No Battlefield game would be complete without vehicles to drive, and Bad Company 2 features plenty. You don't always get to take full control, with the chopper sections limited to on-rails shooting, but these sequences are always hugely exciting. One chase sequence in which you're driving a Jeep while also firing rounds off at pursuing enemies is a real highlight, while simply bombing across an undulating desert is fun in of itself. There is an annoying tank sequence mid-way through the campaign that fails to be even remotely fun, but on the whole the vehicles are handled very well, with DICE wisely choosing to put you in the passenger's seat from time to time.
Destruction more or less defined the original Bad Company, and even though THQ's Red Faction Guerrilla has now taken the technology to another level, blowing a hole in a building is still hugely satisfying. Buildings don't crumble like they do in Guerrilla, but the effect of debris flying through the air after an RPG strike on an enemy hut is unquestionably impressive. It's not all about visual flair either, with the destruction forming an essential part of your attack strategy - take out enemies by levelling buildings they're hiding in or destroy a bridge to block their attempted attack. One particularly chilly sequence sees you running from building to building to find warmth, and an RPG to a wall will save you having to find a door.
This would count for nought if you didn't have the right tools for the job, but thankfully there are a ton of weapons for you to get your hands on. You can only carry two at a time, along with grenades, but supply crates are dotted about fairly frequently and allow you to change your load-out. I tended to go with a scoped assault rifle along with either a sniper rifle or RPG, but the choice is yours. Your team mates will help out, but they're hardly crack shots. While you don't want them to take out all the enemies on their own, at times you'll see them shooting round after round at an enemy, until you have to step in and take the shot yourself.
Depending on the difficulty level and how many collectables you go after, the 13-level campaign will take anywhere from six to 10 hours to complete. It doesn't feel short, but it's not an epic adventure either. The end credits aren't the end of the game, though, with the multiplayer component likely to be where most gamers will get their money's worth. With four game modes, 10 maps (as long as you enter a VIP code), a maximum of 24 players, squad mechanics, weapon and player ranking, four classes and individual specialisations, this is a multiplayer experience that rivals that in Modern Warfare 2.
Rush, the attack or defend game mode seen in the original Bad Company, returns, but is joined by Conquest, another large-scale game type. Whereas Rush features a number of crates that need to be detonated (with you either working to blow them up or to stop the opposition from doing so), Conquest is all about controlling territory. Both these game modes allow for the maximum 24 players and are the best if you want to use vehicles such as the tanks and choppers. While 12-player teams might seem daunting for some, the new squad mechanic means you can join up with three other players and work together, even spawning into squad mate locations.