Gripe: Battlefield Bad Company 2Featured, Games — By Mike Ruest on February 2, 2010 at 3:20 pm
Multiplayer Demo Impressions
If you’re a shooter fan like me, perhaps you have downloaded and played the multiplayer demo for Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Having owned and played many other Battlefield games, I was really looking forward to playing Bad Company 2 as an alternative to the vehicle-less Modern Warfare 2. As a sequel, Bad Company 2 differs in the single player campaign in that, instead of going after gold, the boys of bad company are after some new weapon that threatens national security. This then filters down into the multiplayer game, were as instead of the game mode called “Gold Rush” – you now just have “Rush” or “Squad Rush,” which is essentially the same attack or defend type play over crates. However, multiplayer will now feature the inclusion of experience points that can then be used towards class and weapon customization. A move that seems ripped right out of Modern Warfare 2’s playbook, though DICE did something like this in Battlefield 2 and Battlefield 2142. A renewed focus on experience points and customization is not surprising. Especially given the fact that EA has been very vocal about Bad Company 2 being the game that takes down Modern Warfare 2 as the king of military first person shooters.
In many ways, I think that was EA’s point in releasing the downloadable Battlefield 1943 prior to Modern Warfare 2’s release in November of 2009. Because it showed the world that Battlefield’s multiplayer experience is not only good and accessible, but it is also extremely fun to play. In fact, I am still hoping DICE will put out some new maps for Battlefield 1943. I’ll be the first in line to pay for that downloadable content on Xbox Live. So, I believe Battlefield 1943 was EA’s sign that better things are yet to come with Bad Company 2.
However, that has not been my experience so far. Having played both the multiplayer beta on the PS3 and now the multiplayer demo on the Xbox 360, I am seriously worried that Bad Company 2 will not even get close to the amazing multiplayer experience of Modern Warfare 2. Why, because the multiplayer demo totally sucked? No, not really. It’s just that the demo highlighted so many technical and gameplay issues that must be fixed before its March 2nd release. Personally, knowing EA’s track record, I don’t think they will address all of these issues and just rushed the game out like they did with Mercenaries 2. EA is famous for hyping a game with cutscenes and screenshots of polished graphics and then failing to deliver the goods when the game is finally released. Okay, I need to move on. It’s obvious I have a huge beef with EA and it’s starting to show – more on EA in a latter post (maybe).
So what are my concerns with Bad Company 2? Well, let me start with my first gripe – lag. Though I never experience lag playing the beta on Sony’s PSN, I constantly experienced it with the Xbox Live demo. I can’t tell how frustrating it is to be running only to be moved back and forth in the game like some Devo song – “You got me jerking back and forth…”
Along with the lagging is the apparent frame rate issue in the game. Unlike Infinity Ward’s standard of 60 frames per second (FPS) in Modern Warfare 2, DICE’s standard with Bad Company 2 seems more like an inconsistent 30 FPS. This has all sorts of affects on Bad Company 2’s gameplay, as you would imagine, especially in targeting your opponents.
Speaking of targeting, Bad Company 2 also lacks any real feedback to let you know you’re hitting your opponents. I know, I know, you get that little “X” thing that appears over your targeting reticule, but this is not enough in my opinion. I much prefer how Modern Warfare 2 utilizes the controller’s force feedback system in producing small vibrations in combination with a sound effect to let you know when you’re hitting your enemies. Add this lack of feedback to the already frame rate and lagging issues, and you never really feel like you’re accurately shooting your targets.
On top of this feedback issue, the controls feel sluggish and not as responsive as Modern Warfare 2 or Battlefield 1943 for that matter. Turning left and right and looking up and down just doesn’t feel right. And game developers by now should know they must strive to make a game’s control feel as a natural part of a person’s hand to where players forget they’re holding a controller. Bad Company 2’s demo failed at doing this.
In terms of gameplay, the tanks in the demo (like Battlefield 1943) seem underpowered in terms of driving. Players trying to drive over simple obstacles or move uphill are met with the sudden realization that their tank doesn’t have enough get-up and go as their real life counterparts. Assault rifles also feel extremely underpowered. In addition, some weapon sights seem too small or too thin.
Bottom-line: Though I am really looking forward to the final version of Bad Company 2, I am extremely worried that the game will not live up to its potential. While there were some fun moments to be had like driving ATVs, I didn’t have half as fun as I did when playing Battlefield 1943. In addition, the game sessions are not only frustrating at times (with the above mentioned issues), but they also seem too long and drawn-out. Maybe this has to do with the fact that the maps are huge! One thing is for sure – teamwork is essential in Bad Company 2. In my experience with the multiplayer demo, the teams that worked together not only won – they dominated. In the end though, I am okay with getting beat by other players in the game, I just hope I don’t get beat by the game itself with its many issues come March 2010.
PS. Why does every Battlefield game featuring flying vehicles have to be so freaking hard to control?