BRIEF REVIEW: Doesn’t stray too much from typical shooters, but still a solid one nonetheless...
Time after time we see first-person shooters come out and time after time they don’t really offer anything unique from others that have gone before it. Bad Company is one of those games, but some very fresh characters and open, destructible landscapes make it a good solid war game packed with humour and fast-paced action.
You play as Preston Marlowe, a convict sent from jail to become a member of Bad Company, a platoon made up of covicts and do-badders. At first you’re a member of the US army, involved in a war with the Russians and quickly being thrown into the fight. Eventually, though, the four group members, Preston, Haggard, Sweetwater, and Redford, become more interested in the fact that there are uninvited Mercenaries around… and they’ve got gold on them. Turns out they can’t resist a gold-hunt.
“Blow shit up” is one bit of advice I would give to someone just starting to play Bad Company as much of the game involves using rocket launchers, C4 and other environment-based objects to destroy your enemies’ tanks and helicopters. Because of this the game isn’t short of some hectic moments where the air is filled with bullets, explosions and smoke. With so much going on and things to consider it really makes you work to complete your objectives.
Still, like most FPS’ I ended up annoyed by how much shooting I had to do. Technically the controls were sharp and the action was satisfying but for me head-hunting can only be enjoyed for so long. Battles with tanks and helicopters often prove to be a varied challenge, especially on the harder difficulty levels. But I still got that familiar sense of de ja vu, my allergy to FPS’. It just wasn’t different enough, and although I did enjoy it, I felt like I’d played it before.
Nevertheless, let’s focus on some of the good things. The destructible landscapes are really well done (minus some minor graphical glitches) and it’s really satisfying to blow holes in the walls of buildings where your enemies are taking cover. The sound effects are top-notch, easily some of the best I’ve encountered on any game. Weapon noises, explosions and reload sounds are spot on, and the added echo on everything you do on the inside of buildings is really impressive. It’s very realistic and makes it feel a much more complete game.
Whereas sounds are great, visuals leave a little to be desired. Animations are mostly good but overall the look of environments looks very plain and dull, grainy even. Plus, in contrast to sound effects, some characters jumping location randomly feels very unfinished. You do forget all about this when you watch the characters, though. Some genuinely funny moments (such as Haggard introducing himself by saying “you smell very clean”) are very fresh and arrive as a welcoming break from the action.
Then there’s your weapons arsenal which is pretty large if a little predictable. You’ve got everything you’d expect; machine guns, shotguns, pistols, knife, rifle, rocket launcher and as you play you’ll come across other weapons like the gadget to call an air strike. These environment-based weapons make you think tactically about what’s the best way to complete your objective.
Bad Company, then, is a good, enjoyable shooter that has plenty going for it. The action is very well done and gameplay is often hectic, very reminiscent of when Call of Duty revolutionised war games. It’s just a shame it doesn’t offer much that’s new. Collecting your guns and filling your collection of weapons is reasonably enjoyable to find what’s the best one for you, but collecting the gold bars is, quite frankly, pointless and doesn’t add anything to the game. It was just part of the story. But it’s the sound effects and destructible landscape that really shines here, along with some very well written characters. Don’t expect any fireworks, though… no, wait, actually, do…