Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Singleplayer Hands-On PreviewBy Andrew Pfister - Posted Jan 25, 2010
We’re watching a high-speed jeep pursuit unfold well above the snow line. It’s a frantic escape at the almost-successful conclusion of a high-risk mission in the enemy hive -- and now the swarm is pissed. Bullets rip through the thin air and powder flies from underneath spinning tires as the vehicles careen past rock outcrops and manage hair-pin cliffside turns. We’re watching a demo of Battlefield: Bad Company 2’s singleplayer mode, and can’t help but feel the deja vu that I recently escaped a similar frosty environment on a snowmobile.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Singleplayer Trailer
The guy playing survived the chase and concluded his run through the two showcased demo levels, and we were left to tease the EA PR representative about shooter similarities and funny coincidences. Laughs were had, but he then quickly reminded us that they showed alpine action in their first multiplayer trailer, before E3 and Modern Warfare 2’s snowmobile chase debut. It was all in good fun (and he was totally right), but it’s also indicative of a brewing rivalry between Call of Duty and Battlefield that started back in the fall when Infinity Ward dropped PC dedicated server support and DICE picked up some free goodwill by reiterating that Bad Co. 2 would keep the beloved -- if admittedly hardcore -- feature.
After getting my turn to play through the jungle and the mountains, I’m convinced this is a rivalry that we need to nurture further. Infinity Ward’s reputation for grand singleplayer action setpieces has been well-earned and Call of Duty is a seemingly unstoppable multiplayer juggernaut. Battlefield, on the other hand, was born and raised on multiplayer, and now it looks like the singleplayer’s getting an equal amount of bombastic love.
First, the jungle. My Bad Company mates and I are tracking our target, but first we need to get through a village complex held and fortified by the enemy. A machine gun nest is pinning down the squad at the entrance to the village’s main thoroughfare, but there’s a way around and a flanking opportunity -- and I’m the “volunteer” chosen to eliminate the threat. The machine gunner keeps the squad at bay, but his support team quickly gets wise to our flank-and-shank plan and opens fire. This is where the upgraded Frostbite engine kicks in. Taking cover in a wooden-walled shack quickly turns from “good idea” into “terrible, terrible idea.” My A.I. partner and I regroup, find some more reliable cover, and clean out the enemy mercs, culminating in a well-placed grenade toss at the MG operator’s feet. Problem solved.
Then a tank shows up. Problem renewed. Fortunately, there’s a rocket launcher placed conveniently nearby which turns the tide in our favor once and for all. We pick up our target’s trail once more and find him holding one of our teammates as a hostage. The game automatically switches me to my pistol, and after squeezing off a few, uh…practice rounds that narrowly miss, I hit my headshot and the scene resolves semi-peacefully with the Bad Company back at full strength.
Then it’s off to the Andes (the game takes place on the western coasts of North and South America). As we swoop in on the chopper, I’m in a turret and making sure that anyone in the vicinity of our landing zone holding what might be a rocket launcher receives the business end of my minigun. We get dropped off at a satellite subcontrol station. Our task: break in and obtain vital intel, but not before eliminating the enemy presence. The sniper rifle I pick up at the watchtower overlooking the compound should come in handy for that. We break in, get what we need and are ready to leave when we’re informed over the radio that our heli pilot is battling some nasty wind shear coming off the peaks. Time to find a better extraction point. There’s always something wrong with the extraction, isn’t there?
And to get to the new LZ, I get my turn at the jeep ride through the snow. I’m in full control of the vehicle, which drives like how you’d expect a Battlefield jeep to feel. My buddy is in the back on the main turret. In addition to driving duties, I’m in charge of the front-mounted grenade launcher that helps clear out enemy jeeps and obstacles on the road. It’s definitely a thrill ride, even if every single vehicle on the screen is kicking up snow in my view and slowing me down (at least it looks pretty cool). I survive all the way to the LZ with my jeep about to explode and watch the ensuing cut-scene where…
I’ll leave that for you to watch. Like I said before, having Infinity Ward and DICE try to out-explode each other is something we really need to encourage. It’s a safe assumption that Bad Company 2’s multiplayer is going to be pretty good, but we’d be wise not to sleep on the single-player story.