Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is a strange game. After spending a lot of time with it, I've come to the conclusion that DICE took one main aspect of the game in the wrong direction and took the other main aspect in the right direction. The end result is a game that certainly isn't of poor quality. Rather, it's a game that could have been much more, but wasn't due to some strange decisions made particularly with the single player.
Bad Company 1 was the first real attempt at having a story in a Battlefield game, and it turned out pretty well. I like the first game's single player campaign because the characters were memorable and the story was goofy in a great way. For some reason, DICE decided to take the story in the opposite direction and place these humorous meat-head characters in a serious situation rather than a silly one. This time around Bad Company is trying to stop the Russians from constructing what is essentially a super weapon that could start World War III. The serious tone left me feeling very disconnected from the squad. There definitely is humor in the campaign, but most of the funny dialogue seems to occur at random. There will be times when you'll hear your teammates bantering back and forth, and you'll scramble over to them to hear what they're talking about. However, a majority of it will probably be missed, as most of the time you're going to be running forward instead of sticking around in one spot to listen to them.
The Frostbite Engine returns, bring a lot more destructive (and satisfying) capabilities with it. However, during the campaign you really aren't required to take advantage of this technology. There isn't a single mission where you actually have to blow up a building, and there's a chance you might plow through the campaign without even completely destroying more than a few buildings. You'll also do a lot of globetrotting in Bad Company 2. One mission you might find yourself fighting in a humid jungle, the next you're literally freezing to death in the arctic.
Thankfully, the destructible environments work well in the multiplayer, which is the aspect of Bad Company 2 that DICE took in the right direction. The first thing that should be mentioned is that the game ships with three game modes instead of just one. There's Rush and Conquest, which were both in Bad Company 1, and the newest addition is Squad Deathmatch which is basically a type of team deathmatch mode. My favorite mode is probably Conquest, since Rush involves too much running and camping and Squad Deathmatch loses its excitement after a while. The multiplayer also comes with a plethora of improvements and new additions. First of all, the shooting and movement in Bad Company 2 is much better. Your opponents online can no longer soak up ridiculous amounts of damage, which is very nice. Plus, the movement no longer feels janky. Among the new additions is the ability to "spot" enemies. When you look at an enemy, you can spot them with a press of a button, which puts a bright red dot over them for your team to see. Vehicles return and are easy to operate, except for the helicopters which do require some degree of skill to successfully fly without killing everyone on board. Each map also has a UAV which one person controls. It comes in the form of a small helicopter that the operator can fly above the map, spotting enemies for everyone and launching missiles at targets. It's very satisfying to run up behind the UAV operator and stab him in the neck, although it is possible to shoot the device down with conventional weapons as well.
In Bad Company 1, you unlocked a credit every 2 levels which you used to purchase a new weapon or piece of equipment. In this system, it wasn't possible to unlock everything until you reached the highest level (25). In Bad Company 2, the unlock system has been completely changed. You no longer unlock credits and choose what you unlock. There are four classes in the game: Assault (which has an ammo box that you can throw out), Engineer (good for taking out vehicles), Medic (good for reviving and healing people), and Recon (good for…..reconing?). Each class has a progression bar. By getting kills and gaining EXP with a certain class, you'll fill up the progression bar and unlock a new weapon or gadget for that class when it completely fills up. It might make more sense than the last system, but I actually unlocked everything in the game when my level was only in the mid 20s, and there are 50 levels in the game. (I should mention that it takes an enormous amount of EXP to level up once you get to the mid 20s, meaning it will take an incredible amount of dedication to reach the highest level).
Probably the most exciting new addition are the weapon attachments, know as "Specs" or specializations. By filling up your progressions bars you'll also get Specs, which come in the form of weapon attachments or perk-like abilities. The attachments are your basic red dot sights and 4x scopes, the latter of which helps immensely in combat. You'll also unlock Specs that allow you to carry more ammo, run faster, or deal more weapon damage. Also, the Vehicles have their own progression bar, and each time it fills all the way you unlock a new vehicle Spec. These give you abilities like increased turret reload speed and increased damage.
The audio in Bad Company 2 is definitely something to be praised. Everything just sounds so violent, whether it's the blast from a tank round or the crack of a sniper rifle. The audio really helps in making Bad Company 2 feel very dynamic, and you get the sense that the game is huge when you hear explosions from far off and soldiers calling out to each other.
Whenever I think of Battlefield, I think of multiplayer, so it may be strange that my biggest complaint about Bad Company 2 is about the quality of the single player experience. However, when you consider the fact that the multiplayer has been enhanced in all the right ways, the lack of a purpose for the single player seems like a small price to pay.