Battlefield: Bad Company 2
EA's explosive shooter makes the jump to the iPhone. Too bad its multiplayer mode doesn't come close to topping the console version's.
With so many console franchises coming to the App Store, it was only a matter of time before Electronic Arts dove into its back catalogue. This time, it's Battlefield: Bad Company 2, a game loosely based on the publisher's critically acclaimed first person shooter. For the most part, it's a decent romp through a myriad of different environments, but it just isn't as polished as the best games in the genre.
In the game, the Bad Company crew (Marlowe- that's you, Sarge, Haggard and Sweetwater) run amok in South America to prevent the Russians from essentially destroying mankind. The story's useless fluff, but EA did the right thing in hiring actors to voice each character, which adds personality.
As for the objectives, the developers stuck to the usual list of missions, such as strapping explosives onto things, calling in air strikes to destroy tanks, manning gun turrets and just laying waste to enemy soldiers. It's standard fare, but we still had fun, partly because EA did such a good job with the controls.
Like most iPhone first person shooters, you maneuver the character using two virtual (and invisible) analog sticks, which works surprisingly well. To shoot, you tap the screen for single fire, then tap again and hold to go fully automatic. You can even aim down the sight by pressing and holding the designated icon, which is a nice touch that makes the combat more immersive. Finally, when the situation calls for it, the knife comes in handy for nasty melee attacks.
Here's the thing, though, the levels look boring and uninspired. A few minutes into the game, we explored a jungle that felt more like a room at a zoo. Even worse, it only took roughly five seconds to go from beginning to end. The rest of the game is equally disappointing, with ho-hum set pieces that seem like toys that some kid laid out across his bedroom floor. It's really strange.
Then we have multiplayer, which is without question the most disappointing thing about the game. You can only do Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch, there are two maps and zero character progression. As for jumping into a fight, good luck, because the system EA put in place is far too buggy to enjoy. Basically, the game automatically displays a bunch of pending games, and you select one and hit Join, but sometimes, the game will misread the command and select a different one. Then you'll contend with all the error messages that kick you back to the multiplayer menu. Meanwhile, the matches we experienced were full of lag and barely playable.
In addition, the graphics have a washed out appearance, like a shirt that's been left in the dryer too long. That's not to say the game's ugly. EA did a nice job with the weapons, but Bad Company 2 cannot compete with the likes of N.O.V.A. 2, or the original N.O.V.A., for that matter. And you can forget about the trademark destruction the series is known for. It's virtually nonexistent.
Someone could make a convincing argument with, "what do you expect for a dollar", and he or she would have a point. At the same time, a series like Battlefield should be held to a higher standard, and Bad Company 2 is a fun but ultimately weak version of the console smash hit. At $0.99, you don't have much to lose downloading it, and you'll probably enjoy at least part of the single player campaign. Just don't expect to be blown away.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
What's Hot: Enjoyable controls, a variety of weapons, good voice acting, only $0.99.
What's Not: Not enough destruction, lame and buggy multiplayer, weird looking levels.