Preview: Battlefield: Bad Company 2 PS3 Beta Impressions

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One of the biggest letdowns incurred from the death of my PS3 last month was missing out on the start of the Battlefield: Bad Company 2 beta. The week prior to its launch, EA got me all set up with a beta voucher and I was excited to try it out. Sadly, that weekend before the beta my PS3 went kaput and I was stuck with a beta invite I couldn’t use for nearly two weeks. It was painful!

New PS3 slim in hand, though, I finally got a chance to dive into the beta for some online multiplayer testing this week, and boy am I glad I did!

It’s hard for me to compare Bad Company 2’s multiplayer to the first game, because, honestly, the original Bad Company really didn’t draw me in, so I gave the solo campaign a quick play through, tried my hand at probably 10 online matches or so and called it quits. So while I’m not in position to point out any subtle tweaks that have surely been made, I can tell you that Bad Company 2’s multiplayer already feels more polished – the original always felt a bit rough around the edges to me, which is why I was never inspired to play it for any extended period of time – and is poised to be the best online Battlefield experience to grace a console platform.

There isn’t a whole lot to the beta build of Bad Company 2 – it includes the Arica Harbor map and supports 24-player battles in the Rush match type — but from a handful of matches thus far it’s obvious that DICE is sticking with its tried-and-tested Battlefield formula. And well they should.

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As always, the FPS mechanics are incredibly solid, with smooth aiming controls and weapons that deliver powerful feedback when fired. Smart team cooperation and methodical map navigation are also crucial to victory, as any attempts to run and gun it or go lone wolf will only lead to your demise. Environmental destruction is key once again as well, and unlike the first game I’ve found the destructibility to be more realistic and dynamic. The implementation feels more organic and restrained, opposed to the original in which, to me, the destruction felt kind of superficial in the way it was blatantly overemphasized.

Four familiar classes are available in the game – Assault, Engineer, Recon and Medic – and a robust unlock system typical of the Battlefield franchise keeps you hooked by consistently rewarding you with rank increases, pins, insignias, class weapon/gadget upgrades and specialization bonuses like faster sprinting speed, increased ammo capacity and higher armor durability. I’m trying not to play too much now so I have something to play for when the full game arrives, but it’s no easy task considering how satisfying and addictive ranking up and unlocking new goodies is.

The lone map, Arica Harbor, is quite impressive too, with its rugged desert terrain and industrial architecture lending itself to a wide range of intense combat scenarios, especially when paired with the Rush mode which has one team defending against a second attacking team attempting to destroy multiple pairs of designated opposition installations in order to seize control of the entire map and win the battle. As each pair of targets is destroyed, another pair is highlighted deeper behind enemy lines, and with each step of this progression the map terrain changes, as should your attack/defend strategy. After this, I’m definitely eager to see what other maps and modes DICE has in store for the full release.

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For a game in beta, Bad Company 2’s smooth online performance and expertly balanced gameplay come as a tremendous surprise, and if it performs this well now we should be in for a well-oiled FPS war machine come retail launch time in March.

If you’d like to participate in the PS3 beta, you can pre-order the game at GameStop or Best Buy for a beta key, though supply is supposedly limited so they may be tough to come by at this point. For PC gamers, DICE is scheduled to launch an open beta sometime this month, but specifics haven’t been announced as of yet. Beyond that, you’ll have to wait until early next year for the public multiplayer demo DICE will be releasing for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.

Any other beta players out there? If so I’d love to hear your thoughts/impressions in the comments!

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About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!