Battlefield: Bad Company Beta

BY Phil Harris  //  May 5, 2008

It has...potential.


et ready to step onto the battlefield. Get your gear in order and choose a role. You'll have a team counting on you, and gold will be your objective. Obstacles can be razed and choke points compromised. Vehicles will also be at your disposal helping you to shift the field in your favor. Whether you're on the offense or protecting the riches, remember, you're in Bad Company.

EA DICE launched users' first taste of Battlefield: Bad Company. A multiplayer beta, which ended April 29th, gave users the ability to see what Bad Company had to offer firsthand. However, not everything went as cleanly as they had hoped. The beta had a rocky start, and with a hefty number of users trying to login to the beta things came to a halt. EA quickly remedied this issue and users (including myself) were able to finally get into the action.

On Oasis, you'll have a variety of
vehicles to make your way around.
The game mode offered is much like a typical attack-and-defend, but with a little twist. Bad Company's game type is known as "Gold Rush" and is similar to attack-and-defend, but the points of interest are now chests of gold. Your job is to simply defend these chests of gold or to destroy them, allowing you to gain ground on the opposition. A very pleasing game type, provided people actually try to complete their objectives. To go along with this there are different skill types you can play as. Most of these you'll have seen before, such as Assault, Demolition, and Support. Each of these classes offers different equipment to assist you, depending on your preferences.

The beta offered two very different maps to play on, Ascension and Oasis. Ascension takes place in a village in a mountainous landscape. Most of the combat takes place in and around houses and offered a great deal of cover as you make your assault. Oasis was a far more expansive map and offered a large number of vehicles to make your way around the terrain. You'll have everything from, tanks, boats, and other land-based transportation.

Not bad by any means.
Not cutting edge, either.
The graphics seemed fairly ordinary in Bad Company; not bad by any means, but not cutting edge either. As you might have seen from the trailers, Bad Company features almost fully destructible environments. This is one place where the game really stands apart from the rest. Teams trying to create chock-points to stop an assaulting team can in most cases be easily overcome by destroying parts of the landscape. This will really force players to think on their feet and find new and creative ways to complete their goals. Even a snipers' sanctuary can now easily be blown apart leaving them exposed to fire. The only thing I really found unsettling about this feature was how it was exhibited. The physics of the game seemed as they were almost being displayed with invisible wire. As you damaged and destroyed objects they always seemed to collapse in a similar fashion. However, that could be said about the rest of the game's physics as well. EA needs to put more time into this aspect of the game to allow for deeper battlefield immersion.

Overall, Battlefield: Bad Company didn't offer anything really new to the table except for nearly destructible environments. The game play is almost an exact copy of that of Call of Duty 4, right down to the controls. The menu layout for the beta was appalling and left you wondering, "What were they thinking?" The beta's performance had some problems; frame rates would sometimes drop to a crawl. I also ran into some issues with the beta crashing on me when a match ended. Some might say it was my 360, but this is the only game I've had to power my system down for on multiple occasions. The final release will also feature additional weapons. Some of these will be unlockable, and others you'll be forced to pay for, depending which version of the game you buy. Battlefield: Bad Company has the potential to be a fine title, but as of right now, it's nothing inimitable.

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