With the latest iteration of the Battlefield franchise only hours away (or days away depending on the reliability of the United States postal service....so most like days) I often take a minute or so to reflect on exactly why I'm so willing to part sixty dollars to buy a new game. Video games are hardly a cheap hobby anymore, and the average consumer, like myself, rarely has the luxury of buying every new thing that comes out. At sixty dollars a pop, video games are more of a long term investment rather than a cheap, transient entertainment. You want a game that's not only enjoyable and fun, but something that will keep you occupied long enough to make you feel as though its purchase was justified. Longevity plays as integral of a factor as its graphical prowess and fun factor. For instance, you would not buy a car that runs fast, looks sexy, but ultimately only will work for a year, right?
The Battlefield series (most notably Battlefield 2) for the PC always seemed to be worth its price tag. Not only did it have impressive graphics, but simultaneously simple and yet in depth design has kept it spinning in my PC consistently for the last several years. Battlefield: Bad Company looks to continue that trend in excellence, and from the demo I've been playing religiously for weeks now is any indication, may even raise the standards not only for the Battlefield series, but for all First Person Shooters as well.
The Graphics and Sound are Amazing!
While this generation of video games (particularly the shooters) are no stranger to good graphics, not only do the character models, environments and textures meet up to the standards set by beautiful titles like Call of Duty 4 or even Metal Gear Solid 4, Bad Company mixes things up by introducing its new Frostbite graphics engine, a new technology that essentially mimics what Red Faction began on the PC years ago, but takes it to the new level. Whatever you see can be blown up, torn down, or shot apart. Concrete walls can be demolished with a well aimed tank shell, and trees and concrete barriers can be crushed underneath a tank's treads. The realism that this limitless destruction allows injects into the game is much welcomed, and will undoubtedly become a staple of the genre in months to come.
There used to be a sniper here. There was also a wall. Now there are neither.
The sound in Bad Company is almost as good as the graphics. Gun shots, explosions, the grind of spinning wheels or the clatter of destroyed tank armor sounds authentic and varies depending on the player's surroundings. For example, a sniper rifle will echo if you're sitting in a cave, but dissipate quickly if you're in the open. Similarly, if an explosion comes off near your character, expect all the game's sounds to be strangely muted and filtered through a constant ringing -just as if your ear drums had been blown out in real life.
The Single-Player Campaign Actually Could be Fun
The Battlefield franchise has never been known for its single player component. Their efforts at creating an experience suitable has amounted to really nothing more than tossing a player in one of the multiplayer maps only with retarded computer opponents to keep them company. In Bad Company, however, the single player mode is a full length, fleshed campaign that puts you in control of a rag tag group of renegade soldiers who are in search of a cache of gold that will allow them to retire rich and, hopefully, alive. While the story may sound like a rip off of the movie Three Kings, the story itself has a quirky, dark and sarcastic sense of humor that's portrayed in a large part by your incessantly chattering team mates. They may not contribute a whole lot to the gun fight, but they're endearing and genuinely contributes to creating a unique gaming atmosphere.
The Multiplayer IS Awesome
Just based on the online demo alone, I already love Bad Company. While it may lack the depth that Battlefield 2 for the PC had (no jets, smaller squads, smaller battlefield, etc.) the integration of the new experience and rank system allows players to be rewarded for being awesome. The more you kill, the more you achieve objectives, and the less you betray your team mates in order to get to fly the helicopters first, the more points you'll earn towards unlocking the various weapons and gadgets for each class. The infantry combat is substantially refined over previous iterations, making your role as a sniper, specialist, support, etc. all the more crucial to the battle. It's not all about just driving tanks and jeeps (though admittedly that's awesome too) but creating a perfect balance within your team so that each player and their chosen weapons and special gear compliments the other. Or you can just run around and shoot everything. The game is fun both ways.
Just from the limited exposure to Bad Company in the demo (which only allowed me a few unlocks and only one map) I ended up playing it for hours on end with my roommate. With the full retail game coming packed with guns and more maps (plus a new game play mode in a few months) there's a lot of reasons to be excited about Bad Company, especially with the lack of other major shooters out on the market this summer.