Demo Daze: Battlefield Bad Company 2

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It may look generic, and it probably is, but that doesn’t stop Battlefield Bad Company 2 (BFBC2) from being a very fun game. Hit the jump for my impressions from the recently released Xbox 360 version of the multiplayer-only demo.

The demo consists of a snow map named Port Valdez and allows you to play the touted mode for BFBC2, Gold Rush. While this mode will be familiar for returning players from the original game, Gold Rush is a mode where rather than competing for kills or points, two teams have to either defend or attack various bases based around a large map. Defenders will need to try their best to stop the enemy team from destroying each base. If they can eliminate all of the defenders, they win that round. The objective for the attackers is simple: destroy each base until there are none remaining. To make things more challenging for the attackers, they have a limited number of reinforcements where as the defenders have an infinite number. However, the attackers gain reinforcements every time they destroy 2 bases. I enjoyed this game mode, as it focuses more on working as a team rather than just killing each other. I also found it to be an unpredictable gametype, as even with low reinforcements, one attacker destroying a base could change everything. Also, because this is not based on kills, it means that it is rare that one team will dominate the other, even if one team has one particular good player. While I enjoyed this game mode, I hope it is not the only one, as I wouldn’t want the format to get stale. While a smaller scale version of this gametype has been confirmed, as far as I know, no other gametypes have been announced so far.

In terms of the user experience in BFBC2, the game uses a customisable class system. The classes consist of Assault, Medic, Engineer and Recon. Each class has one weapon, a side arm and two special weapons to use. There are also bonuses, but these were locked in the demo. Each class has an unlockable weapon in the demo, although the customisation screen shows that there will be many weapons in the full game. Some weapons seem to be specific to their class where as other weapons, such as the earned shotgun in the demo, can be used by all classes. They also all carry a pistol by default, although a tracer was unlockable in the demo.

The Assault class is your standard Soldier class, who carries a standard machine gun. Their special weapons are a grenade launcher and ammo boxes. It is a good starter class for newcomers but the special weapons seem a little lacking in comparison to the other classes.

The Medic carries a heavy machine gun.  Their special weapons are a defibrillator, which can revive dead team-mates and and health kits, which let players regenerate health more quickly. This is my favourite class, as the Medic can easily hold his own during an attack and his defibrillator is highly useful in the middle of a fight. He is also the class to get the most points with, as he gets 50 points every time he heals a team-mate.

The Engineer class consists of another machine gun. Their special weapons are an RPG, which is useful for taking out vehicles, and a drill which can both fix and damage friendly and enemy vehicles respectively. This is why I said that the Assault class is weak, as the latter two classes can hold their own just as well and have arguably better special weapons.

Finally there is the Recon class, which uses a sniper rifle. Their special weapons are C4 charges, which are useful for protecting bases, and a motion tracker. As you can expect, if you’re a good sniper, then you’ll certainly enjoy this class.

There also different vehicles, such as various tanks and helicopters. This gives you more choice when it comes to how you battle your opponent, although it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before.

As for the gameplay, it’s exactly what you would expect from a modern day FPS. It’s certainly not going to change your mind on the genre, but if you enjoy this genre then you should enjoy this game. Where the game really benefits is from DICE’s own Frostbite engine, which allows scenery to be destroyed in a realistic manner. It can shake things up, for lack of a better word, certainly when you think you’re safe in cover. For example, in one game, I thought a tank hadn’t seen me when I was behind some cover, but it blew up that cover and I had to make a run for it or face certain death. Aside from the Frostbite engine, there are some nice little touches here and there such as the fact that bullets actually drop height over time. This means that snipers will need to aim above the head from far distances.

New to the game is a squad mechanic, which allows players to go in groups of 4 within the team. This is particularly handy for when you are with a few friends, especially since you get more points for helping your other team-mates. Your team-mates are clearly labelled on your HUD as well, so you’ll always know how near you are to a friend.

I also liked the sound design. Everything from the gun sounds to the distant sound of shell-fire has been done really well, in my opinion. I’m only guessing but I imagine that it sounds pretty close to what actual warfare would sound like. I only have a 2.0 sound setup, so I imagine it would sound even better in 5.1.

One complaint I have about the game, or at least in this gametype, is that the game never truly ends, as the number of rounds seems to be infinite. However, this was the case in the original game so I doubt it will change here. The graphics are also a little disappointing. They don’t look bad by any means, but some of the textures look particularly blurry, especially on the trees.

Overall then, I really enjoyed this demo. While it is nothing spectacular, it is a good solid game and it’s a lot of fun, especially with friends. However, I still have this niggling doubt in my head as to whether I actually want to buy it. While I enjoy multiplayer, I enjoy a good single player campaign as well as since that was only revealed a few weeks ago, with the game being released this month, I have my worries. To end on a positive note though, I’m definitely considering buying the game.

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