A new standard has been set for Online Multiplayer!
First however, the Single Player. The campaign this time does not continue directly on from Bad Company 1, in fact there is no mention of the large amount of gold the team stole in the closing sequence of the game. Instead (after a very different intro mission, will get to that later) the Bad Company team find themselves thrown headfirst into another international war. The Campaign takes you all over the world, through dense South American jungles, Favela's (sound familiar?) and a whole range of other locations.
The story is very different this time, a lot more serious, and the game opens in a sort of flashback mission where you control a squad of American special ops troops in WW2. I won't spoil the plot, but basically this mission acts as an enjoyable tutorial, and is quite impressive and fun to play. However at times I found it to be superficial, as a lot of it seemed to be quite gimmicky. In my opinion the Campaign is fun to play in this game, but a lot of the action is almost scripted, and whilst it seems impressive, it's actually shockingly easy and very predictable. The developers seem to be attempting to emulate the effortless action and pace of the Call of Duty campaigns, but they can't get it right, and it definitely shows in how the game plays.
Onto the technical stuff. BC2's graphics (Single Player or otherwise) are superb, and easily match any other game at the top of the current generation. The environments are excellently detailed, and the lighting and dust effects create atmospheric levels and maps. Snow and Sandstorms look amazing in multiplayer, and add an extra dimension to the gameplay, as the ever changing environment can hide you or your enemies, allowing for a covered retreat.
So in a nutshell, the Campaign is mostly enjoyable, in parts challenging, definitely decent in length for a modern day shooter, and overall it is a good part of the game.
Now, onto the multiplayer. BC 2 is obviously a game made for the multiplayer, and let's face it, that is what everyone has bought it for. A lot has improved since Bad Company 1, there are more game types this time, more weapons, more vehicles, and pretty much more of everything. The game relies heavily on team work to win, and is a lot more tactics based than games you may be used to. You will still see a lot of Lone Wolves out for just themselves, but overall on this game you will find a much better range of players than on other (console) shooters.
The actual game play of the multiplayer is excellent, as you would come to expect of a Battlefield game. The physics engine is very realistic, and you will find weapons work a lot differently (and a LOT better) in this game than they do in most others. Gravity affects bullets this time, and on maps the size of Battlefield's where you will be making (and taking) plenty of long shots, this is very important. Every bullet in the game is now a real object, and it takes time to travel, hugely adding to the suspense and enjoyment of the game. Once you've got used to it, every other shooter will just feel inferior.
The game encourages you to think like a soldier, and the brilliantly designed maps really work well with any tactic, and you will want to think about how to attack or defend, rather than just running in with your guns blazing.
The variety of vehicles, weapons and terrain really make the possibilities of this game endless, and it's hard to go back to other shooters after this. Battlefield Bad Company 2 really is an epic game, and definitely does what it says on the box ("Defining Online Warfare"). It really is a must play to any fans of the shooting genre, or fans of gaming in general.
So do I think it is a CoD killer? Yes, it's definitely a good enough game, but realistically, it will probably never beat CoD, which is a shame, as everybody should play this game.
Graphics – 9.0/10 – Amazing environments, and realistic character models, textures and animations make this game above average for current generation shooters.
Gameplay – 9.5/10 – One of the most impressive gameplay engines out there, incredibly realistic and still fun to play. The huge variety of weapons and land, sea and air vehicles also make the game stand out from others.
Lifespan – 8.0/10 – Campaign is longer than most shooters, with a good amount of collectibles. Multiplayer is great fun and the medals and pins will keep serious gamers busy for months or even years. However, after some days of playing, this game got boring for me, and doesn't seem to have the longevity of games I am used to, such as Halo, CoD and Gears.
Overall – 9.0/10