More immediately playable are the Squad Deathmatch and Squad Rush game types. In Deathmatch up to four squads of four players compete against each other to try and reach the designated kill count first, while Squad Rush is a smaller scale 4 vs. 4 mode with the same attack and defend mechanic seen in the original Rush setup. If you want a different experience the Hardcore mode might be worth a look, but it's not for the feint hearted. Without cross-hairs, regenerating health, enemy icons and the ammo counter, Hardcore play is for the upper echelon only.
With the now essential ranking and awards system that Modern Warfare popularised, there's every chance you'll become hopelessly addicted to Bad Company 2's multiplayer mode. You'll probably need to put in at least 10 hours of play time just to get an idea of your favourite character class, with Medic, Assault, Recon and Engineer all having their good and bad qualities. Being a simpleton I went for assault most of the time, but players who use the support classes will level up quicker if they do their job well.
Tying together the whole package are some incredible production values. Audio work here is just as good, if not better, than it was in the already superb sounding original, and the visuals are at times genre leading. With huge draw distances, great destruction effects and top class lighting, the game world feels real. In the middle of combat you'll feel in real danger, the sense of being pinned down being greater here than in any other FPS I've ever played. What makes the visual splendour so much more impressive is the size of the levels. Bad Company 2 is a stunning game, one of the best of this console generation and only bettered by the likes of Crysis and Killzone 2.
Do you like first-person shooters? If the answer is yes, buy Battlefield: Bad Company 2. If there's a weakness it lies in the slightly brief single-player campaign, but the brilliant, potentially Modern Warfare 2 beating multiplayer more than picks up the slack. EA might be looking at its forthcoming Medal of Honor to get a Modern Warfare sized mega hit, but Bad Company 2 deserves good things too.