The single player campaign is about 8 hours from start to finish depending on your pacing, which you can really take your time if you want to since the next sequence of enemies doesn’t begin until you move to the designated spot marked by an orange diamond. Letting you know where the next area begins is nice because it gives you time to either find the collectible weapons or destroy M-COMs scattered throughout each level. The collectible weapons are fun because it adds a search for different weapons and once you find one you can get it again each time you stop at a weapons supply crate. While most of the game strives for realism I found the weapons crate feature to be out of place. I doubt that the real U.S. Government would drop a specific crate for a specific groups of guys halfway between them and a large number of insurgents with no guarantee that the very same weapons wouldn’t be used against them. Of course I doubt they would let four of their soldiers wander about unaccounted for either.
Plot holes aside, the story is fairly cheesy but most FPS stories are and rather than take itself seriously it seems content to make jokes throughout as well as take potshots at Modern Warfare 2 (comments about snowmobiles and heartbeat sensors) which was cute at first but by the fourth time I was thinking, “All right we get it, you are supposed to be direct competition.” Which to pretend that they aren’t trying to be the franchise opposite Modern Warfare 2 would be delusional. DICE’s recent marketing campaigns of anti-mapathy and the like makes it pretty obvious. One of the things I loved about this game was the ability to utterly destroy everything (93% of the environment). Every house, shack, tree, fence, guard rail, tower, and person in it is capable of crumbling to nothing. I found myself often times wasting ammo destroying buildings and water towers which can be a fun distraction from your objectives.
The graphics are outstanding. The jungles are beautiful and the desert feels barren and hot. DICE did a great job on each level paying attention to detail and making sure you feel as though you are in that environment. The characters in the game are real enough to make me feel like I am looking at humans but not crazy enough to dip into the uncanny valley. During several sections of the game the environment plays against you which is quite realistic. In the desert you have wind blowing sand in your face, the jungle mist blocks your vision and the arctic scenes feel cold, combine that with debris flying everywhere and it sets up some memorable firefights. I have heard about some problems of screen tearing on the Xbox and PS3 versions but having played this on PC I can say that I was able to maintain a good frame rate on high graphic settings at 1920 x 1080 and my machine isn’t crazy high-end so the average user should be able to handle Bad Company 2.
The artificial intelligence of enemies is impressive. I would duck behind cover to find an enemy hitting it with heavy artillery and forcing me to move. I wish I could say the same for my teammates AI. I think in total I saw them kill maybe four people in the entire game, they were pretty much as useless as you can get. I found a lot of the vehicles and sequences in the vehicles to be gimmicky and forced in just to have them in the game. I enjoyed firing from the helicopter but driving a jeep and firing the grenade launcher at the same time is a little ridiculous. I prefer the option of driving or firing as is implemented in many other games for a good reason.
The sound in this game is superb I would actually say that this is where Bad Company 2 becomes amazing. Every gunshot and explosion is magnificent. DICE expertly crafted their sound to be as realistic as possible. In one particular instance there is a sniper that is firing on your squad and you hear the shot like a thunder clap in the distance and then the accompanying ricochet. Playing this game using the “War Tapes” setting is what I recommend. My sub-woofer was echoing throughout my house with each earth shattering boom. The voice acting was good and I didn’t hope for any of the characters to die to avoid hearing them talk. The music was well placed non-distracting and appropriate. All-in-all superb job on sound in this game.
When you combine the decent story, great graphics and superb sound you get some fantastic battles and you truly feel like you are experiencing what its like to be in a firefight. Which is what I think DICE was striving for in this game. I don’t think you will be telling your buddies what the “Aurora” mission was or why we should still be worrying about Russians, but you will be telling them how awesome it is to shoot a guy in the head with a grenade launcher. At Gamestop, Steam or whatever retail outlet you prefer for $49.99 (as of 3/28/10) I recommend Bad Company 2.
*Overall not an average