Battlefield: Bad Company (PS3, X360)

Fancy the need to blow something up? We enlist with the B Company to find out just how much we can blow up– I mean accomplish…

Check any of the following that appeal to you:

If you selected any of the following (or all of them including that last one), give yourself an applause and then go out and buy Bad Company. Stop reading this and– okay, don’t stop reading this now. That would obviously be stupid. You actually want to find out about Bad Company and that’s what I’m going to do.

I’m going to tell you about a game that takes all of the following things you just checked and even comes with its own sense of humour.

Unlike any other Battlefield game before it, Bad Company introduces us to a story. Previously, Battlefield games were tactical squad games sitting inside a first-person shooter. You’d meet with friends online or play against computer-controlled players in fights that took place during World War II, the Vietnam War, modern combat like in Iraq, and even futuristic warfare seen in Battlefield 2142.

With nowhere else to go, Digital Illusions Creative Entertainment – or DICE as we all call them – went to a setting that was at the same time familiar and usable while still being a lot of fun.

Battlefield Bad Company enlists you as part of B Company, also known as Bad Company. Instead of just playing yourself like in the rest of the Battlefield series, this time you’ll be putting yourself in the laced-up boots of Private Preston Marlow, a guy who’s just found himself among a four man team that’ll be sent into tough situations that could end up getting them all killed.

Much like the brilliant film Three Kings, much of Bad Company’s story follows that of a quest for gold. I won’t give much away sufficed to say it’s actually a fun set of missions that switches B Company from the orders of cannon fodder to one of “we’ll do whatever the hell we want to.”

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This attitude is similar to that of the characters who are already rag-tag enough to fill up any stereotypical military movie you could probably find around your local video store. And much like that stereotypical army flick, Bad Company is loaded with enough explosions and destruction to keep you happy long after the pins have been pulled.

Bad Company is built upon the idea of explosions. Lots of explosions. DICE seem to have picked up on that whole “gamers liking destruction” mentality, and it’s paid off big time. While most games have a limit of only a few things being destructible, Bad Company goes above and beyond the call of duty to make it so that almost anything and everything can be destroyed. This is easily seen by way of not actually being able to open a door and being forced to fire holes into a building in order to get in.

I can almost assure you that the moment you’re asked to fire a rocket-propelled grenade into the side of a home to get in, your face will light up as if it’s Christmas and you’ve just been given a brand new toy.

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And brand new toys are something that Bad Company excels in giving you the chance to see. With over 30 weapons at your disposal in various parts of the game, you’ll find just about anything can be shot at in about any sort of way. Much like the past Battlefield games, DICE have been kind enough to include trucks, tanks, helicopters, and boats.

It’s also nice to note that if you land in the water, you won’t be forced to drown to your death. You can actually get out and your computer-controlled squad of soldiers will one by one follow you out. Do try not to drown, though.

Graphically, Bad Company looks great. The engine behind it isn’t super realistic, but it doesn’t need to be. With a destructible-anything (more or less), DICE have come up with a compromise between excellent graphics that don’t seem to pixelate or handle textures badly and an engine that actually works. Likewise the sound is good too with clarity as shots puncture the air, echoing thunderous explosions, and sharp & witty dialogue between the various members of your team.

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It would be a shame if there was no multiplayer game, but being a Battlefield game, it’s there and loving it. Truthfully, I didn’t get to play online against anyone in my time with Bad Company but I will be tackling it over the next week or two. With support for up to 24 players, I can already see this as being loads of fun when the single-player has had it’s fill of me.

That said, I’m not sure if the single-player campaign will tire me out any time soon. Even though I might be playing through the story and memorising what’s going on, the writing in Bad Company is a blast to play notching up the replay value on this title just so much more.

Similarly, the controls are excellent and I’m really not sure how they could have done them better. I’m always skeptical over how a first-person shooter with PC origins will play on a console and Bad Company once again shoots my suspicions down with whatever weapon it could find ammo for at the time. While I have no doubt I’d love it to death on a keyboard and mouse, the sticks and buttons on the controller you play it on will all feel just as snappy as the desktop combination we’ve all played at one point in our life.

Summing it up, Battlefield Bad Company is probably one of the better experiences I’ve played this year. I’m playing it now. I’m going to keep playing it. It’s not the most realistic game, but damn… it’s fun.

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Developer: EA Digital Illusions CE
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Classification: M
Formats: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
URL: Battlefield: Bad Company

Reviewed by Leigh D. Stark