Loyal Readers, I am angry at myself (again!). Why? Because I haven't played the single player portion of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 until now. I'm 3 missions away from the end, so I can't speak for the entire campaign. That being said however, it has so far been the best example of pacing in a single player FPS since Bioshock. Only once, in awkward platforming sequence have I felt anything akin to a stutter in this action-packed campaign. Missions are short, and allow for players to approach set pieces with a moderate level of freedom. Action sequences are punctuated with supply caches, which allow you to select equipment that best suits approaching threats. Furthermore, the return of collectable weaponry and the implementation of quasi-collectable, destructable (?) M-COM Stations serve to provide the requisite distractions for gamers with short attention spans and/or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Finally, the expert distribution of vehicles throughout the campaign break up the standard shooting action.
It's not flawless. DICE has opted to adopt the Modern Warfare checkpoint system present in genre stalwarts like Call of Duty series in Bad Company 2, as opposed to the free flowing respawn system which served to differentiate the original instalment. This does lend a sense of consequence to your failures, however it also leads to some frustration when the next checkpoint is so close, yet so far from reach. Mind you, the frustration encountered here is negligible when compared to the Modern Warfare 2 (worst single player campaign ever). Further to that, the health injector from the first game has also been phased out in favour of regenerating health found in just about every modern action game. Funnily enough, IGN suggested in their review that these additions made the gameplay feel more realistic. Last time I checked, if a human being copped a few slugs to head and chest, they couldn't shrug them off after a few seconds had passed (without being hit by more bullets). Moreso, if they were killed in action, they couldn't rematerialise in a location they had previously visited. These changes which bring the Bad Company franchise in line with the competition work well enough, but they don't feel necessary.
The production values for EA's answer to Modern Warfare are top notch, and those of you who haven't played it yet can expect brilliant visuals, genre-leading action sequences and enough explosions to make an 80s action flick look tame. I should also point out that Bad Company 2 does the shotgun and sniper rifle justice, both are effective and fun to use.
What did you guys play this weekend?