There is no shortage of online destinations for those who enjoy first-person gun-wielding combat, but no matter how many opportunities you get to shoot another player in the face, there is always room for one more. Especially when that one more is as exciting and intense as Battlefield: Bad Company 2. The online multiplayer in this modern military shooter is a standout, featuring huge maps, incredible destructibility, powerful vehicles, and excellent sound design. These elements combine to foster the sense that you are fighting on an actual battlefield, making many other online shooters seem more like combat arenas than believable war zones. Multiplayer battles are invigorating and addictive, but they aren’t all that Bad Company 2 has to offer. The sizable campaign takes you to beautiful and exotic locations where you’ll be sorely tempted to take a break from shooting bad guys and blowing things up to admire the scenery. Fans of cooperative campaign play may miss the opportunity to play with a friend, but your hilarious and endearing squadmates more than make up for it, giving the campaign a rich sense of character not often found in the genre. The result is a very entertaining adventure that, coupled with the excellent multiplayer and top-notch technical presentation, makes Battlefield: Bad Company 2 something special in the world of shooters.
The beginning of Bad Company’s second tour finds Sarge, Marlowe, Sweetwater, and Haggard stationed in a wintery valley, supposedly serving out Sarge’s last tour of duty. Lofty mountains loom high against the bright blue sky as you sneak your way between snow-laden trees and out across a frozen river. As you infiltrate a small village, the snow muffles the sound of your footfalls, and when a firefight breaks out, your ears ring from the concussion of nearby explosives. One daring escape later, you’re dropped into the Bolivian jungle, where mosquitoes whine in your ear as you walk in the dappled light of the jungle floor. Gunfire doesn’t echo very far in the forest, but beneath the corrugated tin roof of a logging outpost, each bullet is a cacophony unto itself. This vivid, engaging world is a testament to Bad Company 2’s remarkable technical presentation. The stunning landscapes are matched by the diverse, intriguing terrain in both rural and urban environments. The excellent sound design further enriches your sense of place, and each gunshot, footstep, and exclamation fuels your battlefield awareness and informs your tactical decisions. Though there are some blurry textures, occasional screen tearing, and awkward moments caused by the pervasive environmental destructibility, these are mere blemishes on the ambitious look and immersive sound of Bad Company 2.