GAMES ROUNDUP

Games Roundup
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GAMES ROUNDUP



Written by Chris Price
12 Monday 12th July 2010

 

I’ve got a new vice. It’s not marijuana, but its just as mentally stifling. It’s not crack cocaine, but it is cheap and just as habit forming. It’s not compulsive masturbation, but it is just as detrimental to the eyesight.
 
Its dealer goes under the name of Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and its name is Rush. Or more accurately, the ‘Rush multiplayer mode available with the game.
 
After all the chest-beating done by Modern Warfare producer Activision’s CEO Bobby Kotick, consumers were looking for an underdog title to erase the smug grin from his perma-tanned chops. Up steps gaming giant Electronic Arts– or in this case lets refer to them as ‘the lesser of two evils’. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 was the attempt by developers Dice (the studio that brought the world the rather glacial first person free-runner Mirrors Edge) to topple the FPS juggernaut that is Modern Warfare. And it really delivers the goods. A much more narrative based adventure, with a massive array of offensive weaponry, excellent scenarios and a genuinely engaging cast of black ops misfits. So a good few evenings polished off the single player game. I’d achieved some gamer points for my Xbox Live account, I had unlocked a few Easter egg bonuses for a subsequent ‘Hardcore’ level play-through. Lets have a crack at the multiplayer missions, eh?
 
Now, like all good vices, initially it was unpleasant, and I needed to be coerced into it by a willing partner. Initially I got burned. But persistence, diligence and the need to deliver furious retribution on my assailants. As with most games these days, you’re not really given instructions. I mean you are, but who’s got time to read a 20-page pamphlet? I’ve got to keep the spine on that cheery little leaflet completely untouched, in case I need to assure the good past-prime Amazon.co.uk purchasers that my copy of the game is indeed Brand New but no longer factory sealed’. My copy of Bad Company 2 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon though, because I don’t think I have indulged in such an addictive piece of time-wasting since discovering Lumines on the PSP while working at Gamestation, and nearly being sacked because of my illicit stockroom love affair with it.
 

 

 

The Rush premise is very simple. A series of smallish map, each divided into sectors. One team of faceless internet gamers are charged with defending two explosive charges, A and B. Another group of faceless joypad jockeys have to attack said positions, disarm the explosive charges. One team prevails (either killing a set number of opponents, or successfully disarming both bombs before that happens), and then everybody swaps around.
 
On paper very simple, and very old hat. A variation of the traditional ‘capture-the-flag’ multiplayer modes of the Quake’s and Unreal’s of yore. Except for a few amendments that have turned this into the very bane of my existence. Hours, days and weeks have been lost in this game. Not since my early teens have I been so captivated.
 
One is mobile spawning – each member of your team, while still alive acts as a respawn point for a dispatched comrade. So in death, you can be dropped straight back into the action, even being used tactically to revive soldiers at key battle positions. The next is the semi-open world nature of the actual game itself, and its utilisation of vehicles. Just like Halo 3, and far more effectively than in Modern Warfare, tanks, quads, helicopters, jet-skis and HV’s can be boarded by multiple players, manning a variation of on-board weapons, or just hitching a ride from A to B.
 
Heavy weapons can also be utilised to destroy buildings harbouring unsuspected opponents. The final is the five varying classes of soldiers, each with a similar weapon-set, but crucial extra gimmicks to reward effective team play with extra abilities. For example, constantly repairing damaged vehicles as an engineer benefits you with the ability to mark enemies on the on-screen maps of your teammates, or utilise anti-tank mines
 
The swapping of this means that once the round is complete, all the techniques used against you can be flipped around. Heavy machinegun placements that have been so successful in halting your advances now become key targets. Snipers can ‘camp’ out at key positions for only so long until they become ideal locations for flanking and delivering a melee knife kill (which will deliver a bloodied dog-tag of the vanquished to your trophy cabinet).
 

 

 
And this doesn’t even scratch the surface for the multiple possibilities. The attacking team have the ability to destroy some buildings in an effort to take them down. How better than piloting a kamikaze helicopter directly into the building? Use your tanks heavy artillery from a distance, utilising infantry as spotters and targeting via your map. A pesky soldier hiding in a watchtower? Utilise a mortar from your start position to blow the thing to pieces. Each situation will have a number of ways you can approach it, and this is a testament to quality of production inherent throughout the game.
 
I can in no-way say that this game even close to the real life intensity of war, but having spent five years in the cadets employing techniques such as ‘not breaking the tree line with your silhouette’ have actually become useful techniques I’ve employed during the gameplay. The breathless excitement of each death and subsequent resurrection offers a whole series of options to advance. And this ebb and flow of a constantly evolving rush and attack method changes as you become more familiar with each weapon, and more attuned to each terrain. Team tactics become almost intuitive, as the most rewards and upgrades to your game account come from aiding and abetting the achievement of the common goal.
 
I mean, I can’t sleep properly. I’m dreaming of deployment tactics, and desert assaults on a ghostly tanker. Skulking through jungle undergrowth, picking off flailing soldiers trying to defuse an explosive freshly primed by a slotted comrade. Skipping around behind a meraudering tank, deploying several C4 charges before remotely detonating from a distance taking out a whole unit of soldiers. An hour or two per round? This game is a time vacuum.
 
So, in conclusion? Be very wary of Bad Company 2.
 
Battlefield : Bad Company 2 is available for the PS3 and the Xbox 360 everywhere, for about £30.
 
Maybe the Daily Mail does have a point?

 

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