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June 8, 2010

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

In this day and age where the Call of Duty franchise is all the rage, I had pretty much ignored the first Bad Company title. I have to admit that I was a Call of Duty fanboy and just didn't really think I would have as much fun with the other franchise.

However, after getting bored much too quickly with Modern Warfare 2 (as I predicted in my otherwise stellar review for it) and hearing all of the wonderful things about Bad Company 2, I decided to take the plunge. The most enticing thing was the rave reviews of the online multiplayer, but I had also heard that the single player story was much better than the first game.

I finished the single player story in about 10-12 hours, namely one long weekend of gameplay. Considering my rather lackluster first person shooter talent, that is *really* short, almost criminally.

On the other hand, the story is pretty good and quite funny at times too. You're in a company of 4 soldiers who are considered "misfits" by the army (where have we heard that story before?). Hence the title "Bad Company". You're assigned to a Special Forces operation to track down and obtain a scalar weapon called "The Black Weapon." You start the game in 1944, as part of a Marine commando unit tasked with capturing a Japanese scientist who's been working on this weapon. You then play as part of the Bad Company, as Private Preston Marlowe, with your three other squadmates, squad leader Sergeant Samuel Redford (who was hoping to retire after the initial mission that's in the snowy depths of Russia), technology expert Private Terrance Sweetwater, and demolitions specialist Private George Haggard Jr.

The four men have a wonderful camaraderie that's filled with loyalty and humour. The cutscenes are beautifully done, not just the graphics but also the dialogue as well. Yeah, it can be corny at times, but it's still pretty good.

The NPCs you meet, such as your helicopter pilot (the pacifist hippie Flynn, to name one great example) are also interesting and fun.

The graphics are lush, immersing you in the environment, whether it's the frigid snow of the Andes Mountains (where you might freeze to death if you don't run from fire to fire) or the jungles of Bolivia. The ability to destroy the environment also enhances the gameplay, though keep in mind the same thing can happen to you! If you're taking cover in a house, don't forget that the house can come down around you.

Like I said, the story itself is way too short, even shorter than Modern Warfare 2. It's fun, but I wish there had been more to it. I also wish that the ending didn't shout "SEQUEL!" at the player, though everybody knows there will be a third installment. 2.3 million copies sold and counting. You know there will be another one.

Multiplayer is as good as it was advertised, yet for some reason I haven't fallen in love with it. I'm not really sure why that is, because I did enjoy it when I played it. Maybe it was the draw of other games calling me away, I don't know. I just know that I played it for a little while and now I'm not. There are lots of guns and other stuff to unlock as you level up. I'm wondering if my reaction is more because the game seems even more geared to communication among your teammates and I generally don't play with a set group of people. I don't even have a microphone hooked up!

Anyway, I would highly recommend the game, though if you can find it at a budget price, I would definitely say go for it. I'm not sure I would pay the full $70 for it (that's up here in Canada, anyway). If you like shooters, this one won't disappoint.


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