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Tristan Kalogeropoulos
29 Jun, 2008

Battlefield: Bad Company Review

360 Review | Bad is the wrong adjective.
There’s an episode of Futurama in which Fry is defending the world against ‘those’ space invaders. His defeat seemingly imminent, he is no less determined to emerge victorious over his intergalactic foes. Enthusiastically he explains to his roguish pal Bender, “I still have a trick or two up my sleeve. Watch as I fire upwards through our own shield!” To which Bender in a panicked state cries, “He’s a mad man! A mad man!” We’ve all been there, whether we were watching a friend or a firing upon the armada of pixilated enemies ourselves, wondering whether the destruction of the barrier between our ship’s fragile hull and the invaders from space would lead to the destruction of earth’s last hope, or a chance to take the battle directly to the enemy and onwards to victory.

Space Invader’s shields were prosaic forms of the walls we hide behind in today’s games in order to take cover from enemy fire, but as plain as they appeared they still had one thing above most of the pieces of shelter we see today, their destructibility. This had a huge influence on how the game was played. Walls in first person shooters, unless placed there for the sole purpose of being brought down by a well place explosion, tend to be impenetrable to even the largest of payloads. That is until now. Battlefield: Bad Company has changed all that, and although the rest of the game offers up some fantastic gameplay, its lasting imprint upon the videogame landscape will be the way in which cover is almost never permanent and its destruction can be used as a tactic by either side.

Crysis had an environment that was incredibly destructible which created a great playground for the player to tear apart. And although its technical prowess was, to be fair, much greater than Bad Company’s in terms of the way in which this devastation was reaped, the player’s connectedness to the gameworld falls short of Battlefield’s, feeling slightly more surgical. In Bad Company, when you take out a cinderblock wall, the cloud of dust left behind obscuring your view, the sound of crumbling bricks and the way that the battlefield is metamorphisised into something new, makes the action feel a great deal more satisfying. The effect you can have on your environmental and tactical benefits of this all go to show that rather than be included as a gimmick this destruction is key to the gameplay of the game.

Hey guy, someone lives there you know. Well, they used to.

Hey guy, someone lives there you know. Well, they used to.
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Bad Company’s Frostbite Engine not only allows for some great explosions and deformation but has also allowed its developers to create an incredibly visually impressive world in which to follow the exploits of its band of misfit soldiers. It truly is one of the best looking games on the Xbox 360 currently out there. From a hilltop you can peer out at the surrounding landscape, its wooded areas cradling scattered enemy outposts in hills and valleys which all rendered beautifully and distant objectives can be seen regardless of how far away they are.

The narrative of Bad Company’s campaign never really meets the lofty heights set by some other First Person Shooters, and although it isn’t truly great it’s never offensively bad either. The game follows the exploits of a group of soldiers whose misdemeanors, which could have landed them with a court marshal, have instead led them to be placed within a division whose members are handpicked for some of the worst jobs the army has to offer. Veritable human shields, a chance discovery of enemy gold leads them on a treasure hunt akin to that of the movie Three Kings or The Dirty Dozen. The dialogue is reasonably well written, with your other three wise cracking teammates allowing for a snicker or two, and at least it’s a change from the overly official, or steroided up characters we usually have to endure. Bad Company feels as though it would be perfect source material for one of those over the top, comedic action movies from the 80’s such as Tango and Cash.

Besides the tactical destruction there’s a few other ways in which Bad Company makes its niche within the FPS genre. The first that will probably be noticed by players is the way in which health is regenerated. Instead of fossicking through enemy corpses to find stimpacks or sitting around for your mutant healing factor to kick in, Bad Company has the player stab themselves in the chest with a giant syringe to regain health. It’s a novel, if not slightly odd, way to approach regeneration, but there are times when you do feel a bit foolish ripping out a syringe to plunge in your chest every 10 seconds, especially during the most heated of battles.

Pointing to its developer’s background in multiplayer FPS design, player death within Bad Company is dealt with using a respawn style re-entry into the game’s world. When you die, rather than start you from a checkpoint with all the damage you’ve done to your opposition reset, the game takes you and your squad back to a spawn point ready to continue where you left off – although in two or three key areas there are ‘hard’ checkpoints that will reset your progress. This is a godsend as there are areas that are devilishly difficult. Along with the huge explosions and over the top battles this adds to the fact that the game progresses somewhat like an old arcade shooter, just without the machine’s constant demands for more credits. Whether this lack of consequences for death works well is another question. Progression through the game is made with a certain amount detachment as a result, because no matter how daft your strategies, brute force will eventually snuff out the life of each enemy even if only one is killed per life.

Preston insisted on taking his Ben Heck created portable 360 wherever his squad went, claiming that Bad Company multiplayer took his mind off the depressing fact that he was in a real war.

Preston insisted on taking his Ben Heck created portable 360 wherever his squad went, claiming that Bad Company multiplayer took his mind off the depressing fact that he was in a real war.
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Enemy AI is a weak point of Bad Company. There are times when your foes seem to know exactly where you are regardless of cover, and their aim is impeccable to boot. This means that you’ll often find yourself switching between gun and giant syringe filled with health juice in quick succession, which slightly detracts from the fun of simulated warfare. Your squad must be in cahoots with the enemy because they never seem be fired upon and rarely assist you in any meaningful way. The feeling is often still that you’re the classic videogame one man army, although this time, with some impervious comedians along for the ride.

DICE has a long heritage in multiplayer gaming, and although Battlefield’s public face has been its single player, it’s clear that the game’s real strength shines through in its competitive online mode. If you’ve played a Battlefield game before you’ll be well aware of the fact that these developers have the ability to create some of the best multiplayer experiences available, and Bad Company is no exception. Here nearly all of the issues of the single player campaign melt away, AI isn’t an issue, and as a result neither is the constant need to heal. Along with these things the destructible environments that the single player’s enemies rarely, if ever, use to their tactical advantage are perfect for human players to make the best of creating some interesting results. Blow up a nearby wall to uncover an enemy or distract someone close by and the action will undoubtedly heat up keeping the battle from becoming static. The structure of the battlefields also allows for some great firefights, and all are a good size and offer just the right amount of choke points and cover positions.

Bad Company’s multiplayer uses a similar unlocking weapon system to other Battlefield titles and Call of Duty 4 where kills earn you new ranks to access fresh weapons. However unlike the huge advantages that the latter’s unlocked weapons provided to those who had played for longer, here each weapon feels as if it’s on far more equal footing, feeling different yet relatively equal.

Whilst it’s not quite perfect, Bad Company’s legacy will most definitely be its satisfying use of tactical destruction. In no other FPS does changing environment factor so heavily into combat, or in such a fun way. Its single player could have used a little polish but the game’s multiplayer shines as one of the best available on console to date.
The Score
Battlefield: Bad Company's legacy will most definitely be its satisfying use of tactical destruction. The single player campaign is good but not great, but it's multiplayer provides some of the best action that money can buy.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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25 Comments
5 years ago
So, any Australian servers for Multiplayer?

Or do EA just expect us to just suck it in and take it up the you-know-what?

The Demo's lag is laughable, if the Full Retail version is like it, well, I'm not going to even bother with the game.
5 years ago
I found the full version to be pretty lag free. I had a few issues with the demo at times (especially dropping out), but I had no problems with the retail copy. Not sure if they're Aussie servers though. We'll try and find out and let you know.
5 years ago
I have spent over 10 hours already in the multi-player and I agree with Tristan, the games are generally lag free. The game is really fun online but there are two major issues in the game I hope will be fixed in a future update.

First of all the respawn system is frustrating. If you get killed the game really punishes you hard by making you wait about 10 seconds before you respawn. Plus when you do respawn, sometimes you are put right behind an enemy and you get killed in no time. Sometimes its the other way round and you get easy points killing an enemy right behind you. Either way its cheap.

Another major issue is the weapon reload times. All weapons reload the same amount of time and the reload times are long. It reallly gets you killed a number of times during tense shoot outs.

Finally, although environments are distructable, ironically you cant shoot through walls C0D4 style. None of the doors can be opened as well. You have to shoot em down.

Fun game none the less as the review pointed out.
5 years ago
^^ The long respawn times are usually a feature of battlefield games. They are good because it can make the action more frantic when there is only one guy left with the rest waiting to respawn. It is one of the good things about the game. As for spawning behind enemies, you can choose to spawn in the battle or at the base, if you spawn at the battle you are straight into the thick of it, if you spawn at the base you have to run to the battle. And as for reload times, again, it adds tension and is one of the reasons I like the game.

I doubt they will change any of those things as they are all intentional elements of the game play. It is what makes the game battlefield.
5 years ago
Quote
Bad Company has the player stab themselves in the chest with a giant syringe to regain health.
What. The. Hell.

Should be good when the PC port comes along.
5 years ago
Aftershock wrote
Quote
Bad Company has the player stab themselves in the chest with a giant syringe to regain health.
What. The. Hell.

Should be good when the PC port comes along.
Yeah I agree, kinda off putting (and slightly gross to imagine personally). It made sense in Bioshock to give you more eve (and it was only to the arm), but how a giant syringe to the chest can fix bullet wounds is beyond me.
5 years ago
Puddingfork wrote
Aftershock wrote
Quote
Bad Company has the player stab themselves in the chest with a giant syringe to regain health.
What. The. Hell.

Should be good when the PC port comes along.
Yeah I agree, kinda off putting (and slightly gross to imagine personally). It made sense in Bioshock to give you more eve (and it was only to the arm), but how a giant syringe to the chest can fix bullet wounds is beyond me.
And how walking over a box after being caught in Splash damage from an explosion instantaneously cures you of all burns and wounds doesn't?
5 years ago
I took my PS3 to a friends house and played online on a 256 kb/s internet, and not one bit of lag, it's great. Only 3 weeks till I get broadband. Also, this game is a console exclusive.
5 years ago
Sambo110 wrote
I took my PS3 to a friends house and played online on a 256 kb/s internet, and not one bit of lag, it's great. Only 3 weeks till I get broadband. Also, this game is a console exclusive.
Did you even read the article, read any information about the game. Battlefield isn't console exclusive it's on Both 360 and PS3.
5 years ago
Sambo110 wrote
I took my PS3 to a friends house and played online on a 256 kb/s internet, and not one bit of lag, it's great. Only 3 weeks till I get broadband. Also, this game is a console exclusive.
It's looking more and more like that their Australian Servers are only for PS3 Users - 360 Australian users are complaining while the PS3 side is like "wtf."

How does EA only provide an Australian Server for one console and not the other? Did they just decide to do it knowingly there's less PS3 users in Australia (afaik) so it'd be cheaper to run than the 360?
5 years ago
lennex15 wrote
Sambo110 wrote
I took my PS3 to a friends house and played online on a 256 kb/s internet, and not one bit of lag, it's great. Only 3 weeks till I get broadband. Also, this game is a console exclusive.
Did you even read the article, read any information about the game. Battlefield isn't console exclusive it's on Both 360 and PS3.
Which means it's... uhh... console exclusive?

=P

As for the stabbing thing, I think it's trying to simulate morphine or adrenaline injections that medics would use on the battlefield to numb pain. Sure it's not exactly realistic but at least it's a little different from the norm.

This game appears to have turned out surprisingly good, here's hoping BF Heroes is just as good.
5 years ago
Well, I wrote my thoughts on whirlpool, but I'll transcribe them here:

Lord Haart wrote
Picked this one up for 360 on Thursday, played maybe around 8 hours online so far (an an hour in SP).

Lag seems pretty good (as in absent), so I won't be taking this back to EB on the 7-day thing (I did get them to pricematch Kmart at $79 though, which they did without question). On some servers it's quite noticable, but generally it seems to be in the 100-200 range, which can make a difference for sniping, but sniping is for tools icon_razz.gif. Also, if you're an Aussie and you want to snipe, play TF2.

Singleplayer Impressions:-The Sergeant looks, talks, and dresses exactly like the one from Halo 3. I'm serious, they are either twins or the same person.
-Gameplay seems pretty solid, anyone with experience on console FPS should find they adjust fairly well to the buttons (though I do find knifing with Y a little odd).
-Can't say much more since I haven't got very far. Good characters though.

Multiplayer Impressions:-The maps are very, very much in the style of Battlefield, which is definitely a good thing. I kinda wish that not everything was destructible though; the artillery is a PitA, and makes it very hard to find good defensive positions. It's even worse if you're attacking since the squad spawn often takes you back to the very first base, and there are no vehicles there after the base moves.
-Tanks seem pretty good, I find them quite easy to use and aim. Taking down helicopters is fun, they never seem to expect it and start getting scared.
-The guns seem ok, but it's quite clear that each class has an intended range, and it's hard for them to fight enemies who aren't in that range. Sniper is long range, Support mid-long, assault mid range, spec ops is short-mid, and demo is midrange.
-The damage that shots do to tanks seems to be almost random – I've had side and back hits that haven't really hurt, and front hits that have taken off the majority of my health.
-Squads are much like they were in BF2142 (the other BF game I've played) – if you're in a good squad, it helps alot, and you can get some pretty good teamwork happening. However, this is rare, and the main benefit is simply random point bonuses for healing people or assisting kills.
-The game seems quite well balanced – while it's obviously easer to win as a defender, good attacking teams usually own in their defending turns and it's quite clear when teams are better. There can still be significant skill gaps though, and sometimes one really good player can win the game against an average team.
-The unlocks are certainly useful, though the ones that were previously going to be sold aren't as good as the others. I find the last support gun to be quite effective for infantry maps, I had a great run tonight where I took down around 8 attackers from one room, and injured quite a few others. Not having grenades as support makes it quite a bit harder to play though, you really need to either find a hidden spot or stick with friendlies. It's my preferred class at the moment though since it can heal, so I usually get at least one medic trophy each round.
5 years ago
I meant it is exclusive to consoles, therefore a console exclusive.
5 years ago
Lord Haart wrote
On some servers it's quite noticable, but generally it seems to be in the 100-200 range, which can make a difference for sniping, but sniping is for tools icon_razz.gif
Odd, I found laggy servers to give me more grief with CQC, and I'd just use a semi auto sniper instead, and rack up the points... icon_confused.gif
5 years ago
Puddingfork wrote
Aftershock wrote
Quote
Bad Company has the player stab themselves in the chest with a giant syringe to regain health.
What. The. Hell.
Yeah I agree, kinda off putting (and slightly gross to imagine personally). It made sense in Bioshock to give you more eve (and it was only to the arm), but how a giant syringe to the chest can fix bullet wounds is beyond me.
If you think that's gross.. personally I can't stand to watch the darklings (from The Darkness) devour hearts from people you've killed. And it happens so often..

And anyway, how is a medkit that heals major wounds merely by coming into contact with you any more realistic? Or how you can recover fully from being shot at multiple times in other Battlefield games by getting shocked by defibrillators? You want realistic, try Insurgency icon_wink.gif
5 years ago
Also, you press Triangle or Y to get your knife out, and then you can press R1 or RT to attack with it. Just letting people know.
5 years ago
I thought the review was pretty fair. It's a great looking game and most of the time it's a lot of fun. Definitely worth checking out.
5 years ago
Passa wrote
Puddingfork wrote
Aftershock wrote
Quote
Bad Company has the player stab themselves in the chest with a giant syringe to regain health.
What. The. Hell.
Yeah I agree, kinda off putting (and slightly gross to imagine personally). It made sense in Bioshock to give you more eve (and it was only to the arm), but how a giant syringe to the chest can fix bullet wounds is beyond me.
If you think that's gross.. personally I can't stand to watch the darklings (from The Darkness) devour hearts from people you've killed. And it happens so often..

And anyway, how is a medkit that heals major wounds merely by coming into contact with you any more realistic? Or how you can recover fully from being shot at multiple times in other Battlefield games by getting shocked by defibrillators? You want realistic, try Insurgency icon_wink.gif
tbh it isn't, its just when I heard about the needles to the chest I immediately thought "that doesn't make sense" where as the other things didn't cross my mind at the time of posting. Also I find those darklings wicked cool and love devouring hearts, Mmm..
5 years ago
Lord Haart wrote
but sniping is for tools icon_razz.gif
Urge. To. Kill. Rising.
5 years ago
Eyce wrote
Lord Haart wrote
but sniping is for tools icon_razz.gif
Urge. To. Kill. Rising.
Ok, ok. I revise my comment.

"Sniping is for people who love giving away dog tags." icon_biggrin.gif

Seriously, 90% of the dog tags I have are from sneaking up on snipers. I also love using my LMG (support) for long range combat - when you fire a burst of shots in a sniper, they look around frantically, thinking that the shots are coming from like 3 or 4 snipers because of the number of bullets.

Loving the game, anyway. I have my good turns and bad turns though - I've finished in the top 3 only once so far (that was as third, and yes there were more than 3 people in the server icon_wink.gif).

Would love to know some things though - for instance, what are the numbers 1 and 2 in the white squares on the scoreboard next to people's names meant to represent?
5 years ago
Lord Haart wrote
Would love to know some things though - for instance, what are the numbers 1 and 2 in the white squares on the scoreboard next to people's names meant to represent?
Veteran Status, with the number representing how many previous battlefield games have been registered on the Battlefield Veterans site. Having 2 or more unlocks another weapon.
5 years ago
With "Veteran" status, i can't link my Gamertag to EA, says it's already attached to a "Classic" account (From BF2). And then it won't let me add the Classic tag to this Bad Company one. What sort of wizardry is this?
5 years ago
There's two things I really want to know about this game:

How does it stack up along side CoD4 multiplayer

and

Is this BF2 for the next generation?*

I was really disspaointed with BF: Modern Warfare on the 360. Is this game more like that or BF2?

And I know that in CoD4 it's just you and your gun, no vehicles, but as for as I'm concerned, this is best online FPS I've ever played. Is BF Bad Company good and different enough to make me want to play it over CoD4?








* I read the review the review pretty quickly, so aopologies if this was touched on
5 years ago
It's quite different than COD4 multi...

The way I described it to a friend was that in COD4, no matter which team you are on, you're always attacking where as in BF, one team actually attacks and another one actually defends a base. They are both quite differerent in that respect and BF is much more like an actual war than COD4.

When you die in COD4, you just respawn and keep going where as in BF, you die and actually have to start again, meaning you have to work your way into the actual battle field.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  26/06/2008 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $99.95 AU
Publisher:
  Electronic Arts
Genre:
  Shooter
Year Made:
  2007

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