There’s a touch of controversy surrounding “Onslaught Mode,” Battlefield: Bad Company 2’s DLC, that needs to be cleared up. Yes, the download is a mere 956 KB. No, you’re not paying to unlock disc-based content. It’s part of the Multiplayer Update #2 patch that you’ll be automatically prompted to download when you start up the game. Is it odd that, should you never buy “Onslaught Mode,” the content will still eat up precious space on your harddrive? Yes. Now, if you weren’t someone angrily posting on a forum, sorry for the PSA. Keep reading to learn more about the mode in action.
“Onslaught” is a 1-4 player co-operative mode that plays like a hybrid of “Rush” and “Conquest” with players securing flags as copious amounts of AI enemies defend the area. After a point is taken, your team progresses to the next one, and so on, until all enemy bases have been captured. You’ll fail the mode if all teammates are killed but as long as one is still alive, you can keep spawning (after a short delay) onto your squad.
If you’re the solo’ing type, you’ll quickly notice that the suggested “1-4 players” is a bit of a stretch. You can play alone, but since there’s no difficulty scaling, it’s an exercise in frustration and futility. Since each map employs a variety of vehicles and infinitely respawning (though not brilliant) AI, it’s tough to be classed appropriately for each encounter with just one, or even two players. The only concession the game makes for single players is to allow infinite respawns rather than ending the game, but that doesn’t make it any more fun. In short, “1-4 players” really means four people utilizing every available class, especially if you’re playing in the brutal hardcore mode.
The maps should all be familiar from standard multiplayer, save some changes to the lighting in each level. Valparaiso, Atacama Desert, Isla Inocentes and Nelson Bay are all supported in “Onslaught” mode. It’s a nice touch that the time of day has been altered for each one, but it’s purely an aesthetic change. The most noticeable addition in “Onslaught” is the Mark V Patrol boat that sends flurries of missiles at you, but it’s not actually playable for anyone but the AI.
Following some miserable attempts at solo play or online with one other person, I found that playing with a balanced and capable group of four players can be really fun. There’s a pronounced tactical element to progressing through the maps and you can keep ramping up the difficulty up for a decent challenge. Hardcode difficulty isn’t impossible, but often feels like it, thanks to the constant spawning or air-dropping of enemies. The reward for success is getting your clear time on the leaderboards or a trophy/achievement. Boosters: be warned that none of your kills count towards leveling up your classes although you can use anything you’ve already unlocked from multiplayer.
So, is it worth your money? The mode is exactly how I’ve described it, nothing more, nothing less. It transposes your squad-driven multiplayer experience into a squad-driven AI experience, so basically, it’s like multiplayer without the longevity, or bootcamp for those who want to practice flying a helicopter without being the laughing stock of their teammates.
I’d recommend it to dedicated players who’ve maxed out their multiplayer goals and are looking for something extra to do. For everyone else, it depends how much you want to play multiplayer with bots subbing in for people and no XP. Personally, I prefer the variety of playing human opponents and also, it’s harder to make a bot feel bad for losing. Had “Onslaught” been included in the retail game as a practice/challenge mode, I would have embraced it warmly. As a paid DLC addition, not so much. I’ll go back to playing hardcore “Rush.”