Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Public Beta Map Impressions

EA is releasing a Bad Company 2 beta for the PlayStation 3, but before then, we risk life and limb to see what kind of action this South American map will offer.

When EA released the public beta for Battlefield: Bad Company in the spring of last year, it was limited to the Xbox 360 even though the full game would also arrive on Sony's rival console. For the upcoming sequel, EA is taking the opposite approach. The publisher has decided to spread the love around with the announcement of a Bad Company 2 public beta due out exclusively for the PlayStation 3. To get an idea of what's in store, EA recently invited us down to its Redwood Shores offices to play several rounds on the Arica Harbour map that will be included in the beta. (And of course, this map will also be part of the final Xbox 360 and PC versions of the game.)

Let's start with a quick primer. If you read our last preview, you'll know that Bad Company 2's multiplayer offers matches for up to 24 players, plenty of ground and air vehicles, and an added focus on customizing your weapons kit. There are four classes to choose from--medic, engineer, recon, and assault--but you can customize your loadout to such an extent that class limitations don't play a huge role. Aside from your primary weapon and the specialized equipment for each class--the medic's defibrillator paddles, the recon's mortar strike device, and the engineer's vehicle-repair tool--there's a lot more flexibility in Bad Company 2. The expanded destruction engine also changes the landscape of battle (literally and figuratively) in the way you'll see more chipping away of cover and entire buildings toppling down.

Arica Harbour is a map that takes place in a fictional South American locale, which focuses on a coastal town set between an ocean and tall mountains. Visually, it's a very bright map situated under a pounding sun that reflects the white desert sand. But don't take that to mean you'll be waging your battles purely in bright, open spaces. Arica Harbour seems to offer lots of potential for various forms of combat, thanks to its mix of dense, urban structures and surrounding hills.

Because we played our matches in the Rush mode, the style of combat changed over time as new parts of the map became unlocked. Rush mode pits an attacking team against a defending team, limiting the former to a fixed number of respawns. The attackers must destroy a pair of crates four times to push their way down the map before achieving victory in the match. If they run out of respawns before taking care of that fourth pair of crates, then it's victory for the defenders.

Each time the attacking team destroys a pair of crates, a new pair opens up a bit farther down the map, which players must make their way toward. The first section on Arica Harbour starts with the attacking team at the end of a long highway with overturned buses and destroyed cars on the sides of the road. The attackers have to push their way down to a small barracks at the end of the highway. There aren't a whole lot of alternate routes to the crates besides going straight down the road, taking cover behind cars and hoping for the best.

Expanded weapons customization allows you to outfit your guns with various scopes and grenade launcher attachments.

The next section opened things up quite a bit, putting the next two crates in the middle of a large town and letting the attacking team go at it from multiple angles. We found the recon class (sniper) the most effective in this area because the tall buildings and surrounding hills offered a lot of hiding spots, while the ability to call in a mortar strike on the area immediately surrounding the crates usually meant a few easy kills against those defenders camping out a little too close to the target. On the flip side, getting in a tank was usually a recipe for disaster. The narrow city streets limit the paths you can take and means any engineer hanging out on the second or third floor of a building can just take his time to fire a rocket-propelled grenade or bazooka at you from up high.

In fact, it seems that jumping into a heavily armored vehicle is no longer the guaranteed kill streak it was in the first Bad Company--at least on this map. One of the ways that developer DICE seems to have balanced things out is by giving on-foot players the ability to use technology to fight the brute strength. One example of this can be seen with the inclusion of a new secondary weapon you can add to your arsenal from the kit customization screen. Rather than carry a pistol, you can elect to carry a tracer dart gun. This slick little device shoots a glowing red tracer onto the side of any vehicle, which acts as a magnet that will pull any explosive projectile within the general vicinity directly to that spot. Thus, your engineers don't need anything close to precision targeting when firing a rocket at a vehicle from afar, helping to destroy those armored pests much more easily.

The third section that opens up in Arica Harbour moves back to a bit of a bottleneck scenario, with the action in the town funneling into a narrow railway bridge that crosses a river. The attacking team can take the direct route and risk charging over the road on the bridge, which turned into a hornet's nest of bullets and grenades in our matches. Or the team can get stealthy and crawl down below, swim across the river, and sneak up behind the defending team. (The latter became our favorite approach in this section, though between the dumpsters under the bridge and the murky water, you could practically smell the filth on us after a while.) After this, the fight goes to the fourth and final section, which takes place in a wide-open shipping yard with a wrecked and flaming boat docked nearby that, sadly, can't be used as a sniper hideout.

While the changing landscape forces you to take different approaches to each chapter in the match, you'll also be earning unlockable rewards as you rack up the kills. These rewards are actually unlocked mid-match. At one point, while playing as the engineer and using an assault rifle, we managed to unlock a shotgun as a reward for reaching a new XP level. The next time we spawned, we swapped guns and jumped into a nasty firefight with the shotgun, which helped us mow down close enemies much more easily than before. In other words, it looks like those unlocks can affect the battle as quickly as the changing terrain.

Fire a tracer dart at this tank and it'll attract enemy rockets to itself like a magnet.

Overall, it feels like Arica Harbour is a map that focuses on a lot of on-foot, close-quarters combat. In fact, there are no helicopters on the map at all, unless you count the recon drones players can pilot remotely to scope out enemy positions. This stands in stark contrast to the other map we've played on--such the snowy Alaskan map Port Valdez--which had a ton of vehicles to choose from and lots of long stretches of snowy dirt roads. It looks like DICE really wants to mix up the types of experiences offered on each map, which strikes us as a good thing. We should have a better idea of what to expect from some of these other maps, and the story campaign, as we get closer to Bad Company 2's March 2 release.

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Discussion

467 comments
Among_thieves
Among_thieves

can not wait its coming out in one more week

scarred_fox
scarred_fox

there'd better be a pc demo. not taking a chance of playing a sequal to a console port

DjTIEST0
DjTIEST0

i dont see why peoples cry abut MW2 i mean when this game come out for sure cod will be boring but idk lets see what they will do with the map pack BF BC 2 looks kinda the same game i played on the 360 just some good graphic nothing more but im happy this coming on pc ill get the pc version for sure the superior FTW

CaramelCarmine
CaramelCarmine

Also The Trailer for the Single player is out! It's gonna kick MW2's ass... Sorry COD lovers.. this game just owned your S**T!

CaramelCarmine
CaramelCarmine

To: 111FLARED111 Hey remember in the first one? the maps are going to be the same size if bigger.. and even in the first one you couldnt go anywhere without being shot at unless you were like a mile away from combat.. 12 on 12 is nice enough and you cant cap which is good too :). HAve a good one Caramelcarmine

111FLARED111
111FLARED111

I'm sorry but 24 players? That is just wrong. That's not a battlefield, its a firefight, a very small firefight. 12 on 12 :| i'd much rather have 32 on 32.

chevaldefer
chevaldefer

This game will crush the online MW2 easily XD I cant wait to trade in MW2 for this game.

JoGargos
JoGargos

Will Gamespot give some BC2 PC Beta Keys? I dont wanna preorder a game which i dont test it. Lots of things can go wrong.

Kurdisho0
Kurdisho0

well it looks like this game is gonna kick mwf 2 ass but maybe not on single player ! i mean they havnt even released a single vid about the single pllayer on this game ! why is that? i mean that was the first thing IW did to mwf 2 ! just wondering lol !

GoodGuy729
GoodGuy729

As a "ground-pounder" who loves a good infantry battle, the screen shots give me the impression that there are too many vehicles, especially heli's and jets, which totally ruin the infantry action. I am totally psyched about BFBC2, but am hopeful that there are some good infantry-only muli-player maps, or at least like in BF2, the option exists to eliminate vehicles from a map.

dono14
dono14

wait..whats so different with the tracer darts in the second then in the first? anyways can't wait for this game, it is going to be amazing

tospu
tospu

this game is going to ruin mw2 life cant wait its going to be epic just by playing the beta it looks sound and feels more realistic then mw2

malificus1
malificus1

I've been playing the Beta non-stop for a few days now and I am amazed. The effects and sound effects are perfect. I've never played a game that felt this realistic. The map is freaking huge and there is always a lot of action going on. Vehicles are not OP like in most games and every class is useful and fun to play. Not sure if this will be a MW2 killer, but I look forward to purchasing this game.

tempo232
tempo232

@wowaliance then your hopes as been granted... BFBC2 its very good I can tell you that.

wowaliance
wowaliance

for me MW2 is a fail(in multiplayer),i put all my hopes in this game

gamescottsman
gamescottsman

I like the sound of this but I don't like how easily tanks/Humvees etc have such low amour counts in BFBC, I was hoping they would beef them up a bit in this sequal. Players can hit vechs with art strikes, guided air bombs, rockets and helicopters - they can be under used and would like them to be more supportive in battle....

snikey24
snikey24

This is going to be epic :D Can't wait!!!

HardRains
HardRains

I wish you could go prone in this game like in MW2.

d3lrith
d3lrith

Bfbc2>>>>mw2 anytime

zowbaid
zowbaid

@i_DU If you got a ps3, just go to Gamestop, pre-order the game and you'll get a beta code.

i_DUB
i_DUB

Wish I had a code, can't wait.

THESEL
THESEL

Looks sweet. High hopes.

Lemarez
Lemarez

i do have a code but it won't work damn!!! BUT I DON'T KNOW WHY

KittyandBoo
KittyandBoo

this game has everything COD doesnt Love the betta

scottishboy
scottishboy

BTW i have a beta code for this game but as I live in the UK i cant use it. PM me if you want a code

mimicus
mimicus

@samsterzemaster I second that. This game already steals my sleep and haunts my dreams. The full content is gonna ruin my marriage. Crap!

trixx666
trixx666

Gonna be an awesome game!!

B1ackEagle
B1ackEagle

This will be a must buy guaranteed.

Cillerboy
Cillerboy

i'm excited for this one it looks like 2010 will be a great year for games!

brian_13un
brian_13un

Cool looking forward to this one ^_^

brian_13un
brian_13un

Cool looking forward to this one ^_^

crackers24
crackers24

I've found jumping into a game slightly "noob hostile". It's not so much that the game itself is hard so much as it's difficult to get used to your cover disintegrating. Sometimes, you'll be "behind cover", but it'll be shot up enough that the next round collapses it and kills you. Other than that, the gameplay is epic, the weapons are good (though the silenced weaponry seems epically redundant), and overall is a pretty fun game.

salty369
salty369

The Beta is a Closed Beta Now since the beta keys are goin you have to be invited to the beta -_-

salty369
salty369

the beta keys ended thanksgiving i hav 1 for proof add psn id xUNkNOWN-SNIPER-

jhr76
jhr76

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

USMC575
USMC575

will get this game if the bullet system is better. IT TAKES A FULL CLIP TO KILL SOMEONE IN BFBC. i hope its more like 1943 were you can kill someone in just a few shots

Hell3ent
Hell3ent

I'm having a good time with the beta thus far...I think the massive mpas, inclusion of vehicles and a bit more forgiving style of gameplay is what makes me prefer the BF series over the CoD series (not that CoW is bad...I quite enjoy it).

dayneoram
dayneoram

I have to say, this game is amazing! a couple of things i have noticed though, is that certain walls (the same ones in houses as in the first bad cmpany) will not be destroyed. same with iron girders. The sniping is alot more fun with the marksman headshot and the way the bullet drops over a distance.

Frimmel
Frimmel

I'm not really an FPS player but the chance to participate in any Beta was too much to pass up. I'm really enjoying the game and it seems really newb friendly. This has made my 'serious consideration' list.

zbiggie
zbiggie

It seems different for me, I think it must be the controls or something, either way its still as easy as ever sneaking up on a group of snipers and killing them before theny even know what happened. But I do miss the health boost, It made the game different from all the other FPS games where you just wait to heal.

Silverback67
Silverback67

I'm playing the Beta, and I have to say it's awesome! I think the big difference in MW and BC2 is that Modern Warefare tends to favor quick reflexes, while Bad Company tends to favor quick thinking. They are both awesome in their own way...If you are an FPS fan, you need both.

blue_shift_91
blue_shift_91

hey, as long as the controls arent as sluggish as they were in the first bad company, it all sounds awesome.

Gammet25
Gammet25

Cant wait for it pwn Modern warfare 2 on the pc, man that modern warfare 2 so bad on the pc,

W_E_S_T_S_I_Der
W_E_S_T_S_I_Der

i got number 1 and it was pretty sweet so maybe i will pick this up

VengenceZero
VengenceZero

Alot of people are saying the Reason why MW2 sales where so extreme on the 360 was because alot of PS3 owners are looking forward to this instead. Including myself, as long as the campign isnt 5 hours