Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: June 17, 2008
When it comes to military shooters, particularly in the realm of multiplayer, there are few series better than Battlefield. Oh sure, Call of Duty 4 may be garnering a little attention these days, but it's about to get some competition. That's because DICE is putting the finishing touches on Battlefield: Bad Company, and they're ready to reclaim their throne atop the shooter market.
First, we'll get the formalities out of the way. There is a single-player campaign, and it is actually quite decent. You star as a member of B Company, a roughneck crew turned loose on the battlefield. As you work your way through the game, you and the boys come into the possession of some forgotten gold, and of course if nobody misses it, then it won't be a big deal if you just keep it. The interaction with your squad mates is surprisingly deep for a game like this, and all the guys have larger-than-life personalities that should make for some interesting moments as the game goes on. You're not here for all that, though — you want to shoot your friends, and that's something Bad Company can definitely handle.
At the demo, the developers showed off some live multiplayer, letting the unwashed masses take our turn basking in its glory. The game mode that was set up featured attackers and defenders; attackers had to break open some very sturdy gold-filled crates, while the defenders had to hold them back at all costs. The early rounds of this mode favor the defense, as the attackers have to start fairly far away and don't get much of an arsenal. If the aggressors are successful, though, the tables turn, as blowing open more crates leads to more advantageous spawn points and access to vehicles and advanced armaments. Also, if you die, there's a bit of a gambit system in place: You can choose to either respawn back at your base and rearm with your favorite weapons, or you can spawn out in the field with your teammates, with nary but your standard issue guns at your side. It's a nice way to cater to different play styles, as action fiends can jump right back into the heat of battle, while strategists can take a moment to determine what weaponry can best exploit the situation.
While all the bells and whistles weren't on display, series staples such as deadly vehicles and destructible environments (including houses) will definitely be back, as well as the massive and frantic online matches that have made the series such a hit. Even the single-player campaign is looking to have a lot more promise than most FPS titles, so things are looking good on all fronts. While the release date might still be a little ambitious, if things stay on track, you'll be catching gold (and Battlefield) fever this summer.