When it comes to online games, I want something with staying power, something fun, and something so ferociously addictive that I am prepared to forsake all others in order to play. For me, there is only one game that fits these criteria. I am of course talking about Battlefield: Bad Company 2.
This game rocks more than fifty large boulders falling off a mountain and smashing into a load of other large boulders. Coincidentally, that’s also an apt description for how the game sounds. Playing my previous favourite, Day of Defeat: Source, seems empty and hollow to me now. I can’t go back.
The quality of the game lies in the time and effort that has gone into making a balanced experience. DICE are not new to this type of game, and everything they learn from previous titles goes into making their next experience that much better. Yes, some of the guns have been nerfed, but it’s all in the interest of making things more enjoyable. It’s like playing a prettier, louder and shootier version of Rock Paper Scissors. Everything can be trumped by something else, and this very simple mechanic plays out brilliantly.
If you are new to the game, there is a lot to learn, and there are some well researched and detailed strategy guides out there. As an introduction, here are my tips for being a productive member of the battlefield.
1. Battlefield Awareness – As well as being aware of what the players around you are doing, try to build an awareness of the wider battlefield, and how things are panning out. This will help your combat decisions and hopefully prolong your kill streak.
2. Listen – DICE spend a lot of time getting the sound in their games right. It’s not just to get things sounding great on your speakers. Gunfights and enemy comments can all be accurately positioned if you keep your ears open.
3. Play as a squad – Battlefield doesn’t always favour the lone wolf approach. Having a squad gives you real tactical advantages. You can flank and attack as a single unit, spawn on squad mates rather than back at base, and you also get more points for being a team player.
4. Concentrate on the task in hand – Although being aware of the battlefield around you is important, don’t be distracted from the job that you and your squad are doing. Leaving a cap point to go and assist another squad can play right into the other team’s hands. Also, don’t be drawn by a single enemy darting in front of you to chase him down. Remember, his mates could spawn on him and then you’re in for a whole world of pain. Hold your position and lob a few nades in his general direction for good measure.
5. Treat Medics as you would like to be treated – Medics are awesome. They have great weapons, and the ability to make or break a round. However, if you’re going to revive someone, give your reanimated colleague a chance, and lay down some covering fire (just until that post-50,000 v to the chest grogginess wears off). If a medic gets killed, press E to get his gear and bring him back from the abyss. It could prove vital.
6. Spot! – If you see an enemy, press Q. The dividends for your team and your points tally will soon become clear.
7. Stay with your tank – A good captain always goes down with his….tank. Even if it looks like a single grain of sand could end its operating life, stick with it. The last thing your team needs is the enemy getting hold of it and taking away a possible advantage.
8. Be generous with your packs – There’s nothing worse than going toe-to-toe with a tank, bringing it to its knees, only to realise that you’re out of rockets. When battles get messy, a liberal sprinkling of ammo and medic packs can make all the difference.
9. Defend a planted M-COM – As an attacker, when that charge begins to twinkle, unleash hell on the surrounding area. Mortars, nades, C4, get it all in there to stop the defenders undoing all your good work.
10. Play nice – Obey the server rules, and have fun. Nobody likes the guy who thinks he’s the best thing since broadband, and punctuates every sentence with the F word.
The only things that will stop me from playing this game are the theft of my rig, the collapse of civilization, and Battlefield 3. I wonder which one will come first…