I love/hate this game... BFBC2 in a nutshell
by, 06-14-2010 at 11:34 AM (2209 Views)
I've played Battlefield: Bad Company 2 for a few months now, and played the beta a bit before the game went live. Along with many other TG members, I've racked up quite a bit of time in this game. In some ways the game is very good, and in some ways, the game is very bad. But I can quantify that statement by allowing that the game is primarily "bad" in that it does not meet my expectations for what a next-generation Battlefield game, post-2142, post-POE, should have been.
Sure, the gameplay environment is there, comparable to and in many ways exceeding that provided by the latest excellent Call of Duty titles, Modern Warfare 1 and 2, and to a certain extent, World at War. (Aside: I think WaW, which many people panned as a step backwards from MW1, actually is an excellent implementation of the MW1-like engine, just with a very WWII feel, for visuals, sounds, etc.)
This really isn't a review of BFBC2, and I don't intend it to be a rant - although at times I may veer toward ranting. I'd like to review some of the areas where BFBC2 falls flat, in terms of a next-generation BF-style game, and it's in some of these areas that has caused some of the biggest issues with the game, in terms of how it's played, enjoyed (or not) and admin'd (yes, that's a word, for me) here at TG.
Frostbite. Man It's HOT in Here
The new gameplay engine, is, in a word, amazing. Buildings that can be destroyed, cover that can be either whittled or blown away, depending on the weapon used, to get at and kill the opposing team. It's very cool, but also very resource intensive.
Not that resource intensive is a bad thing, but before I upgraded my system a few weeks back, my old Thinkpad laptop, even with its Core 2 Duo processor, nVidia graphics, and 4GB RAM, would routinely get extremely HOT, I think due to the processing requirements of the game. It would get HOT, then I would start to lag horribly.
Perhaps not the game's fault, but this was rectified by my recent upgrade to a new Quad Core desktop, with nVidia graphics, but nowhere near the latest from them - my performance woes of old are no more.
Frostbite is pretty cool, even if all the destructible building do degenerate/collapse the SAME way on each map. I realize that limiting the type, size and shape of destructible buildings is needed, from a dev standpoint, but the richness of building types available in MW2 especially (think Favela) is amazing. A shame there couldn't be more architectural richness here (even different stair placement would ease the boredom a bit) in BC2.
In a Nutshell
I had not intended the title of this post "in a nutshell" to be a pun, but sometimes it feels that you are playing in a nutshell on many of the Conquest maps in BFBC2. They are small. Really, really small.
Whereas in past Battlefield games, you had to take a buggy, Humvee, tank, or chopper, to really travel around some of the maps, that is not the case in BC2. While the graphics by today's standards weren't all that great, there was a richness and depth to the maps, in BF2 and its two primary mods (at least the ones I played) - Point of Existence (POE), which I played a lot, and Project Reality (PR), which I played a little bit, and my son played a lot. You had to travel to get around a map, even an infantry map like Karkand, to get from one flag to another.
In the BFBC2 nutshell, on the Conquest maps at least, the flags are right on top of one another. Instead of having to travel to get to the next point, you just go over a building or two, and you are there! While this can make for some interesting building-to-building fighting (at least on hardcore), this aspect of the game is diminished I think by the availability and use of Gustav's, C4, and even mortar strikes as easy ways to hit enemies who are holed up in a building.
While Rush mode has its own drawbacks (which I won't catalog here), at least there is some distance involved in getting from one set of objectives to another. The BFBC2 Conquest mode is severely limited by the size of these maps, almost so much that I can't stand to play them anymore.
I wish they were bigger, simple as that. Would make the Conquest mode much more fun. I'm surprised that some of the flag radii don't overlap, on some of the maps.
Weapons Use, or Embracing My Inner 70th
When I think Battlefield, I think either Assault guns, like the M16, M4, and AN-94 (and many others), the Medic's LMGs, the Engineer's "pea shooters" - I find them very weak, and they sound like a hyped up BB gun to me - the Recon's high-powered rifles, and sometimes, the shotgun, available now in all classes.
I prefer to use the Assault or Medic kits, and I would like to use the typical guns associated with those classes. But unless you're playing Hardcore - and it seems even in HC that some of these guns have been nerfed in recent updates - it takes a LOT to bring someone down. Maybe it's just my sub-par aiming or situational awareness, but it shouldn't take 3-4 bursts from an AN-94 or M16 to bring someone down, either at a distance, or in close quarters. Even the high-powered Recon rifles take 2, sometimes 3, shots to bring someone down. I rarely get headshots, so I don't know if this is the same for those who are crack shots.
With the apparent weakness of some of the more "mainstream" guns, and with the shotguns being availabe in ALL classes, which I don't think was always the case. You can run Assault (and supply ammo) or go Medic (and supply health, as well as revives) and still run with a very quick-fire shottie like the SAIGA or that BS7000 gun (weapon names are not my forte). It seems, perhaps with the small map sizes (see above) that the shottie is the weapon of choice, as fighting is almost always going to be in close quarters in this game.
That's why, in recent days, I've taken to embracing my inner 70th, so to speak, and emulated the kit load-outs of our 70th Trailblazers IHS. Assault with shottie and C4, Medic with shottie, Engie with shottie, or Recon with shottie and C4. Not to lump all the 70th in this boat, but it seems you guys (M/F included) were maybe the first among us to realize that the "typical" BF-style guns are weak in this game, and that the shottie's are the way to go, as we're almost always going to be on top of one another in this game.
I don't know how many times I've been close to an opposing player, and unloaded a good bit of a AN-94 clip, or even an M60 clip, into someone, only to be blown away by the opposing player's shottie. Even from a distance, this has happened to me numerous times. So I've decided to run with what seems to be best kit of choice, and for me at least, I'm doing better in recent rounds than before.
I haven't even mentioned the lack of in-game VOIP, as getting into that for me would be a huge rant. Doesn't it seem that in the current state of this release, after Beta, after how many months of release, that VOIP would be functional? I think we've overcome the lack of it pretty well, with TS participation, but it's still not the same. And with the maps so small, maybe it doesn't matter, given that all squads are usually pretty close to one another, and most of the time you can tell what the general objective and needs are for your team.
I know that many of BFBC2's limitations are due to the fact that EA now worships primarily at the XBOX altar. Developing primarily for one (or a general console platform) then porting it might make sense from a business, or software development standpoint, but it's sad to compare teamwork, map sizes, and such of BFBC2 to older titles like BF2, 2142, and especially POE or PR.
I would love to see a BF3 that carried on some of the best parts of those older games and mods, to the Frostbite engine, but I doubt that I'll see it. Or if I do see it, VOIP still won't work.
I didn't really list much that I love in BFBC2, but it's there. Not so much in the game, but I am hoping for some extended map packs, as I would rather that BC2 not fall into the same rut as 2142 did, at least for me. Same old maps, over and over again. I love the fact that so many TG are playing it actively, and many in my own squad have reconnected playing it. I see a lot of names I recognize from old POE days as well. I hadn't yet found TG back in the BF2 days, but I wish I had.
Have a good day all.