Battlefield Bad Company Demo Review

7 min read
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By doobiwan

Battlefield: Bad Company arrives

Call of Duty 4 got lucky. I mean it no disrespect, it’s a good game, but it was a case of right game right time. Riding on the first big next gen Xmas wave, after somewhat disappointing Halo 3 and Team Fortress 2, CoD4 hit the shooter button on the nose with its tight gameplay, good looks and excellent multiplayer. But for a veteran of the battlefield franchise CoD4 was nothing new. It took everything that was good about the Battlefield 2 infantry experience and distilled it into an intense easily consumed cocktail. Well, CoD4, thanks for the thrills, but daddies coming home and it’s time to get out of his chair. For those console gamers who may have overlooked the franchise in the past (with fair enough reason), this is not that battlefield. Bad Company stands proudly next to the PC Battlefields, which after 2 years are still the second most popular online PC shooter franchise after Counterstrike.
 
So the first thing someone usually asks is “what’s the difference between CoD4 and Battlefield? They look the same.” The answer is “CoD4 is a First Person Shooter. Battlefield isn’t”.


Your going to need the radar

By DICE’s definition, Battlefield is a “Battlefield Sandbox” it’s not just about running and gunning. Vehicles, strategy and tactics are all as integral to the experience as controlled burst fire. These aren’t vehicles like Halo where they’re there effectively as short term power-ups that don’t really drive the game, the vehicles in Battlefield are game makers. Tanks, APC’s, anti aircraft guns, Hummers, dune buggies, artillery and choppers  all have specific roles to play in bringing about victory. The vehicles, along with the player kits, balance the game with rock-paper-scissors mechanics that see no two games ever playing the same. Is your infantry being harassed by too many snipers? Bring in the tanks or the artillery. Are your tanks struggling against a horde of demolition RPGs? Bring in the Assault or support guys to flush them out, and so on. Battlefield is a game of teamwork. A small well co-ordinated squad will dominate any number of the most skilled specialists. The thing that always attracted me to Battlefield is simply that you don’t get bored doing the same thing over and over.  You don’t feel like sneaking around with an assault rifle? Then go grab a jeep and play crazy taxi, carting your team mates around. Don’t feel like mowing through forests in a tank? Grab a jeep and go steal or sabotage your opponent’s vehicles. Every game presents new opportunities.
 
Battlefield: Bad Company Beta Reviewed

On the demo itself, first off it’s 1.5Gb, which is a bit of a commitment, especially on 384. The demo comes with one Multiplayer map “Oasis” the same one that was in the beta. Graphically I was surprisingly impressed with Bad Company. Considering the scale I was expecting something akin to Frontlines, but in many ways Bad Company equals and then surpasses Call of Duty 4. At first glance the terrain looks a match for CoD4, but the maps in comparison are huge. Consider on Oasis alone it’ll take about a minute to drive from one end to the other in a jeep. Then factor in all the vehicles, the character models and the amazing explosions. 
 
Oh the explosions. While some have been critical of the lack of absolute destructibility, make no mistake destructible terrain is a game changing feature. I don’t mean like Frontlines radio control toys, or Quake Wars deployables. Gone are the days of bunkering down in a wooden shack. Towns crumble, walls shatter and the debris flies everywhere, absolute chaos. It becomes increasingly difficult to hold the line when it keeps disintegrating right under your feet. It’s great. Add to that some amazing in game sound, and that little spine tingle as you feel a tank drive by the controller rumble, it’s an immersive experience bar none. If I was to niggle about anything, they’d be silly things like the character animations are a bit stiff and the spotting shouts can get a bit repetitive, but you really don’t notice them. The controls are also a little bit different to what we’ve become accustom to, especially for the vehicles, but I think it’s for the better, they’re a  great way of allowing you to drive, aim and shoot all at the same time without making everything fishtail like a warthog.
 
Oh and it’s got a single player bit, but this is battlefield, who cares!?  😉
 
I guess the two big questions for South Africans are “what’s the lag like?” and “will there be a local community?”  I’ll put it like this; I’m yet to play a South African hosted game. The netcode is excellent. Occasionally you get a laggy server, but of the dozen or so sessions I’ve played, only one was so bad I had to disconnect, one was a struggle with guys teleporting, but the rest, a good 8 or more sessions, the lag was barely perceivable, it’s an absolutely remarkable feat. By the looks of things, hits are resolved on the client, in other words “what you see is what you hit” which takes the frustration of having to lead your shots right out of the game. Based on my experience with the demo, Battlefield is the only game I would recommend as an international multiplayer shooter, surpassing even Halo. As for local hosting, I cannot confirm anything, but as I understand players will be able to host matches, but I don’t know if they will be ranked or not.
 
As for the question of local community, regardless of platform, Battlefield: Bad Company represents the best shooter to be released this year on any platform. There are no challengers to that claim until the end of the year when Resistance 2 and Gears 2 are released. So what do you want to play for the rest of the year?
 
Verdict: Why are you still reading this? You should be preordering and planning sick leave.
 
Footnote for collectors: If you get the demo and rank up to level 4 you get an unlock code for a weapon in the full game.
 
Footnote for PC Battlefield veterans
So if you know the way around the PC Battlefield, here’s a few things to note. Firstly BF:BC is only 24 player, but as anyone who’s played on a 64 versus a 32 before, size isn’t everything, the map is tight and well balanced. There is no “classic”/Conquest mode at the moment (no dashing around to cap the back flag) but it is going to be included at a later date via a patch. There are fewer kits, medic and support are now one kit. There is no “Commander”, instead, artillery is treated like a vehicle (with exposed driver in case the ‘tard keeps hitting his own team) There are also no jets which is either a positive or negative depending how good your flying skills were. With the smaller maps, the choppers provide enough air support while still being vulnerable enough to be balanced. Squads and Spawning have been improved, now you have two options, a base or “squad” not just the leader, in addition there is now a spawn cam which lets you see where you’re going to spawn so you can look out for those annoying campers! All in all I think it’s a case that BF:BC has been streamlined for console, without having been dumbed down.

Last Updated: June 11, 2008

  • PillsburyDeeBoy

    “Step aside COD4, daddy’s home”? Laughable. I have yet to play Bad Company, but I’m willing to put my ass on it by saying ‘there is no way in hell Battlefield will sweep COD4 aside like COD4 is a mere pretender to its thrown”. Quote me on that. Bad Company may be amazing, but even amazing has its limits, and COD4 was on the upper end of that scale.

    Oh, and I must finally concede, I have ZERO interest in Bad Company, but I have not dismissed it.

  • Janrik

    Pillsbury me matey, BF BC is totally awesome. I love Cod4 like I love my thumbs, but BF BC is in a class above that.
    I have never had thrills like this before in a game, and this is just the demo!

  • Syph1n

    Battlefield has been around how many years? 4/5 years? call of duty 4 what 8 months? Maybe not sweep it aside like a used toilet roll but it will sure as hell drop the traffic and in a year or two its’ likely only one will stand.

    I must agree with lazy here. While Cod 4 is amazing graphically and extremely fun, tactically and teamplay wise it has its limits. Basically insert sniper with green camo on grass to pick off people to keep team kills high and others march off in a v shape shooting everything coming there way.

    While i doubt i will get this as i prefer a single player experience over a multiplayer one (I know im living in stone age). I think from a community view this could quite easily take over as the multiplayer game of choice as all battlefields (maybe not 2142) have done before.

  • Syph1n

    Ok. im now rethinking my “im not getting this statement”.. Damn you people and your powers of pursuasion…

  • Frankly I don’t expect Bad Company to outsell CoD4, but I expect that when we look back a year from now, Bad Company will still be one of the most played games on Xbox Live, and CoD4 will be a memory.

    doobiwan’s last blog post..The Games that made the consoles

  • Syph1n

    It definately wont outsell call of duty 4 in the first 6 motnhs. But i think over time the amount of players will surpass Cod4.

  • kabraal

    “Battlefield has been around how many years? 4/5 years? call of duty 4 what 8 months?”

    Let me correct that for you. Battle Field BC has been around for 0 years now. COD4 has been around for 8 months. BF has been around for 4/5 years now. COD has been around for 4/5 years now.

    Anyhow, I’m getting this for sure.

    How about that gold edition? R90 more and you get 5 extra guns. I don’t get why they just made one edition with everything included. That’s EA for you.

  • Fox1

    BF may just be good until Brothers In Arms: Hell’s Highway comes out… thats if it ever comes out 🙄

  • Vg2

    No with the gold edition you get 5 extra guns unlocked when you start, rather than unlocking them later.

    Both games still have the same amount of guns 🙂

  • Syph1n

    Yes but none of the previous call of duty’s took off in the multiplayer circle like call of duty 4 did.

    Oh and i said battlefield. not battlefield bc. let me correct that for you

  • kabraal

    ahhhh ok… thanks

  • PillsburyDeeBoy

    Okay. We’ll see. I highly doubt COD4 will be a distant memory. Nobody believed Halo 3 would be eclipsed as most played multiplayer game considering that Halo 2 was still number 1 for several years – until Gears briefly usurped it – Yet COD4 did just that. It dethroned the mighty Halo 3 (I’m no fan of Halo’s multiplayer, but I’m talking from an objective popularity perspective here). So, who’s to say COD4 cannot slay another giant? Furthermore, if we’re talking PC, then maybe Bad Company can usurp COD4, but on console? I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • your comparing the battlefield franchise against COD4…. only COD4? what about COD (1,2,3)

    before I correct you as kabraal just did take a moment and think about your statement.

    in any case, there are certain games that catch gamers by storm, and if battlefield does do that then so be it. I’ll probably get it, but I doubt that COD4 will become a distant memory COD4 made such an impact on what War games should be, Battlefield are simply following the leaders. 😉

  • August… hopefully

  • David

    You are so wrong PillsburyDeeBoy so so wrong, if you don’t like BF:BC why did you bother to look at this fantastic review. BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY WILL WIN !!

  • David

    Vg2 Battlefield Bad company has 32 WEAPONS way more than COD 4 plus BF:BC has Vehicles

  • PillsburyDeeBoy

    I didn’t look at it – I read the first paragraph and then I skimmed through the rest. Furthermore, what am I wrong about? At no point did I say Battlefield would be a bad game. In fact, I clearly remember conceding that it may very well be an absolutely amazing game. What I did say – and this is relatively insignificant in the context of this review of a ‘demo’ – is that doobiwan’s claim that COD4 is going to whittle away once Battlefield is released is wrong. That is what I said. COD4 is STILL a very big deal. Battlefield, albeit revered on PC, has its work cut out if it is going to match COD4, let alone usurp that game.

  • Banana hammock

    I dumped COD4 for WarHawk, as fantastic as COD4 is i can’t live without the diversification that vehicles gives you. COD4 ends up being “run around and shoot people” No tanks, or Jeeps or turrets nothing!

    And the LAG is a joke. If WarHawk and Resistance can get it right then COD4 should have too. Looks like BF:BC is going to be my next must have game. After MGS4 THIS FRIDAY!!!!!

  • David

    YOU MOTHER F****r YoU GET SO DARN PISSED JUST BECAUSE I HATE MGS4 WAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU I BET YOUR NOT EVEN IN SCHOOL>>>> YA REMEmBER ME DAVID THE DUDE WITHA ATTITUDE. remember that post i put up about XBOX 360 WINS this TIME remember 😡 😡

  • David

    It will you don’t know wat your missing BF:BC will OUT sELL and you can tell me wrong until this doesn’t happen.

  • David

    I never said you said it was a bad game I understand wat you mean..

  • David

    YA we Are ❗

  • Syph1n

    What? i feel dumber just for reading that. And no im not in school. im 25. Not all of us got held back five times in the first grade

  • David

    SO WHAT ALL BATTLEFIELD GAME TOOK OFF..

  • David

    Just don’t get pissed off because i said that

  • Syph1n

    Im not quite sure even you know what you are saying

  • David

    Ya I bet you were and thats wat yo mama said

  • David

    Thats because you can’t read I said I BF:BC doesn’t out sell COD4 then you can tell me that Im wrong

  • David

    All BATTLEFIELD GAMES NOT GAME SORRY

  • David

    Ya AND im 14 and I still know how to pick a fight with a 25 year old

  • David

    I just change the I to IF

  • LazySAGamer

    Honestly 14 year olds shouldn’t be using language like that, it doesn’t make you cool by any stretch of the imagination..

    now can we stop the really childish argument before I just delete all the comments?

  • David

    Lazygamer IM 18 IF do didn’t know….

  • David

    leave the argument to us and let us and I will end it.

  • LazySAGamer

    It wasn’t a request… stop now.

  • David

    Sorry for the trouble LazySAGamer.

  • David

    It has already stop we have come to an agreement

  • David

    Im just a little stressed because I am in the middle of Exams

  • Sorry Pillsbury, but besides the fact that you’re criticizing an article without actually reading it, you’re also pronouncing judgement on a game you have never laid your eyes on before, nice. (btw, that’s sarcasm for those folks that seem to miss it)

    If you go by the 360 forum, any forum for that matter, any and all persons, CoD4 die hards included, who are playing the demo agree with my sentiments.

    CoD4 is “just another CoD” although a very good one, based in a modern military setting (A very popular theatre), which has been without peer since Xmas, Bad company is the first game to challenge that in nearly 6 months. In addition you have CoD5 coming out later this year. In a years time the “Modern Combat” players will be on Battlefield, the “CoD” fans will be playing CoD5.

    Please go play it before you start slagging it.

    doobiwan’s last blog post..The Games that made the consoles

  • kab123

    Hopefully the single player will match and better that of COD4. Cause imo, COD4 had a excellent single player.

  • Syph1n

    Match, maybe. Better? I dont know if thats possible. Only way call of duty 4’s single player could have been better if it was longer. other than that its the best 6 hours i’ve spent behind my pc for a VERY long time.

  • kab123

    The thing about COD4 SP was the variety. For example the part where you sat in the bomber painting targets with lazer guided bombs. From the look af the BF video, they also have scenarios such as these. Which me likes.

  • Syph1n

    If thats the case i will buy for single player alone.
    But at least its not a Series of matches against bots. Like Ut3 or frontlines

  • PillsburyDeeBoy

    After my somewhat silly comment about my not reading the article, I went and read it through – I apologise. Having done that, my sentiments have not changed. What it is I am saying is that Battlefield may be every bit as good as you suggest it is going to be. It may be. However, I am disputing your claim that it will dethrone COD4 to the point where COD4 is a distant memory.

    I have not slagged it once. If you read every one of my comments, I have said repeatedly that it may be an amazing experience. You are the one who made the contentious claim. NOT ME.

  • Lupus

    I actually hope something does take Call of Duty 4’s thrown. I’m tired of playing the game, it’s broken multiplayer, campers get the upperhand all the time. At least in CoD3 there were vehicles to use if the campers took foot. Take a tank and go mopping up, in CoD4 not a chance and the maps are slightly smaller to.

  • LyL erK

    “It took everything that was good about the Battlefield 2 infantry experience and distilled it into an intense easily consumed cocktail.”

    Funny. Battlefield’s gameplay execution is so underwhelming (and disgusting) for such a brilliant game concept.

    Battlefield is far from the throne, and a peasant at best in the FPS kingdom.

  • Chevron

    It’s so weird seeing people talk about COD4 and battlefield and talking about on console.

    Then some guy talks about his thumbs.

    Sigh.

    Not trying to start a console vs pc thing.

    It’s just weird.

    My fondest memories of cod4 are lanning it.

  • Vg2

    I wasnt comparing BF and COD? ;S

    I was comparing the gold to the normal edition

    I shouldnt have said “games” haha

  • jimjam

    ive played the bad company demo on my ps3 multiplayer was fun but the graphics seemed really blurry to me,maybe its me ive been playing battlefield games for years on a high end pc so maybe ive been spoiled with graphics that a high end card can produce.

  • Jesus

    dudes!
    keep the peace and just play me in cod4 and get owned!

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