I Take it Back: BF:BC is FUN
A few months ago, I posted a negative review of Battlefield: Bad Company. I had only played through the first part of the game, and obviously judged it before I had a good idea what it was about. I complained about unsatisfying headshots, an obnoxiously stupid squad, an unrealistic enemy, and how getting kills isn’t even fun.
The headshots still don’t take heads clean off, the squad is as stupid as ever, and the enemy is still unrealistic. So why am I writing this post? It’s more a realization I made as I played along (I picked the game back up over the weekend, again sick of Call of Duty 4). This game isn’t about any specific war. It doesn’t care what flag you fly or what your morals are, this game for lack of a better phrase, is war. This game is about the combined efforts of a team to complete objectives and eliminate enemies.
How did I come to this realization? I played online. I lied before when I said there is nothing more satisfying than a headshot. What is: Getting a headshot and getting extra XP for it. Like Call of Duty 4 and many other shooters these days, Battlefield: Bad Company uses an XP system. You level up through ranks (Master Sergeant, etc.), each level requires more XP than the last, and with each new level you get an unlock point. These points can be used to unlock the heart and soul of this game: special weapons.
Every FPS, by definition, gives you a gun and an enemy. What makes BF:BC amazing, is that if gives you much, much more than a gun. A friend stopping into my room last night as I played an online match and toggled through my inventory noticed this as well. “Wow, you’ve got a lot of shit.” Yep. It’s true. At the moment, I had a Light Machine Gun, a medkit (which can be dropped on the ground and will be used by the first friendly to run over it), a few hand grenades, and a mortar targeting unit. Yes, I said that. These things are cool. You aim at something (it can be anything from a person to a mounted weapon to an open field), hold the trigger, and watch the show. Mortars fall from the sky, making the player feel an exhilarating rush of power. Every computer nerd fantasizes (and the lucky ones actually get this to happen) about hitting the Enter key and seeing a change in the real world. This is the ultimate realization of that fantasy in video-game form.
The game is filled with things like this. You can take over an artillery gun and rain death upon your foes from afar. Sniping, though not as realistic as in Call of Duty 4, is almost as fun. Since there’s no wibble-wobble because of character breathing, you can get a headshot from as far away as you can see. The challenge here is not overcoming the breathing obstacle, but the time obstacle. Bullets have a travel time, so you can’t shoot at where the enemy is at the moment, you have to shoot where they’ll be the moment the bullet gets there.
Basically, I was right and I was wrong. Battlefield: Bad Company is about you and your ridiculous squad fighting random mercs in a country that really doesn’t matter for the purposes of the game. It is also about kicking ass in as many ways as you want to. It emphasizes resourcefulness and the more indirect methods of getting kills (anti-tank mine anyone?).
I’m off to launch artillery, target mortar strikes, and shoot people from a mile away. You’ll hear from me soon; Killzone 2 is coming.