Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 may have a lock on the console shooter crowd, but that doesn’t keep other games from having something meaningful—or at least reasonably fun—to add. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 extends the train of thought that developer DICE has been harping on since 2002. The long-running and almost always excellent Battlefield series has always attempted to encourage co-operation in its massive multi-player battles. In “Rush” combat scenarios, Bad Company 2 encourages teamwork by forcing lone-wolf gamers to fight along the same front—a line that moves steadily from one goal to the next until either the aggressors win, or the defenders wait out the clock. For anyone who’s spent much time in the chaotic scrums of Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, this semblance of order comes as a great relief. Of course, the ability to climb into a tank, boat, or aircraft adds a level of chaos that rarely rears its head in the grounded firefights of other shooters. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 uses a now-familiar experience system that lets players earn new weapons and skills based on their performance while playing each of the game’s combat classes. Only here, the game isn’t as generous as the competition: Unlockable guns, gear, and skills can take some time to earn.
Played solo, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 feels lightweight. The plot plays out via cutscenes, making action sequences feel episodic and frequently anticlimactic. But the grunts in Bad Company 2’s cinematics are mostly likeable—they’re less gruff and gloomy than the soldiers in Modern Warfare 2. And there’s a satisfying bit of bromance between the squad’s resident good ol’ boy and a hippie-dippy chopper pilot. Apart from a few moments when the game pauses to take a jab at Modern Warfare 2 (snowmobiles, apparently, are for pussies) the single-player campaign is mostly harmless. Get ’er done and play Battlefield: Bad Company 2 online. That’s where everybody else will be.