I've always been of two minds regarding EA DICE's Battlefield series. While I've enjoyed countless hours finding creative ways to destroy my fellow players in gigantic military conflicts, overall the games lacked a certain charisma. The sort of personality and immersion that can only come from having experienced a compelling backstory to the conflict you're involved in. Just like the Metal Gear Online experience is enhanced by playing through MGS4, Battlefield needed a story mode to add a little life to the party.
Battlefield: Bad Company addresses just that issue, adding a full single-player experience to the Battlefield series, complete with colorful characters and questionable moral choices on top of the usual multiplayer mayhem. It's uncharted waters for EA DICE – lets see if they sink or swim.
Story Time: The single-player story mode isn't just a humorous chance to collect weapons and escape inept multiplayer teammates. It's effectively the best Battlefield tutorial ever, familiarizing you with the weapons and mechanics of the game before you even fire a single online shot.
Real Characters: Your single-player teammates might not be the most helpful rag-tag band of misfits, but at least they're entertaining. Monster truck-loving Haggard and Steve Buscemi-channeling Sweetwater are definitely two guys I'd love to hang with.
Go Your Own Way: The sandbox nature of the game's single-player levels make for a wide variety of ways to get from point A to point B. Want to sneak through the forest on foot? Go for it. Prefer to follow the main road in a heavily armed and armored tank? Knock yourself out. Even levels that see you piloting a tricked-out gold helicopter could theoretically be tackled by landing the copter early on and hoofing it. This makes for tons of replay value.
Ultimate Destruction: Nearly everything in Bad Company blows up real good. Buildings, sandbags, crates, etc. are only cover until hit with the right amount of firepower. Blowing away a wall with a rocket launcher to reveal the delicious candy center (and shoot them) never gets old.
Massive Multiplayer: Battlefield multiplayer has never been quite so entertaining. Splitting up large teams into four-man squads was a brilliant idea, and when your teammates are really communicating and coordinating the gameplay really shines.
Unlockable Arsenal: I really enjoyed the fact that leveling up in multiplayer gives the players unlock points, allowing them to choose which items and weapons they want to add to their arsenal as they grow. Do I want to start off with the devastating ability to call in air strikes, or should I go for the simple survivability added by the health injector? A variety of player builds leads to variety on the battlefield, which is good.
Implausible Healing: The military has a syringe you plunge into your chest that constantly brings you up to full health? Why haven't we taken over the world yet? The healing mechanic is a bit ridiculous, and coupled with the fact that you respawn exactly where you die in story mode makes the single-player game far too easy.
Real Dumb Characters: Your AI teammates in single-player are relatively useless. This isn't a squad-based game by any means, but I would have liked to think they had my back. Instead it felt like I was completely carrying them the whole way. They should have allowed me to shoot them all and take the gold for myself at the end of the game. After all, I'm the one who earned it.
My only other real qualm with Battlefield: Bad Company is the lack of any kind of co-op mode for single-player. With B Company comprised of four guys I would have liked to get my friends in on the action, but I can't really hold this against DICE. They've only just gotten the hang of the single-player experience. Maybe next time. Otherwise I found the game to be one of the more enjoyable FPS experiences I've had in quite awhile, both online and off.
Battlefield: Bad Company takes the established multiplayer excitement of the Battlefield series and adds a compelling single-player experience to create one of the most enjoyable installments of the franchise since the original.
Battlefield: Bad Company was developed by EA DICE, published by EA. Released on June 23rd on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Played single player campaign to completion at normal difficulty, rose five ranks in multiplayer.
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