Daily Grind - Battlefield: Bad Company Single Player
Spoiler Warning: A few details of events from the campaign
I have mentioned before that I have a weird inability to play a game unless I have played as many previous games in the series as is reasonably possible. If I were to try and justify this, I would probably mumble something about wanting to see how the various ideas and concepts have evolved over the lifetime of a series. I would also make a cough that sounds a bit like I said that I probably care more about the story in games than most people do, so always want to have as much context and back story of the world and characters as possible. With this in mind, I find myself playing through the single player of Battlefield: Bad Company before I start on its recently released sequel.
I am writing this after having completed all seven missions of the single player campaign, but I don’t really feel like I need to write a full in-depth review as at this point it’s not really serving anyone, unless I can find a way to send it back in time to June 2008 where it would be ignored anyway because it’s not about the multiplayer. So here is a grind instead. Enjoy!
: Tone and Character
From the box art’s smiley faced grenade, and the jaunty tune that plays on the main menu you immediately know this game isn’t taking itself too seriously. You join the three other members of B-Company as punishment for some un-revealed transgression that should probably have landed you in jail. Throughout the campaign the characters accidentally invade a neutral company, desert the army, greedily chase after mercenary gold, and generally don’t take anything too seriously. At one point you find yourself in a blinged out helicopter belonging to a deposed and quite drunk ousted president of a small eastern European country. It’s all a nice change of pace from the often too serious on-goings of the normal modern military shooter.
: Freeform Battles
Rather than funnelling you through a two metre wide corridor of fun like an unusually brutal theme-park ride, Bad Company often gives you quite an open area in which to conduct your battles. This means there are often multiple ways to approach any group of enemies, lots of paths for retreating, and the possibility of bailing on the battle to run off and find a vehicle or better armaments. To me it makes the combat feel a lot more like a Halo game than a Call of Duty game. The best parts of the campaign are where you have the most freedom, for example in one part you just have to get from a coast to the top of a hill by pretty much whatever means you feel like, be it sneaking past villages on foot, roaring through them in a buggy, sniping everyone from afar, or boating your way up a river.
: Why I die?
While the larger and more freeform battles are good for flexibility, sometimes there is just too many people shooting you from too many different directions. Any situation where you are stuck in a town with a tank rolling around, enemies seemingly in every building, and a nice load of dust obscuring your ability to the shoot the bad guys far more than their ability to shoot you can be somewhat irritating. This sort of chaotic battlefield situation is probably exactly what they were going for, so good job with the atmosphere. It’s just a shame it’s not actually fun when the odds are stacked against you in this manner.
While Red Faction Guerilla went on to make a whole game out of this concept, it’s never not fun to blow up building. The buildings here don’t fall all the way down sadly, but you can reduce most structures to mere shells with your ample supply of grenades, C4, rocket launchers, and tanks. This is handy for doing Kool-Aid Man style entrances to houses full of enemies that think they’re safe occasionally poking their head out of a window to shoot at you. Sorry friend, the window and the wall it was in are now dust! How do you like that!? Of course they can do this to you too, and hiding from a tank behind an entire two-story abode won’t keep you out of line of site for very long as it will immediately start boring a hole through the walls. All this action kicks up a decent amount of dust and debris which can look really good, though it can get in the way of playing effectively a bit.
: Health System
Wow, a variation on the recharging health system I haven’t seen before! Don’t see that every day. In this game you are given a constantly recharging needle of health that you can jab yourself with whenever you want instant full health. Your health does not otherwise recharge and there are no additional ways to get health back. This means that hiding to restore health requires more button presses, but once you get good at it you can kick yourself back to full far quicker than your average regenerating health system. The downside is the recharge on the syringe is longer than most regenerating systems, so you may find yourself stuck waiting longer than you can survive for the needle to fill up again.
: Iron Sights
It’s hard to chastise the developers for not immediately copying everything about Call of Duty 4 when it was released seven months before Bad Company was, but having to use old fashioned iron sights on the array of modern assault rifles that they give you is a bit of a bummer. There are some scoped sniper rifles, but as the game only allows you to carry one rifle with you, you won’t stick with a sniper for very long as it’s not the most effective thing to use in most situations.
: Tone and Character
- Freeform Battles
- Health System
: Why I die?
- Iron Sights
Right, with that out of the way I can finally take off the shrink wrap on my copy of Bad Company 2 and get stuck straight into the single player of that, which I’m sure no-one will care about either. I really enjoyed playing Battlefield 1943 with Josh and Sam a few months ago, so I guess I should fire up the multiplayer at some point.