Video Game Review – Battlefield: Bad Company

The Cover art for Battlefield: Bad Company
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Well, it’s a new year, and with the new year comes more opportunities to clear more titles off my Pile of Shame. First up is the spinoff of EA’s Battlefield series, aimed for the Consoles – Battlefield: Bad Company.

The Premise:

Private Preston Marlowe has screwed up. After going in a joyride in a helicopter, destroying a General’s limo in the process (along with the helicopter), Marlowe is assigned to B Company of the 222nd regiment, also known as Bad Company. The unit has the highest mortality rate in the Army, and is made up more-or-less entirely of bad apples. His squad is not an exception. It consists of pyromaniac George Gordon Haggard Jr., Terrence Sweetwatter, and Sgt. Sam Redford, who volunteered to be in the unit if it would get him out of the Army early. When the squad discovers that enemy forces in this war have hired the mercenary company “The Legionnaires” – an infamous mercenary company that is always paid in gold, they decide to go on a Payroll heist.

The Good:

I have to admit that, for a game that was a spinoff of a very-multiplayer focused PC first-person shooter (one with essentially no single player to speak of), I was impressed by how involving, amusing, and entertaining the single player story was. It’s not as serious as the story of the Modern Warfare games, but I came to like the characters considerably more.

Additionally, most of the time the game’s mechanic of destructible walls is also handled very well in combat. The shooting is also good. The guns are fairly accurate (but not too accurate), the controls are solid, and generally everything is good on the single player end.

The Bad:

Due to the size of the maps, and the distance traveled in many of the levels, checkpoints need to come more often. I found myself covering over the same long stretch of territory multiple times during some levels, which was a bloody nusance.

The Ugly:

While the single player is solid, the game has its problems with multi-player, particularly the Gold Rush gameplay mode. Control Point matches are fine, and generally play the same way that Control Point matches played in the standard Battlefield games. Basically, in this gameplay mode, one team is defending a pair of crates containing gold, and the other team is trying to attack them. The attackers need to blow open both crates to win. Blowing open one crate unlocks the next crate. Fine in theory.

In practice, on the other hand, it doesn’t work out as well. Here’s what happens: There’s a lot of fighting (a lot of fighting) over the first crate. Eventually, after much battle, the attackers get the first crate. The problem is, either the attackers have someone waiting at the second crate for the first to be taken – or the attackers already are in a vehicle or have a vehicle handy, and race to the second crate before the defenders (who aren’t in vehicles necessarily, because they’re holed up in buildings) can get in vehicles of their own and get there to stop them.

This is presuming, of course, that the defender’s vehicles haven’t been destroyed already.

This makes Gold Rush maps rather balanced in favor of the attackers, which I find to be a nuisance.

The Verdict

I hate doing the “if you like…” weasel stuff in a Verdict, but it applies here. If the kill streaks and team and map size in the Modern Warfare games weren’t doing it for you, then this game (and Bad Company 2, which is coming out later this year), will scratch your itch. On the other hand, if you’re already satisfied with Modern Warfare, I can’t see anything making this significantly more appealing. Well, aside from the lack of killstreaks and dual shotguns.