There are alot of 1st person shooters out on the Xbox 360 now from the big to the small, what we really want is a game that stands on its own two feet and doesn’t take too many elements or features that other 1st person shooters have. That’s alot to ask for especially when there’s alot of games out there that do try and create something unique, BFBC2 gets the mix between their popular formula of destructible environments and sturdier combat pace just right once again but with some new added and improved features that any sequel should have then blends them to bring you a very high quality modern 1st person shooter.
You will catch up with Preston (Your character), Sarge, Sweetwater and Haggard on Sarges last tour of duty in some icy valley ready to take out a small village just a head. The camera will pan over the landscape and you get a good eye full of the type of stunning environments your about to battle your way through. Mountains are crisp with snow and the trees move slightly with the wind in this initially peaceful placement, ready for you and your squad to cause hideous amounts of destruction to this Russian playground filled with evil dudes. No mission ever goes that simple for B Company though and they already know something’s a-miss right from the start, you as a gamer will already get the suspicion yourself that something’s about to go wrong with the dramatic music and Haggard – your explosives expert – picking up traps out of the snow. The wind will kick up the snow and make it harder to see clearly covering everything with a white mist or fog, this is the case with sandy environments too as BFBC2 has some great technical strengths making things like this possible. Because of this influence on gameplay expect some great nitty gritty combat through the elements to challenge you a little more than you’re usually use to and this weathering makes the environments seem believable and sets the standard of quality for the game quite high from the word go. Cut-scenes and combat are improved no end aswell, which helps create a damn good atmosphere to the very end of the game.
After this cut-scene you will be placed out in the snowy woods with your men. The sounds effects are incredible as you can hear clearly the crunching sound of your footsteps in the snow as you proceed and not just your footsteps but the rest of your squads too. The control scheme is set out a little differently to what you will be normally used to but it’s easy enough to remember after the first 20 minutes when the game runs over the control scheme – you will be a fine addition to your misfit squad in no time. In this relatively quiet part of the game you should take the time to get used to the feel of this soldier, MW2’s soldiers are very fast a nimble compared to BFBC2’s weighted fleshy soldiers and a little practice jumping around and switching weapons will help you adapt to the difference. After this you will be encouraged to move to the red diamonds on your screen, these are waypoints or points of interest and will always help you out if you get a bit lost or disorientated. These red waypoints also appear on your map in the bottom left of your screen, if you access the pause menu you’re given a bigger map so you can see more of the areas detail to help plan your assaults round buildings or dangers to get to your destination.
As your being introduced to some basic movements and actions in the game you will be treated to a heap of great dialogue in-between. There’s alot of swearing and the odd verbal back-hands and wise cracks from the four, which makes the serious cut-scenes suddenly very amusing and helps pack a harder punch to the dialogue when needed. As soon as you’re weapons free you will get a taste of BFBC2’s adrenaline pumping action. You’re encouraged to use the secondary fire on your assault rifle in this introductory stage which is the Grenade Launcher to take out a vehicle and a small group of Russian soldiers. The repercussions of doing so are beautiful big explosions, bits or rubble flying everywhere and alot of noise. BFBC2 combat experience is like no other because of all its little bits of thinking and tinkering, which brings you action like you’ve never seen or heard before. The only drawback of all this action is the unpredictability of the destructible environment; it can create small problems – breaking the perfect illusion of realistic harsh combat by doing something “strange”. It often involves you getting stuck for a short period, it doesn’t happen alot but it might get you killed once or twice.
At this point – just like in the first BC title – I was seriously drawn into the combat, it’s so hard not too with walls being blown apart, bricks landing everywhere and the sound of bullets whizzing past your ears. The varied areas of combat makes you fight differently each time as your given different dangers to proceed past like the more urban areas. In these more built-up eras you’re given things to hide behind or buildings to scarper into and even with the few weapons or apparel you have you can still squeeze so much enjoyment out of just shooting and blowing stuff up. The game does try to encourage you to get into a good flanking position as taking on enemies head on isn’t always the key to victory, there’s no getting round it by force either you must think quickly before attacking as there’s alot of things incorporated into the smallest or shortest bits of combat which could inevitably cause death. You can pick up enemies weapons littered on the ground if your short on ammo but there’s plenty of Weapon Supply Drops around too so you can swap the two weapons you have for any you have collected. This instant change in weaponry creates good pivoting points for the game where you can change your plan of attack, say from all out attack with assault rifles and explosives to sniping or laser targeting certain obstacles to proceed and creates refreshing diversity in the middle of a level or mission.
There’s some amazing challenges all the way through BFBC2’s campaign and you get access to some astounding vehicles to help overcome them creating never seen before possibilities for many types of destruction and chaos on a console. Often the missions are large scale and longer in design and will have you engaging alot of your environment and using gadgets just to keep reaching those checkpoints at a steady pace but when you’re not totally focused on the task at hand and fancy causing havoc you can have some great fun just blowing stuff up. Trees collapse and splinter when you blow them up creating visual chaos as your trying to take out the two men scrambling over them, buildings can take a number of hits in various places before collapsing and killing those poor fools still in there and you can forget those red barrels and fuel tankers which send everything flying everywhere in a haze of orange when you shoot them. You get a strong powerful role in this 1st person shooter and you can really feel that come through in the destruction of everything around you especially with the clever and detailed sounds to all of the action, you can even faintly hear the metal ting when you fire explosive weapons at tanks. There are 13 glorious levels in total ranging in landscape design and you will be introduced to many cool gadgets, weapons, grenades and vehicles along with the pleasures of decent secondary fire for your guns. There’s a couple of things to look for too during the campaign in the form of M-COM stations and the collectable weapons – these can be checked on the My Campaign section of the main menu along with what difficulty you’ve completed that level on.
I really enjoyed the campaign and it was longest most enjoyable 1st person shooter campaign I’ve played this year, it was also great to experience all that with a side helping of witty humour from the four guys that you grow to appreciate all the way through to the last mission. The difficulties for me are perfectly set for the game aswell, easy difficulty is at a good fair standard and the learning curve was steady and progressive enough to keep me happy as I’d already played the first. Normal difficulty is an honest step up in effort especially if you have completed it on easy you will notice a good amount of difference (not just extra damage off enemies) and you will have to use some of that cunning and initiative of yours to battle through certain spots that just slowed you down before. This gives the single player a worthy amount of longevity with the option of an enjoyable second play through on Normal or Hard if you’re feeling gutsy.
Now there’s the other side of this title that is equally engaging compared to the single player and seems initially quite similar but gets you to think and play in a completely different way to the campaign – and that’s the online multiplayer. Take all of the campaigns best elements I’ve written about, add the random placement of vehicles on some epic and unique destructible maps, then add online gamers and you will have the seriously impressive formula for BFBC2’s online. It’s defiantly a new challenge for console owners and gets you to think in a totally different manner to the other massive online shooter experience that is Call of Duty. I’ve played Call of Duty online alot – on PC in the beginning and then again on Xbox 360 with COD2, 3, 4 and then MW2. It’s not that I’m a COD fan girl so to speak it’s because there wasn’t much out there at the time that could compare to COD’s online play and now I can finally say there is, there’s another perfectly good option! BFBC2!!
You can have up to 24 players in one lobby and the two twelve man teams are broken up into in squads of four so players can choose to spawn next to a squad mate to beef up defences or push an attack forward instead of spawning way back at the base. Some game modes narrow this down into just squad vs squad for less chaos and more controlled smarter combat, whatever mode you choose the smart thing to do is stick with your squad mates. The opposing team or your team can creep past defences or fly over and spring up from behind – or in-fact any angle. You will need to put more energy into playing BFBC2 because all skilled players can incorporate their own meticulous tactical thinking to out do you or your squad and you must do the same, there’s no room for mistakes online.
You can use all the weapons and gadgets from the campaign but you will need to unlock them using the EXP you will gain when using a certain Kits online. Kits are your weapon class’s you choose from before heading out onto the battlefield: they consist of Assault, Engineer, Medic and Recon. You can flick through your set up and customise it quickly and easy before a match or when you respawn with the simple yet effect design of the kits small weapon menu. Gadgets are also easily changed by flicking along the customisation bar and scrolling down or up through your options, there’s not just the obvious weapon attachments like scopes either you do get things like Ceramic Body Armour and upgrade packages for vehicles. You will find class’s are balanced from the different ways they can earn extra points by supporting other soldiers and class’s – Medics have Medic Kits, Assault class’s can deploy an Ammo Box and snipers can mark enemies with a red marker for their side to see and kill, so don’t always worry about getting kills sometimes supporting is just as necessary and rewarding. The end of round summary page shows your progress with the four Kits and helps you to max out your online career; you can also see all of your progress of your un-lockable in the Multiplayer tier on the main menu.
BFBC2 is a sure fire way of giving your soldier side a workout that you won’t be expecting and for 1st person shooter fans out there who want alot of challenging adversaries online BFBC2 tends to separate “the men from the boys” to my and many other gamers delight.