What We Know: DICE's Battlefield: Bad Company was a hit when it came out in summer 2008. It offered up a console-centric bent on the popular PC series. Naturally, it performed well enough to warrant a sequel. EA first showed off Battlefield: Bad Company 2 at a media event during GDC this past March and demonstrated the advancements that the team has devised since the first game's bow.
DICE's console shooter sequel aspires to be more than "Battlefield: Bad Company 1.5." It's got a heavier emphasis on multiplayer than past efforts. The Feed's Andrew Pfister checked it out at GamesCom, and his report was that the war between EA's franchises and Activision's should heat up even more as DICE appears to be building up its shooter sequel to compete with Infinity Ward's upcoming juggernaut, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. In the past, the Swedish developer also mentioned that the new game will feature a new rendition of its Frostbite engine, which the team uses to enhance environmental destructibility. They claim that you'll be able to completely obliterate buildings into rubble. Other bold boasts overheard today included calling it "the ultimate all-out-war experience," and "the best multiplayer shooter you'll play in 2010."
What's New at TGS: Today was a big reveal for EA release dates, and DICE officially updated the day you'll have Bad Company 2 in your hands. It looks like the team is hedging its bets that you'll be wrapping up your time with this year's holiday shooters in time for its March 5th ship date. I saw a great new trailer that shows off both the level of detail, the high amount of destructibility, and the amount of effort that DICE is investing in its online multiplayer this time around.
Aside from multiplayer, it's the small things that make Bad Company shine. I loved the tech behind the first game (even if I never finished it), and the idea that barriers couldn't protect enemies from the reach of your weapons; after all, the destruction tech allowed you to (literally) break the walls dividing you from them. And I like DICE's subtle elements here, such as the impact that enemy bullets have on your windshield. As I waited to play, I watched someone else attempt to run over a few enemy soldiers in an ATV, one player pumped several rounds into the window of the vehicle and killed him. It was a strangely awe-inspiring moment, yet I was awfully glad I wasn't the one displaying tech prowess via multiplayer victimhood.
After a few more minutes, I tried out BC2's new multiplayer desert map for a round of Capture the Flag (or whatever fancy name DICE coined that no one told me when I picked up the controller). I started off as assault class, which provided me with some nasty weapons designed to make a big impact. Of course, the elements that give BC its unique edge -- vehicles, and oodles of them -- are in tow. On several occasions, I commandeered ATVs to speed across the map to a capture point, then hop off to send it hurtling at an opposing gunner. At other points, I spawned in some not-so-strategic places with no vehicles. Despite the fact that it's not fun to waste a few minutes of play time running around in search of a battle, I stumbled into some areas of the map that feel well-tailored to specific classes, like some strategically placed buildings that provide both bottlenecks for fights and good vantage points for snipers.
What I Want to See: More of the game in action. I expect a multiplayer beta; after all, the first game had one. But since I'm not heavily into multiplayer shooters anymore -- when you write about games, you usually don't have much time to get good at one particular game -- I'm very interested in single-player and how DICE plans to invest its strengths. Will it provide a serviceable single-player experience, or treat it like a ten-hour training mode for multiplayer? It's my second time seeing Battlefield: Bad Company 2 in action, and the locales I've seen couldn't have been more different (wintry tundra and arid desert), but I'm curious about the game's stages and what it'll offer for single-player. Otherwise, I think that so far, DICE is concocting a game that should deliver the goods for shooter fans looking for something after hitting Prestige.