Sunday, 7 March 2010

Love on the Battlefield

I'm a Call of Duty freak. A CODHEAD, as we're commonly known. I don't know why I find it so compelling, but the idea of levelling up and getting those sweet sniper headshots from a mile away just pushes my gaming buttons no end. I love it. That competitive edge, that repetitive yet changing environment and circumstances make for a gaming experience I love, and enjoy thoroughly.

The problem is, is that COD has thrown down a gauntlet of massive proportions. So solid in it's approach, so thorough in it's fairness and balance, it's often hard to even consider anything else when looking for the definitive FPS Multiplayer experience.

But over the Summer I, like most people, took a little chance on a curious little game on the Xbox Live Marketplace, known as Battlefield: 1943. 3 Levels, one mode, a little slice of WW2 Multiplayer for people to dive into. The developer DICE hoped for moderate success, fully unaware of it's impending success. In fact, they were so unsure of it doing well, they offered an incentive: if the community reached 43 million kills, they would unlock another level. Expecting this to take months, and to perpetuate the game, and hopefully help it gather momentum.

They did it in 4 days. It went on to be one of the biggest-selling Downloadable games of the modern age, and a benchmark in bitesize gaming.

So now it's DICE's turn to bring the next thing to the table. Enter Battlefield: Bad Company 2...

And it's brilliant. It's different, it's solid and it's damn playable. So far, I'm a few levels into the single-player, which I'm currently enjoying. Well-crafted level design, good weapons and excellent destructibility in the levels means the game is an enjoyable and satisfying experience. The story is relatively interesting, and the dialogue is nice and snappy. It's not ground-breaking, let's not get that misunderstood, but it is good. It's not going to win any innovation awards, but it's a fantastic excercise in gameplay and of solid shooting mechanics.

It's the multiplayer where things start getting really interesting. Clever game modes, incentives to progress and maximum carnage ensue for a difficult but rewarding experience.

The vehicles are fantastic. The UAV helicopters, the tanks, the quad bikes. Fantastically balanced. Tanks are tough, but a clever-thinking engineer with an RPG can take them out easily enough. All the weapons are nicely balanced, The Sniper Rifle's trajectory means that shots have to be aimed above the head, varying on the distance. The classes skills are all valuable, with each being important. All in all a well-rounded and deeply satisfying little shooting jaunt, and one which I look forward to investing some time into in the near future.

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