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UPDATE: REVIEW 8.5 Gamespot
Set in the near future, the Battlefield: Bad Company single-player campaign drops gamers into a dramatic Eurasian conflict. As part of a squad of four soldiers, players risk it all to go AWOL on a personal quest, fighting their own war within the war. Featuring a dramatic storyline flavored with attitude, Battlefield: Bad Company leads gamers far from the traditional frontlines on a wild ride with a group of renegade soldiers who decide that sometimes the gratitude of a nation just isn't enough.
The Battlefield: Bad Company cinematic single-player experience captures the freedom and intensity of the franchise's legendary multiplayer sandbox gameplay in a dynamic world where nearly everything is destructible. Gamers have total freedom to be daring and innovative, adapting to and tackling challenges in unexpected "Battlefield-style" ways. Create sniping positions by blowing out a piece of a wall or drive your tank straight through a small house. The ever-changing battlefield forces players, their teammates and enemies to react accordingly.
The game also features a full suite of the franchise's trademark multiplayer gameplay, supporting 24 players online.
Battlefield: Bad Company is the first game built from the ground up for next-generation consoles using DICE's bleeding-edge Frostbite game engine, delivering unrivaled graphics, effects and gameplay.
Considering how Battlefield games have always been known for their robust multiplayer, it makes sense that the majority of Bad Company's prerelease coverage has dealt with ways you'll be duking it out with friends and strangers online. But lest you forget, DICE is also devoting quite a bit of attention to Bad Company's single-player campaign. The trailers released showing the game's main characters have displayed the offbeat sense of humor they're aiming to achieve, but other details on how the single-player experience will play out have been a bit scarce. Last night, though, we got the chance to play one of the levels from the Campaign during EA's Spring Break press event.
The wide variety of specialized weapons in campaign mode reflects the class system in multiplayer.
The level we played is called "Acta Non Verba," which is the second chapter in the campaign. It takes place in a dense forest setting in Eastern Europe, much like the Ascension map found in the recent multiplayer beta. The first thing we noticed was that, aside from dialogue and cutscenes, the campaign doesn't feel a whole lot different from multiplayer matches. Much of that has to do with the way the game handles a player's life and several subsequent deaths. Rather than placing a heavy penalty on dying in the Story mode, DICE has opted for maintaining a high level of difficulty in terms of enemies, allowing you to respawn as many times as you'd like. When you die, you simply respawn nearby just as you would in a multiplayer match. You don't lose all your progress, however, because buildings you destroyed in your previous life will still remain demolished after you come back.
If you don't want to keep dropping dead when enemies show their faces, you'll need to get in touch with your inner medic class. Your health will not auto-regenerate, and you won't find health kits on the ground to heal yourself. Instead, you'll need to cycle over to the adrenaline shot you're carrying at all times and thrust an injection right into your chest. This will restore your health, but it can't be used over and over again in the heat of battle because the needle needs a good 20 seconds to refill its life-saving liquid. This process lends a bit of class responsibility to the single-player campaign. In addition to the way you respawn, it also helps blur the line between the single-player and multiplayer experience.
You're given a good deal of freedom to choose your path during the story. The two things you'll need to focus on are required objectives and optional treks to go searching for gold. The objectives tend to fall into the standard categories of taking out all the enemy personnel in an area or destroying certain targets, such as weapons depots. These are laid out helpfully on your minimap, but the way you get to them in Bad Company's expansive levels is up to you. You and the rest of your squad can foot it out by running to certain points on the map, but you can also choose from the variety of vehicles at your disposal. In the level we played, we took a boat downriver from a rural residential area to a haggard old factory that housed a cluster of missile launchers. This choice saved us plenty of time but also meant we missed some of the optional gold crates that would have helped to trigger unlockables and achievement points.
When you hop in a vehicle, the other members of your squad magically appear in the passenger seats no matter how far they were from you a moment beforehand. This is one of the ways the game's team aspects try to help rather than hinder you. Another way is that you don't need to keep a constant eye on the health of you squad members; they'll be perfectly fine if left alone. They don't need to be given orders either because they simply follow you most of the time when you're not following them. The EA rep we spoke with was quick to point out that this is not a squad-based tactical game; your teammates are there to provide a helping hand and an occasional laugh rather than being the constant focus of your attention.
All in all, those who devoted at least a few hours to the public beta should feel right at home in the Campaign mode. Like the Gold Rush mode featured in the beta, you're essentially working with a handful of teammates to push the enemies back until you've claimed the entire level as your own. The main difference seems to be the story rather than actual gameplay mechanics. Battlefield: Bad Company will be released on June 23, while a free downloadable pack featuring the classic Conquest multiplayer mode from previous Battlefield games will follow sometime thereafter.
Though the Battlefield series has always been known as one of the leaders of multiplayer military warfare, the newest console edition, Battlefield: Bad Company, comes packed with a complete single-player campaign as well. As the name suggests, you are part of a company, Company B, and it's your job to quell the seemingly never-ending stampede of evil enemy soldiers. After playing through the first five levels of the campaign, we come bearing impressions on the transition to single-player combat.
The most noteworthy element in Bad Company's campaign is the sheer destructive ability your weapons carry. Ancient deciduous forests come crashing down with the blast of machine-gun fire, changing the face of battlefields midbattle. The ever-changing aspect of battle adds a level of chaos to the proceedings, and because you can't interact with trees once they've been uprooted, hiding from enemies becomes a quest to find more-permanent cover rather than a tactic of simply hunkering down and waiting out the storm.
The walls come crumbling down.
The destructive element comes into play away from forests, too. You can also level buildings, though they require a slightly more powerful weapon--grenades--which you can throw against walls and through windows to expose cowering soldiers. Unfortunately, the buildings combust in a predetermined way; we encountered one instance where a gas tank positioned in a corner tore down one wall when ignited, but left another standing strong. Still, even though we couldn't bring buildings all the way down, we could reduce them to little more than freestanding staircases and untrustworthy floors.
Aside from the standard array of military weapons, we were given a few tools that made wanton destruction the most logical strategy for disposing of enemy forces. There are C4 explosives, which can be used not only to destroy objectives (such as a missile launcher), but to destroy enemy tanks and annoyingly placed buildings as well. But even more enjoyable than C4 is the mortar strike. Though our commanding officer told us to use this extremely powerful device to dispose of tanks and other enemy vehicles that are difficult to destroy with normal weapons, we found it more fun to use against ground troops and any object we felt should be razed. Instead of being given a finite number of uses like with the C4 bombs, we only had to wait for the time bar to refill before we could unleash another attack from above. It may be unsporting, but it's so satisfying to blow up one stranded soldier with a weapon designed to decimate a bridge.
The oddest quirk in the campaign is how healing is handled. Unlike many other shooters out there, Bad Company doesn't allow your character to automatically regenerate health. But it does have another method that, when used properly, made us virtually invincible: We could jab a long needle into our character's chest whenever he neared death. There is no limit to how often you can use this important device, save for a brief timer between uses. Like the air strike controller, a time bar refilled whenever we healed ourselves. Bolstered by our speedy recovery, we found ourselves running into battle with our gun put away and the needle out, absorbing bullets the whole time, then thrusting the needle into our chest and finally knifing enemies when we reached them. Combined with the unrelenting destruction, it made for a fast-paced, action-oriented spin on a military shooter.
Anyone expecting a multiplayer-heavy game with a shallow single-player campaign tossed in will be pleasantly surprised by Bad Company. There is real depth here, and with the camaraderie of your fellow soldiers pushing the story, it makes for a riveting journey through a desolate world. With a sprawling combat zone in which you can choose your own path to destroy enemies and well-designed sound that brings the horrors of war right into your living room, Bad Company is something those hungry for military action should keep their eyes on.
This high-powered sniper rifle puts plenty of distance in between you and your enemies. Whether you are defending your reserves from an oncoming army, or picking apart the attackers one-by-one, the sniper rifle is always in style.
Watch weapons video #1
According to Haggard, firing off hundreds of rounds from a machine gun is a beautiful thing, but for you, this machine gun will be just what you need to support your team in battle. With an oversized magazine and great reliability, a light machine gun is always welcomed on the battlefield.
Watch weapons video #2
Take this compact sub-machine gun with you into close quarters and spray out bullets at a blistering rate!
Watch weapons video #3
Watch out for more information on this unlock
Watch weapons video #4
Watch out for more information on this unlock
Watch weapons video #5
GameSpot Score 8.5 great
With its great multiplayer action and fleshed-out single-player campaign, Bad Company really isn't bad at all.
In Battlefield: Bad Company, no one is safe. Not a sniper hiding inside a tower. Not a soldier driving a massive tank. And definitely not you, as you bob and weave across a fiery sandbox of destruction. If you thought the action of the Battlefield franchise was intense before, you haven't seen anything yet. Thanks to a fleshed-out single-player campaign, Battlefield's trademark multiplayer action, and a new level of destructibility, Bad Company is quite simply one of the most fun shooters released this year.
Sweetwater and Haggard entertain themselves, and you, with a little rock-paper-scissors in between firefights.
With its Frostbite engine, Dice has created a warzone that is almost completely destructible. Nooks and crannies that were once a safe haven in other shooters can be reduced to rubble with a well-placed tank shell or mortar strike. Is a quaint Russian home standing between you and an objective? Blow a hole in a wall and walk right through. The system is not perfect since not all buildings can be completely destroyed. Some materials like brick may crumble to dust, but wood crates will often withstand whole missile strikes. Frostbite has its foibles, but Bad Company still gives new meaning to breaking and entering.
A good place for new players to enter is Bad Company's single-player campaign. That's right, a Battlefield game has a bona fide single-player campaign and not a collection of multiplayer maps littered with AI bots. You play as Private Preston Marlowe, recently reassigned to the 222nd Battalion, B Company, which is a collection of misfits and castoffs that the Army likes to send into battle first. B Company, in short, is expendable. You complete a four-man squad composed of Sergeant Redford, a grizzled veteran who volunteered for B Company so he could retire early; Sweetwater signed on to take advantage of a college scholarship without realizing he may actually have to fight; and Haggard is a country bumpkin and demolitions expert who loves to blow stuff up. Together, you'll fight your way into Russian territory and take out a number of well-guarded installations. When the Army leaves you stranded behind enemy lines--something about plausible deniability--the squad goes AWOL in search of mercenary gold. Along the way you'll rescue a flamboyant dictator that resembles Saddam Hussein on ecstasy, and then make your escape in a pimped-out gold chopper. No, the story isn't exactly the stuff of Stephen Ambrose, but the tongue-in-cheek humor and numerous unlockables scattered throughout the campaign make it worth fighting.
Marlowe is a jack of all trades and can handle any of the weapons and vehicles in Bad Company. Often he'll be in control of a mortar strike or laser designator that can lay waste to entire villages. The designator is meant to be used on heavy armor, but it's hard to resist dropping 50-ton bombs on lone troops just for the heck of it. There's a short recharge time so you don't inadvertently start World War III here, but you'll never get tired of unleashing explosive mortar strikes on our foes.
Your squadmates are full of friendly chatter during the campaign, but they never die and don't work together very well at times. Whereas multiplayer requires you to coordinate with your teammates, single-player feels as if you're truly playing alone, with three characters in the background that only list new objectives and provide a little comic relief. They'll take out a few enemies, man turrets and take cover, but you're doing the bulk of the work. This wouldn't be so much of an issue if friends could jump online for a little co-op, but there's no option to do so unfortunately.
Enemy soldiers are not exactly the sharpest bunch and some have no problem standing in the open, waiting for their own demise. Luckily there are so many enemies and objectives that the game never feels easy, but the firefights would be even more intense if enemies more frequently made use of cover, if only so you could blow it up. Marlowe comes equipped with an automatic health injector that refills your life bar and can be used over and over again after a short recharge. Is stabbing yourself in the heart with this panacea any more unrealistic than regenerating health as seen in Call of Duty 4 and Rainbow Six Vegas? Not really. But it certainly feels cheap plunging that needle into your chest every 20 seconds during an intense battle, something you'll surely do toward the campaign's final few missions that border on ridiculousness. You would think that four Army oddballs versus an entire mercenary force and Russian army equipped with tanks and attack choppers wouldn't stand a chance, but you would be wrong, thanks to the handy health injector.
When you've got the hang of the weapons and gadgets of the single-player campaign, jump into Bad Company's excellent online multiplayer mode. It's called Gold Rush, but it's really just a basic attack and defend mode in which an attacking team tries to blow up crates of gold. If you're successful, a larger portion of the map opens and the attackers push forward to do it all over again. This has been done before in other games, but no one does it better than Bad Company, thanks to absolutely massive maps that support 24 players, a vehicle list that includes tanks, jeeps, choppers, boats, and Humvees, as well as laser-guided rocket turrets and artillery cannons. There are five character classes in multiplayer and each has its own special abilities and unlockable extras that will make you giddy. The specialist can lace enemy vehicles for demolitions experts--their rockets will automatically hone in on tagged targets. The sniper can utilize the laser designator to nullify tanks, and the specialist can drop med kits, repair vehicles, and call in mortar strikes.
It's strange that the conquest mode in which teams vie for points on the map and drain enemy tickets, a mainstay of the Battlefield franchise, is absent. The mode will purportedly be made available as a free download at some point, but it should've been in the game right out of the box. That said, you're not likely to get bored of Gold Rush anytime soon. The maps are perfectly balanced with defensive turrets and offensive weaponry, and often matches are decided by the smallest of margins. This is the kind of game where you call your friends to let them know you somehow sniped an enemy chopper pilot or dropped a missile on the final gold crate on a map for the win. The game would've benefited from more vehicles; there aren't nearly as many on each map as you find in Battlefield 2, so teammates will often fight over fun toys such as choppers. But with its persistent ranking system and unlockable weapons, Bad Company is surely the most addicting multiplayer shooter since Call of Duty 4.
Unlock the laser designator in multiplayer to drop guided bombs. The best part? You do the guiding.
Be sure to crank the volume up to 11--Bad Company has some of the finest sound design out there. A sniper shot echoes perfectly through the mountains, while indoor firefights are so loud you may want earplugs. Visually the game does not fare as well. While it's by no means ugly, there is a strange graininess on each texture. Even looking into the clear blue sky in the first scene of the game, you'll be amazed at how fuzzy it looks. Of course, the destructible environments and exciting explosions make up for any graphical shortcomings.
Battlefield Bad Company is the most fun, addictive shooter released so far this year. While far from perfect, the intense sandbox warfare is something that you have to experience. Dice calls it tactical destruction. We call it explosive fun.