OK! LISTEN UP YOU MAGGOTS!!! Wow – never thought I’d have a reason to yell that. With that in mind let’s dive head first into Battlefield Bad Company, the latest game in the Battlefield series by the folks at EA.

It’s pretty obvious that from the start things aren’t going to be like it was in its more famous family members such as Battlefield 2142, Battlefield 2 or my personal favourite – Battlefield 1942. This time around the game play is focused more tightly on you, a new recruit to a motley crew of other military misfits that form the body of Bad Company. It’s your job to go into the hotspots that other military units either can’t reach or just plain don’t want to go to and risk damaging their sparkly new tanks and weapons – you have no choice about it – this is your last chance. As the newbie of the group you’re thrust straight into the front of the line and you head out into what quickly becomes a quite engrossing FPS. First on your list of things to kill today is the normal rank and file enemy – sounds pretty normal, huh? But it’s not long until you learn that things are from normal. Damn! Another shot from a well hidden soldier inside a small building. This guys good…he ducks down and hides from you and your new brothers before you get a decent bead on him. But no matter – this is where the fun starts. Switching to your alt mode of fire you ready the under slung grenade launcher, aim at the wall just to the right of the window and fire. The wall then disintegrates in a great explosion and you can see by your radar that the enemy is gone…and so is the wall. It’s the terrain deformation that really makes this game for me. No more firing at the edge of a wall or window hoping to graze your enemy. No more trying to sneak up on that sniper perched inside the loft barn – just bring out your little friend and introduce them to the enemy – it’s great! And it’s gets so much better the further you progress when you get to use the various vehicles such as tanks and APC’s. But wait! What’s that over there? Why it’s a Howitzer and it’s got my name on it. Yep – these babies are fun to use. Getting a mission order from your contact back at base you are told to cover a village crossroads intersection as your fellow (and in my opinion yellow cowardly custard at that) marines try and stop them at ground zero. A quick scan with the laser target designator and you’re zeroed in. Pull the trigger and several shots are fired in quick succession with the view returning to show you how accurate you were with your aim. BOOM! The small convoy of trucks goes up like a line of fireworks at a 4th of July Independence Day celebration. Other excellent scenes follow with things such as using a laser targeting device you pick up along the way – light up a tank down in the valley with the dot, press the trigger and a crackly message comes over your headset as a flyboy above you let’s you know he’s on the way and a bomb is winging it’s way in your general direction. All you need to do is finish guiding it onto the target. But it’s not all just about the given mission – after a while you start encountering some mercs and these guys mean business. After dodging a barrage you finally get within range and after a ferocious fire fight you and your new family find something that totally changes your mind about being in the thick of it. Gold! Yep – these mercs are into it big time, and now so are your friends. Each subsequent mission becomes more enticing with the thought of more gold being recovered and you’re dragged deeper into the mix of wealth and battle. I won’t spoil it anymore as I think the real fun of the FPS side of things starts here. Every now and then more gold is found and the lure of it becomes harder to resist for your friends. Ah…your friends – bad company indeed, or maybe not so bad. The in-between mission scenes really do build up a kind of warm regards to these misfits. There’s a really good script throughout that helps build this rapport with them and some quite amusing scenes where your contact back at base calls in with another mission and of course one of the boys is instantly in love with her voice (I really hope they get to meet up when this is all over…). You’ll either love or hate this humour – personally I thought it worked quite well.

There is one bonus that carries on from the FPS side of things into the multiplayer aspect: collectible weapons. Each time a mission starts you get told how many gold crates there are on the map along with how many collectible weapons are distributed over it as well. Each time you pick a new one you get a brief message letting you know this weapon has been unlocked for use when you go online and some of them are quite fun to use. You certainly won’t pick them all up first time around and this will almost certainly make the bigger fans of this go back around for another go at the single player game as they desperately try to get those weapons they missed. So couple those sweet pickups with the fun of demolition on a grand scale and the multiplayer game is certainly going to prove a fun feature for those FPS fans amongst us.

The gold crates also become a big part of the match play with the objective being to take the gold crates hidden on the map and thereby keeping that area on the map and stopping the enemy from gaining ground on you. Just don’t expect the big range of previous game maps – you get just 8 to roam around with this game, but the closer feel of the battlefield adds to the tension. As you communicate with your team mates and try to coordinate that perfect thrust to take that final gold crate and win one for the team. The now obligatory xp system is here too and the better you become (and advance in ranks) throughout your multiplayer gaming the more weaponry becomes available to you. The customary different classes you got with the previous games is of course still here and this makes for an easy transition into this new multiplayer part of the extended Battlefield family. Do you want to be the heavy with the heavy machine gun, running around distributing med packs or do you prefer to be that specialist that targets those damn tanks that keep rushing you? I still can’t make my mind up which I prefer – I guess I need to spend a few more hours online before I make that choice, but that is something I’m quite looking forward to doing. In fact I think I’ll give it another go after finishing this review.