As much as I bandy the original concept sword [its a special sword only I own] I do take solace in seeing innovation within an established genre. I’m getting the feeling that everything I have to say and write about Battlefield: Bad Company 2, as a game review, will ultimately be treated as a moot point to an ever growing problem in the gaming culture. The first-person shooter genre will continue being both the best example of player-world immersion and the best example of how stagnant the FPS genre has become. There will be regenerating health indicated by raspberry jelly being thrown on-screen when pretend bullets hit your legless body. There are weapons and vehicles that sound so true-to-life you would swear that ‘the war was real’ and at your doorstep. Cliches [like that last term I just threw at you] completely engulf Bad Company 2. But the game is so much fun.
The single player of Bad Company 2 is what I find most interesting. You play as Marlowe, no longer the rookie and quiet soul of the last Bad Company installment, but an introspective soldier who feels like a pawn. If I had to make the trite and utterly pointless decision between what contrived war story moved me more between Modern Warfare 2 and Bad Company 2, I’d choose Bad Company 2. What makes the single-player at least worth studying is that the three characters you play alongside are actually characters. Where Modern Warfare 2 pitted you with an unfortunate bunch of individual groups, none of them actually feel like individuals. All of them with the ‘whoorah’ mentality that can detach a gamer like myself who doesn’t think all soldiers are mindless drones.
War Is Hell, Why Not Show That?
Depicting a clear motivation for a character you inhabit in a first-person shooter has been a defining characteristic of what makes the genre great. You ‘are’ this person and you two will get through this with wits, accuracy and most of the time bullets. In an age where the gaming elite judge the modern FPS on a scale that ranges from Haze to Half-Life, Bad Company 2 and Modern Warfare 2 hang somewhere in the middle.
Where Modern Warfare 2 felt like your character(s) had a stick stuck in their spine and were floating about levels as if they were ice skating, Bad Company’s environments are filled with dust and soot — almost too much at times. Your soldier’s weary body has weight and so does his arcing bullets which will be pulled down by gravity. Weapons overheat and unfortunately, in multiplayer mode, get use to dying immediately once you make the slightest of mistakes.
Where Activision’s golden child emphasizes a kind of multiplayer tutorial during their single-player campaign — which explains why your character travels half the speed lessening the frantic pace. Bad Company 2 forces the player to think. Because of this age of realism, you can’t help but draw parallels to film. After all, both of these blockbuster games are ‘borrowing’ heavily from the Saving Private Ryan’s and the Band of Brother’s of our time. Were it not for respawning checkpoints and infinite run sprints to your next objectives the realism would be quite palpable.
So who do you blame for the rote story, anti-climactic ending and softball tails of political intrigue? Bad Company 2 is the most enjoyable game I’ve played all year. I say this without regard of how intricate a plot this game lacks. I didn’t need to know the deep yearnings Mario had for the Princess in order to smush that first Goomba.
My feelings on games that emphasize a robust multiplayer, but have questionable single-player structure is one that teeters on ignorance. I want the single-player campaigns for FPSs to mature — no doubt, Bad Company 2 is a step in a brighter direction. This is my fault [as a gamer] the genre doesn’t improve, or it improves in a superficial capacity. Hardworking developers work hard at what they do and need to turn a profit or suffer a growing trend in the industry. It isn’t surprising a Six-Days In Fallujah won’t be released, but it is odd to see how slowly matters of war history and topical matters are slowly becoming an issue of discussion in our culture. Yay for us…right?
Just Another First-Person Shooter?
Playing the beta earlier this year, it made me think of the direction of the FPS and the stigma that comes with being a fan of the genre. Bad Company 2 will be a product of its time. You can spawn camp and run into little environment glitches that come with the trappings of building such a vast game with so many ambitious elements. The wheel isn’t being reinvented, but if the last FPS that made an impact on you was Team Fortress 2 or Black [because it was for me] then Bad Company 2 will seem like a chromed out Cadillac wheel … with spinners.
The benefit and drawback of playing Bad Company 2 multiplayer online on the PS3 is that very few people use the voice chat feature. Prohibiting any kind of racial slurs and homophobic quips brought to you by the general audience that populates games of this nature in this specific generation. What makes Bad Company 2 such a hard game to recommend to outsiders of the genre, is that it does nothing major — barring visual stimuli — to bring in a new audience.
Bad Company 2 addictive reward system will be mimicked by many FPSs to come, and adored by those willing to put in the time and effort with this game. With upgrades you can buy outright and a VIP internet code necessary for used game purchasers to play online, Bad Company 2 functions as a benchmark and time capsule of a genre. The benchmark serves as a reminder of how games can be both a timeless experience and yet represent the failings of its generation.
I Give Battlefield: Bad Company 2
The “I See You Didn’t Award Bad Company 2 With A Bad Company Movie Or Music Reference” Award
Via The Brog