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Battlefield: Bad Company Review

Author: NJ
Monday, 7 July 2008

Xbox 360 / PlayStation 3


I'm a sucker for a first-person shooter with a story-driven plot, so Battlefield: Bad Company really scratches those deep-seeded homicidal urges to blast houses apart with grenades and call in air strikes on a single hapless enemy soldier.

This latest instalment in the Battlefield series is a real winner. Personally I found the last console instalment of the series, Modern Combat, to be a touch lacking in purpose, and overzealous with the 'hot-swapping' action. Bad Company, however, hits all the right buttons with Call of Duty style combat action, a brand new gimmick ('Destructible Environments' - more on that later) and a story line stolen directly from the films Three Kings and Kelly's Heroes.

Said stolen story line goes like this: you're Preston Marlowe, a grunt who's been a bit naughty (namely, taking a chopper for a joyride) and has been sent for punishment to the cannon fodder unit, B (or Bad) Company. He and his three team members (the gruff but amiable sergeant who's days away from retirement, the redneck pyromaniac and smart-nerd with glasses) are sent into the shit for some dangerous missions in the new, unexplained future war against Russia (over natural gases, apparently, and isn't it nice to be fighting those old, less politically touchy foes the Russians, instead of generic 'terrorists'-). They discover that Russia has been boosting its ranks with mercenaries, who are paid in gold bars by their mysterious leader the 'Legionnaire' - no prizes for guessing what happens next. That's right, they ignore the gold, obey their orders and are massacred in an ambush. Or, they go AWOL to hunt for the gold bullion; pick whichever you think is right.

But really, who cares about the story line when you've got 'Destructible Environments'- The 'Frostbite' game engine has allowed the designers to build gorgeous sandbox environments, replete with detail, butterflies and pretty flowers, of which 90% can be destroyed with bullets and grenades. Got a sniper pinging at you from a window- Just fire a grenade into the wall and blow out his cover. Your armoured vehicle is being attacked by commandos hidden in the woods- Just jump on the machine gun and mow down all those pesky trees.

Another bonus is the never-ending supply of health boosting injections (there's nothing I hate more than dying on a regular basis) and the fact that it saves all achievements linearly, i.e. once you've killed an enemy once, even if you die straight after, you don't have to go back through and kill them all again.

The only criticisms I have for Bad Company are minor, like the fact that you can't carry a sidearm, which is annoying when you run out of ammo in the middle of a fire fight and have to start slitting throats with your knife. Otherwise, Bad Company is a thoroughly enjoyable bomb fest, and its online multiplayer capacity will let you keep destroying stuff long after the retiring sergeant has been killed (as he surely must), you've killed the Legionnaire, carved a swathe of destruction across the Soviet Bloc, found the gold and retired happily to Spain.