Battlefield Bad Company hopes to bring a good single player experience with cinematic story and multiplayer content to next-gen consoles. I had the chance to check out the BF: Bad Company demo on the PlayStation 3 and it is definitely next-gen material. The frostbite engine has a lot of features you would want in a new FPS hitting the market. Frostbite brings you dynamic lighting, fog, shadows, debris, concussion effects and finally it brings map destruction to the Battlefield series.
Since it’s the feature most talked about we’ll start with A note about the destruction. It is not a completely destructible environment but it is very well done. Most walls and fences can be destroyed outright while buildings can have a large chunk taken out of them. This helps keep the maps and matches in good playing condition, it’s no fun if the battlefield is completely leveled. You can create craters with artillery hits and instead of the battlefield of old where you called in arty on a flat map you get a ripped from the headlines live overhead battle cam image. On this live image only your team shows up colored as friendlies until they make contact with an enemy, this is fine as everything moving not colored like your team is fair game to fire upon. It was very satisfying raining down shells on unsuspecting enemy troops and providing close support when needed. There is a repeat animation when launching the artillery but it’s short so wasn’t too bothersome even when I went a whole round bringing the pain.
The short level from the demo shows off the dynamics of the characters at hand pretty well. You have the typical Sarge who looks like he was lifted from Apone from Aliens, Haggard who is the redneck who blows shit up, Sweetwater, Haggard’s buddy and walking encyclopedia from the demo and then there’s you Preston Marlowe, shipped to B Company cause you did something bad. The story seems like Three Kings, you and the squad are in a war and then you find some gold, keep it or give it back? Seems like the story could hold up, it did for the movie, and so long as the dialog during battle doesn’t recycle itself too often it is fairly entertaining as well.
You’re squad seems fairly capable to defend themselves, not the best but not the worst. During vehicle driving sequences they did awesome sometimes and poor others so it’s all about getting them into a decent sight line of the enemy. There was a point where I felt that manning the gun emplacement the enemies would not stop until I left and hiked up the hill but hopefully that too will be kept to a minimum. I mean everyone likes a Rambo moment where you go buck wild on a .50 cal but don’t just keep respawning enemies on us.
Multiplayer went fairly well, there was no squad communication going on and there was a place to enlist your friends so I would assume it would join everyone to the same server, on the same team and in the same squad. Unlike a PC FPS there was no browser only a configure options and join and no way to setup a squad manually or switch between squads for that matter. I’m hoping this is just a short coming of the demo and not indicative of the final retail product. There is also stats to be run up, achievements to be had and weapons to be unlocked. EA did a good thing with the bonuses this time, a pre-order gets you a sniper rifle unlock, newsletter registration gets you what looks like a .60 cal, playing the demo gives you a silenced uzi, being a battlefield vet gets you a futuristic looking assault rifle with under slung grenade launcher and checking your stats gets you a semi-auto shotgun. All in all not bad and not like when you need to buy an elite version just to get a golden pistol.
The only thing I found really lacking was the ability to go prone, which seems to limit sniping on the roof but there is usually sandbags around to hide behing. Also I didn’t see something in Red Orchestra and that is when you aim while crouched you raise up slightly to peer over cover, but that doesn’t seem to be in most anything, it should be something the next-gen FPS’s think about adding along with stability fire when the weapon would be resting on something, also from Red Orchestra.
- Single Player Story looks solid
- You Can Really Blow Shit Up (Destructable Enviroment)
- Good Graphics
- Good Sound
- No Need to Manage Your Squad
- No Prone
- Dialog Has the Chance to Become Repetitious
- Doesn’t Support Keyboard and Mouse
- Questionable Server Browser/Squad Creation
Conclusion: Looks like we have another good notch in the Battlefield series and 1st for the series one that’s on a console that needs to be pushed to PC’s. With the graphics, sound and destructible environments so long as DICE/EA doesn’t screw up the multiplayer portion it should be an almost must buy.
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