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Battlefield Bad Company 2 GamesCom 2009 Preview

Battlefield Bad Company 2 managed to really surprise me during my hands-on demonstration at GamesCom this week. Not only does the title look impressive but the gameplay itself feels new and updated thanks to an expanded role for the Frostbite engine which powers the game. Focusing on the multiplayer aspect, I was soon jumping straight into a 24 player match to enjoy the carnage.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 Screenshot 1

Staying true to the Battlefield format of team-based first-person combat on a large scale, Bad Company 2 feels familiar but different. One of the most important aspects of the series has been the strength of the maps, with large scale environments that cater for both on-foot and vehicular warfare. On the level I played the map expanded over a huge distance making good team work essential for mounting effective offenses.

Using a modified version of the Frostbite engine the locations look stunning and especially crisp. The area was situated in a snowy landscape with several small settlements creating bloody choke points around the buildings. Within the environment there was a great deal of variation which had a direct impact on the combat. Fighting inside the villages was a brutal close-quarters affair whereas the more open planes were dominated by tanks and helicopters which is just the way it should be. At this early stage the map already felt well balanced with both teams having to fight incredibly hard for each kill and capture point.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 Screenshot 2 

There are four playable classes in the title which are broken down into Assault, Medic, Recon and Engineer and each has its individual role to play. Bad Company 2 allows you to develop your position in the team further by allowing you to customise your weapon load out and the weapons themselves. There are over 15,000 kit variations possible to allow each player to tailor their character to the play style that they prefer.

The game features over 40 weapons with a total of 200 different customisation possibilities. These can vary from the type of sight you want on your weapon to the type of ammunition for the grenade launcher. Battlefield 1943 players will also gain access to 3 exclusive weapons which they can vote for on the Battlefield website at the moment. Alongside firearms there are also 15 gadgets and accessories ranging from motion sensors to defibrillators. Players will also be able to choose from 13 different "specialisations" ranging from improving scopes to increasing clip capacity.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 Screenshot 3

Ranks return from previous Battlefield titles which are earned through experience gained from killing enemies and completing objectives. Bad Company 2 features 50 ranks to rise through however there will also be several other awards to earn. There are 40 Pins to acquire which are gained by single-round efficiency with weapons and 228 Stars awarded for good performance with each weapon and item. Finally there are 40 Insignias which are designed to appeal towards long-term hardcore players who will select particular classes to focus on. An example was shown where a medic could earn an Insignia for resuscitating 1000 teammates which clearly isn't an easy task.

With 24 players on a server matches feel intense especially when taking part in the classic Conquest game mode. There will be 4 game modes in total with Rush returning from the original Bad Company and two currently unannounced squad-orientated modes. Conquest features the traditional ticket system from previous titles and is as exciting as ever with the strategic capture locations being typical pressure points where much of the fighting takes place.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 Screenshot 4

However, the biggest and best change is the improved role of the Frostbite engine which has been upgraded to allow for a huge level of destructible scenery. At first I was sceptical about the level of impact that this would have on the gameplay but it adds a new dimension to the multiplayer. Taking the level of destructibility from Red Faction and placing it into an intense warzone means that you have to play the game in a different way. The "Destruction 2.0" from the engine is a lot more than pretty visual effects and can have lethal consequences.

Not long into the first round, a group of enemies had barricaded themselves into a building and were dug-in killing anyone who tried to enter whilst covering a capture point. Storming up to the building I used my assault rifle's attached grenade launcher to blow apart a side wall before shooting them in the back. Whilst I have experience scripted moments like this in games before it felt completely different to do it to a group of human players in a live multiplayer match. It is a little unsettling to have this much choice and realising you don't have to always use a door to enter a house is a special feeling.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 Screenshot 5

Soon afterwards I found myself as a gunner in a Black Hawk helicopter strafing enemies across the map whilst below all hell was breaking loose. A heavy firefight was taking place between two of our team in a building and a tank outside whilst we attempted to provide support. The building, which had been taking heavy fire, suddenly collapsed after a blast from the tanks cannon, killing our team inside. The level of destructibility is scary as there really is nowhere left to hide; developers DICE explained that they have been receiving complaints from campers who can no longer remain untouchable.

Heavy machine guns can rip straight through concrete, missiles punch holes through walls and pistols leave tiny pockmarks in fences. Part of the fun lies in discovering what you can actually do and grabbing explosives and levelling half the scenery is unbelievably enjoyable. To discover that this actually directly impacts on the gameplay though is good news and it is possible that Bad Company 2 could well make a serious impression amongst online shooters.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 Screenshot 6

Squad based interaction will be very important but due to the nature of the demonstration I couldn't really test this out. The 15 vehicles in the game are promised to be very different and to have specific roles on the battlefield. I would have liked to experience more time with the different classes and their weapon load-outs but much of this is still to be finalised and tweaked which will be interesting to follow. Hopefully each multiplayer map will have the same opportunity for destruction as well as the tactical advantages that it brings.

With a release date of March 5th 2010 on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360, Bad Company 2 is looking impressive and is surprisingly now one of my most anticipated titles. With fine tuning and a selection of varied and balanced maps this could well become one of next years top FPS titles.


evilgiraffeman | 22nd August, 2009
Betty_Swallocks's picture
Looks nice. Apparently it's going to be on the PC too according to the EA website
TimmyShire's picture
Looks excellent. I'm a Battlefield fanatic so I'm eager for this one. Whilst I was a late coming to the first BFBC, there are still tons of people playing it (screw COD!) and it has to be my favourite online FPS. Majorly excited for this one and all the improvements it brings.

Particularly looking forward to customisable loadouts, and that tracer-bullet-seeking RPG has to be the most fun looking thing I've seen from an online FPS for a long time.

Give me a go now!
Betty_Swallocks's picture
I'm really looking forward to getting some BF action in at the lan.
Platinum's picture
I need to get 1942 installed for the lan, we playing vanilla / DC or DCX Betty?
Betty_Swallocks's picture
I think we've probably got time for some of both. Mind you, I need to polish my helicoptering skills if we play DC
Platinum's picture
You fly ill be gunner?
Betty_Swallocks's picture
You're on

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