by Chris Scott
previewed on PS3
For the better part of this decade the Battlefield name has been synonymous with large scale multiplayer gaming, mostly on the PC. But developer DICE took the game hard to the console crowd in 2008 with the release of Battlefield: Bad Company. Bad Company was a significant change in tone for the series as it focused primarily on a strong narrative based single player campaign instead of the large scale multiplayer action the series had become known for. Of course that isn't to say that Bad Company did not have a multiplayer component, it did and it is still pretty active even today but by comparison the multiplayer aspect of the game seemed to almost be an afterthought.
However DICE does not seem content to rest on its laurels for Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and the multiplayer component is getting an overhaul to place it on more equal footing with the single player campaign. DICE has allowed a slew of Playstation 3 players to partake in the multiplayer BETA test for the game, giving us a slight insight into the overall direction the games multiplayer is going to take in Bad Company 2.
One of the biggest changes is the re-organization of the playable classes. Instead of five classes that were sometimes indistinguishable from each other, Bad Company 2 offers up four playable classes that all add something different to the overall focus of team gameplay. Each class has a complete kit available to unlock via gaining experience in games and while it may not be as robust as say Modern Warfare 2 is, the more focused approach to classes is sure to appease plenty of gamers.
The Assault class is your standard ground troop; they can be equipped with a variety of assault rifles and have the ability to hand out ammunition to teammates. The assault trooper has much more added value in Bad Company 2 than they did in the original Bad Company, mostly due to the fact that the only way teammates can get additional ammunition is through them, whereas in Bad Company players could raid ammo boxes.
The Engineer class is a highly versatile class that may be the most fun and useful class to play, like the Assault class, the Engineer can equip a variety of assault rifles but they also can equip rocket launchers and other handy gadgets. They also have the ability to repair damaged vehicles thus making them both tank busters and tank protectors
The Medic class is, in my opinion, the weakest class available to play. While the medic may seem like a needed addition to any team another big change to the game limits the class's usefulness. In previous Battlefield games, players had a set amount of health that could only be replenished via a medic but Bad Company 2 goes the now common route of allowing your health to regenerate meaning the medic has to have some other use. Medics are equipped with defibrillators and can revive fallen teammates for a very short period of time after their demise. While this may sound like a brilliant idea in theory in practice it means that there is a lot of reviving going on and then immediately dying again, alongside your savior. I am sure that players better than me will come up with a means of making the Medic useful but during my time with the game I found no reason to play as that class.
The fourth and final class that is available to play is the ever popular Recon class. In the hands of the right player the Recon class can be both a deadly enemy for the opposing team and also a highly helpful member of his own team. Sporting a variety of high powered sniper rifles, the Recon class can stay out of the main fray and pick enemies off from a safe location but they are most useful by observing the battle and calling out enemies to teammates, which makes enemies visible on the team mini-map.
Currently in the BETA there is only one map and gametype available to play. The map is a huge sprawling coastal battlefield off the coast of Africa. The map requires a variety of different strategic approaches as it features flat open spots for battles as well as elevated areas ideal for sniping (or scouting), it also features a variety of different urban areas for battle including a bombed out town, a bridge and a naval shipping facility. The gametype is a modified version of Gold Rush from the original Bad Company, called just Rush this time around. Teams take turns attacking and defending control points on the map and once a pair of control points have been destroyed the battle pushes forward to a new set of points. Attacking team win by destroying all 10 of the control points while defending teams can win by eliminating the attacking teams supply of respawn tickets.
All in all, Battlefield: Bad Company 2's multiplayer is looking similar to what was released nearly two years ago. But it has been refined and plays significantly better. We can't wait to get our hands on the final product come February of 2010.