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"Battlefield: Bad Company"


The last "Battlefield" game I played, "Battlefield 2: Modern Combat", was pretty much dogshit.  Electronic Arts and DICE went back and retooled everything, right down to the very core of the gameplay mechanics, and now we have a 7-10 hour first person shooter that doesn't suck, has a decent (not great) online component, a cool weapons system, and squad gameplay tied to four soldiers who are in a hunt for gold in what appears to be a Middle East-style romp through enemy territory.

Even though "Battlefield: Bad Company" is a bit dated now (over a year old), it has the immediate status of "Rainy Day Killathon."  Buy it for $20 or rent it periodically and it does the work, because when you dial up the volume on this thing, it feels like you are in a virtual warzone, and the developers have made everything too loud, too profane, and too other words, just right.

You are a soldier named Preston, the new guy in a four-man unit known as Bad Company.  The Army sends you in first to "investigate" combat zones, knowing full well that all you are going to run into is trouble.  That's okay, because with about 30 weapons at your disposal (including sniper rifles, automatic shotguns, assault rifles and GPS transmitters that can call in air strikes) and a seemingly limitless number of red barrels, red gas tanks, red canisters and red drums that tower above buildings, you have the chance to level the landscape on every stage.  Things get blow'd up real nice like in this game, and because your teammates are always yelling for you to take cover, or when you make headshots, or when they need help, or when they blow something up, the combination of the chatter, explosions and rat-tat-tat make for a funny living room experience.  The single player is a bit easy on normal, but I thought that was okay, because it kept me focused on blowing shit up.  There is a guilty conceit for you to find gold stolen by smugglers but I wasn't as concerned with that as I was to find every hidden weapon available in the game.

The online component--not to beat a dead horse, if the four of you who read these game reviews will see--is not bad, but it sure ain't "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare."  It seems to take a while to shoot an enemy player down (should it take four sniper shots to take down anyone?) and the engine isn't as fluid as it is in "COD4", but the vehicle combat is fairly well done and the class system is what made the "Battlefield" games famous...and, that is still cool here, with an unlock system that rewards sticktoituiveness.  But the game formats kind of suck.  "Gold Rush" is the game's main format, which has defenders trying to keep gold crates from exploding; this 16-on-16 format just doesn't make me smile.  The designers added "Conquest" back into the mix because a) it doesn't suck, and b) it was the core of what "Battlefield" games are about--holding capture points, earning "tickets", getting to a ticket goal before your opponent.  But, there's a very small number of maps, and when you don't have a vehicle on two or three of them, life really blows, because that's a long walk for a player.

Overall, stick to single player and pop the game in every so often for the thrill of live fire.  Then go back to your household chores.

Rating:  $40


Feedback?  Comments?  Salma Hayek's digits?


Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  Buy this game right away, and don't ask me any questions as to why that's a good move.  A game experience that will almost guarantee repeated controller abuse, lots of ManScreaming and high resale value, you will assuredly play this bad boy for months on end. 

"$40":  Usually after games have been out for a while, they drop in price slightly, or can be bought for slightly cheaper in combination with other new games.  Usually, that's about $40.  You'll feel good getting the game for this price, since it isn't quite run-out-and-get-it-right-now good, but it has enough game in the box for a few weeks' worth of enjoyment.

"eBay":  This game is not too bad, but you'd be better off buying it used from either or eBay.  You also might let a friend buy this game, let s/he beat it, and then try to buy it from them to make them feel better.  Yes, this does tend to feel like "Sloppy Seconds."

"Rental":  Like my cousin Ron, you should always rent games that you aren't sure about first, to make sure that your $50 is going towards something worthwhile.  For games in this category, this is the maximum amount of money ($5) and/or time (3-5 days) you'll need to either gain satisfaction from the game, or beat the game in its entirety.  Rental-rated games are also sometimes perfect for a weekend when you are going to be at home on your ass, with some time to kill.

"Dogshit":  Games like this should have never been released.  If you play this game for any reason, you will regret every second of the experience.  Further, if you can get this game for free, don't do it, because even for FREE, it will still be a negative experience for you!

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 04/19/09