Frankenreview: Battlefield: Bad Company (Xbox 360)

EA DICE's Battlefield series has been providing PC gamers (and eventually console owners) with solid, entertaining online multiplayer battles for a good six years now. Now that they've proven they can deliver the multiplayer goods they've taken on the single player experience with Battlefield: Bad Company, seeking to provide an offline story mode that is every bit as compelling to the solo-player as the massive multiplayer battles are to the more competitive gamer.

Has EA DICE managed to provide a combination of solo and multiplayer experiences worthy of your gaming dollar, or has the mixed focus resulted in mix review scores? The critics arm themselves after the jump.

...that famed Battlefield freedom has finally been translated into a coherent single player campaign, where your choice of route can have a distinct bearing on your chances of success. Governed by a linear succession of objectives, the route you take to get there can often be genuinely up to you. Be it stealthily on foot, sniping everything from afar or storming the gates in a tank, you simply use whatever hardware's at your disposal and set about taking down everyone in your way, in whichever way you can. With gunships and motorboats occasionally upping the ante further still, the moments when Bad Company is firing on all cylinders are thrillingly epic.

Bad Company has a slightly different feel than other shooters, and not just because of the much higher things-blown-up to things-not-blown-up ratio. Weapons feel powerful—especially considering how destructible most of the world is—but accuracy isn't as unnaturally precise as it is in some other shooters and this can make weapons feel less lethal. On the other hand, fans of shotguns will be very happy at the effectiveness of their weapon.

Be sure to crank the volume up to 11—Bad Company has some of the finest sound design out there. A sniper shot echoes perfectly through the mountains, while indoor firefights are so loud you may want earplugs. Visually the game does not fare as well. While it's by no means ugly, there is a strange graininess on each texture. Even looking into the clear blue sky in the first scene of the game, you'll be amazed at how fuzzy it looks. Of course, the destructible environments and exciting explosions make up for any graphical shortcomings.

Battlefield: Bad Company knows what it wants to do and does it. The gameplay is simple and easy to wrap your mind around, but opens up to a lot of different strategies. The explosions are visceral and fun, and the game looks great too. Yeah, I bitched about the colour palette, but there are moments when you realise they're going for that smoky, hazy look that a battle-ravaged landscape would have and it's O.K. It may not be a magnum opus like GTA IV, but Battlefield: Bad Company is a great piece of mindless fun to waste away some hours with this summer.

Not nearly as bad a company as I was expecting.


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