Pimpin Reviews: Modern Warfare 2 vs Bad Company 2
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I have a weird relationship with First Person Shooters. I don't particularly care for them, but I'm always forced to play them because the industry release pool is so damn filled with them. That being said, these past two years have seen some of the biggest releases in FPS history. As always, title of this review may have fooled you a bit because as usual with this series, this review is not a heated debate about which game is better. In truth, this review plans to cover exactly why Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
sold twice as many copies in the US alone than Battle Field Bad Company 2
sold world wide. This review will cover all things that went wrong with the latter, and even what it did right compared to Modern Warfare 2
. So grab a chair, and hope to god its been long enough that this will avoid any flames.
Battle Field Bad Company 2 has been living in Modern Warfare 2's shadows since before it came out. Fans, press, and hell even the developers had been building the two up as the rivals. In the more than competent multiplayer shooter maker DICE's hands, it seemed like nothing could go bad. Much to the dismay of its fans, without any genre defining moments or new innovations, the game fell tragically short. So what exactly went wrong with the game, and what went so right for Infinty Ward's Modern Warfare 2, lets dive right in and find out.
I know it may be hard to believe, but one way that great First Person Shooters stand out from the rest of the crowd is with memorable single player experiences. Half Life 2, Halo, Call of Duty 4 all of which feature brilliant story modes are widely regarded as some of the best FPS in recent memory. It's heartbreaking, but Bad Company 2 unfortunately isn't blessed with an outstanding plot. Ripped from the pages of every war story ever told, the plot focuses on Russia intimidating the United States, setting up the stage for yet another World War. The player is put in the boots of Preston Marlowe, part of the titular Bad Company. In the first installment, Bad Company was only for the screw ups, but after their success on their last mission quickly became the army standard for "unorganized, unorthodox, and lethal" tactics. The key difference between Bad Company 2 and other military shooters is its humorous cast, which continues to be one of the main attractions since the first game.
Everyone from the original shows up. The Sergeant is Samuel "Sarge" Redford, who volunteered to lead Bad Company in an exchange for an early retirement. Everyone's favorite fun loving All-American sports fan Haggard shows up, brining along his love for all things that go BOOM. Last but not least Terrance Sweetwater, the group's technophile, is also in for the ride. The story begins in Alaska, where the crew stumbles across a secret research project of the Russian Army connected to events that happened in Japan during World War 2. Of course, it's up to Bad Company to find out exactly how this connects to the planned invasion and to also put a stop to the conniving commies.
However, the memorable sequences and humorous dialogue from the first game don't show up. The team has its occasional funny one liner or dialogue sequence, but the charm and appeal of the first game is set aside for more action and fire fights. And while there are a couple incredible action scenes that teeter on awesome, there never long enough or exciting enough to stick with you.
Coincidentally, Modern Warfare 2 also focuses on Russians invading the US. You play as many soldiers fighting thought the campaign. Though the game doesn't offer any snarky dialogue or witty comebacks, it's heavy in the memorable sequences department. The much discussed controversial "No Russian" mission is just one of the heavy action sequences that stick with you, but my personal favorite is a mission where you're stuck in a slum in Rio De Janeiro, weaponless, and you have to escape via the rooftops with terrorists in hot pursuit.
While the story in Modern Warfare 2's isn't exactly Dostoevsky material, it's better than the mess that Bad Company 2 tries to spin. I'm still not exactly sure how the first game connects to the second, or why half the stuff the player's forced to do is supposed to be done. Bad Company 2 has an assload of cut scenes, but most of the actual information is given in game and the dialogue is often muffled by the roar of guns or a chopper engine. Modern Warfare 2 doesn't really push the narrative boundaries, but it's at least competent, and believe it or not last about twice as long as it's so called rival.
In soviet Russia, window break you!
....Like you didn't see this one coming
What doesn't help Bad Company 2 is filled to the brim with bugs and design faults. The entire campaign is set form one unimaginative gun fight to the other, and while the terrains are nice and well designed, they don't make much sense in context. This isn't helped by the games waypoint system, which marks a section as completed as soon as you hit a certain point regardless of if your objective is completed or not. At points I literally just ran or drove through enemy lines without firing a bullet.
The destructible environments from the first installment return, and I have to admit that blowing the cover of a pesky sniper by blowing apart his house is satisfying to say the least. But though the feature is improved from the last game, it's no longer really as important as it once was. It's more of a side feature, which I guess is nice, but brushing off your main attraction is akin to shooting one in one's own foot. Modern Warfare 2 features no such attraction, it does however put the player in new and increasingly interesting situations. From fighting through the War torn streets of suburban Virginal to breaking out a convict from Russia's most infamous maximum security political prison, the game at least attempts to spice things up. The fire fights are frantic and fun, and the higher difficulty level really tickles the primal instinct in us all
That's the thing, when Bad Company 2 tries to do something memorable or exciting, it really falls flat on its face. Missions such as defending a high-value stronghold from waves of enemies are fun, but like the other set pieces are either too short or too difficult. Especially when enemies pull out rocket launchers are start blowing up large sections of your buildings.
Thet're hunting Wolves...All thanks to Sarah Palin
Though I really want to stray from echoing Yahtzee, the important thing is that Modern Warfare 2 actually has you survive these set pieces. The aforementioned Rio De Janeiro rooftop escape is actually surprisingly easy to beat, even on the hardest difficulty. The hardest of missions are all passable with a little trial and error, but in Bad Company 2 these moments are ruined by either being too difficult or too cumbersome to be remembered as anything more than a pain.
I have to say, both games are visually pleasing, especially for all the frantic action going on. Both games take you to various locations for incredible gun fights. But as I've said before, the fact that Modern Warfare 2 simply has a greater variety the game is able to showcase great graphics in a bunch of interesting locations. Bad Company 2 on the other hand has about three different settings that make up the games four acts, snow, sand, and jungle. As if you couldn't get any blander. Not to mention the load of Dust that appears out of anything clouding your vision with every step.
This may be a bit surprising, but I found the weapon selection in Bad Company 2 to be completely abyssal. There are some collectible weapons that one can find, but these are merely variations of the normal weapons. Before each mission you can use a supply crate to pick and choose what weapons you want, but the menu to do so is so convoluted you shouldn't even bother.
The thing about Modern Warfare 2 is that whatever it does it does somewhat competently, the same cannot be said for Bad Company 2. The plot of our tragic hero is not only sub-par, but it offers few to no memorable experiences.
Saddle up Cowboy
There is one thing that I can't deny DICE, it knows how to make a damn fine Multiplayer game. As it has been doing for the past decade or so, DICE produces another game with giant and varied maps as well as expertly balanced classes and a huge selection of aircraft and vehicles. The game features only a small amount of game types but they're all well polished and work extremely well, something that can't be said about Modern Warfare 2
The perk and reward system of Bad Company 2 is miles better than its counterpart. Things are well balanced and work extremely well, with upgrades being more of collectables, and with game types favoring one style of play over another. Such as the Squad rush mode that favors teamwork over lone wolf vehicle use. Modern Warfare 2 has more game types, but the play style basically stays the same. Even in objective themed games.
Speaking of vehicles, it was a real shame that Modern Warfare 2 doesn't use any, because they work extremely well in Bad Company 2. Vehicles really change the momentum in the game, and it's nice to be able to get hop into a chopper regardless of how well you've been playing. While both games feature fun and addictive online components, I have to give this round to DICE for edging their opponent, but only in the slightest way.
Its not to say that it outshines Modern Warfare 2 completely, but with slightly more versatility it offers a more satisfying experience. Though many players will flock to one type of play style that's more common in one of the two titles, but its noteworthy to mention that Bad Company 2's multiplayer is more varied and frantic than its counterpart, at least to this reviewer. If you've preferred a previous installment of either series' online multiplayer, then chances are that you'll enjoy their new baby brothers. The play styles really haven't change much, and a smart player would pick whichever one he's more familiar with. Kind of anti-climatic, huh?
When its hard to judge a game based on its own merits, Pimpin Reviews turns to the VS series for quick and easy judgment. But the truth is, sometimes games are so similar that it's all up to one's own tastes to tell which one is more worth your while. Both Bad Company 2 and Modern Warfare 2 are stellar in the department that matters most for shooter fans, multiplayer. And the only real advantage Modern Warfare 2 had was that it was birthed from a critical phenomenon.
To gamers like me, Modern Warfare 2 packs a little more punch with a bit of a stronger story mode and a competent online mode. But for those willing to ignore a underwhelming campaign for a good multiplayer mode, then Bad Company 2 may be your thing. Considering that the previous is part of a long and infamous series, its no surprise that a new challenger didn't make as big of a splash in the consumer market pool. While Bad Company 2 could learn a thing or two about enhancing its single player campaign, Modern Warfare 2 could learn how to make its multiplayer even more time consuming. But I'll stop before Disney hires me for an after school special.
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Disclosures: Modern Warfare 2 was obtained via [Retail] and reviewed on the [Xbox 360]. Approximately [15 hours] of play was devoted to single-player modes [completed 2 times] and [6 hours] to the multiplayer component.
Disclosures: Bad Company 2 was obtained via [Rental] and reviewed on the [Xbox 360]. Approximately [6.5 hours] of play was devoted to single-player modes [completed 1 time] and [3.5 hours] to the multiplayer component
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