!!

This level is split up into three distinct sections. The first is a military stronghold, which has fortified walls and gun towers to repel invaders. Once the two points are destroyed on the map, the action moves down into what looks like a small town on the harbour. In this section snipers have prime spots on top of the buildings to pick off enemy players. Finally we move onto the Harbour itself, which has you battling on a bridge, with a cargo ship and containers which can be used as shelter from the mayhem. The levels are all well designed and varied, with different tactics needed for each.

To aid you in your battle against the Russians, there are tanks, humvees and quad bikes to utilise. The Russians get to use tanks, and have towers with machine gun emplacements, as well as laser guided missile stations. There are also what look like computer terminals dotted around. When you use these stations you get to use a helicopter drone, which you can send out to the enemy base, and mow down countless enemies before the drone is shot down.  There’s certainly a lot more to it than Modern Warfare 2’s soldier v soldier gameplay. What you’ll also notice is the destruction going on all around you. Battlefield 1943 had plenty of carnage, but the Frost engine has been improved and now the destruction is a lot more realistic, with bullets chipping away at walls, while tank shells can blow holes clean through them, and eventually totally destroy certain structures, which can be used tactically.

Colours are muted, but you are in the desert after all!

Colours are muted, but you are in the desert after all!

My only gripes are that the game can be mercilessly hard, with you getting killed fairly easily if you are a noob. Experienced players can quickly dominate games, which could put new players off. Also, your energy doesn’t replenish as quickly as it does in the COD franchise, which leaves you vulnerable to attacks. Another problem is most of the time you never know where your killer was when he made the fatal shot – which can be a bit frustrating when you seek to rain vengeance upon them.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 is certainly a visceral thrill a minute, and we’re looking forward to seeing what DICE do with some of the other multiplayer levels, and the single player game. Modern Warfare had better watch its back, as this game is certainly not Bad Company.

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Written by Kevin M

I've been addicted to gaming since my parents bought an Atari console way back in the 70's. I progressed to the iconic Speccy, Amiga, and all the Playstation platforms. Having seen games evolve from single pixel bat and ball, to HD constructed environments, gaming has changed much from my early years. Having defeated the rock hard R-Type on the Speccy, the biggest challenge I've faced so far is putting up with the hordes of American teens spouting abuse in the current generation of consoles, noob indeed!

One comment

  1. half_empty80 /

    Oddly enough I’ve just come off the Beta for a bit of a break. It’s good. The classes are useful and there is room for getting plenty of points with each. The unlocks are good to play around with and are sensible in their progression. You have a real sense of being in a war zone, explosions kick up debris and dust clouds, blocking your sight line, and also deadening the sounds. I’m an average player and am still finding it fun. If you get into the Beta play in a squad for more points, preferably with friends.

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