As video games become increasingly more realistic our expectations grow. Take Battlefield Bad Company for example. You can totally destroy the side of a building, yet you can't take the whole building down, and that makes us disappointed. For as technically impressive as Bad Company is, we wanted more. That doesn't stop it from being the first excellent single-player game in the Battlefield series. It's an enjoyable, action packed and explosive campaign, and bolstered by some excellent multiplayer, but how does it stack up to current favourite Call of Duty 4?
Bad Company casts you as the newest member of a four-man squad, expectedly named Bad Company. After a very short journey on the back of a truck all hell breaks loose and you're in the thick of action. Although level based, with the action moving from one location to another via load screens, each level is large and set in a fully explorable mini open world. Objective locations are fixed but how you approach each situation is up to you, allowing you to manoeuvre around the side of a target or take it head on.
Soon enough doing the right thing goes out of the window, with a huge amount of gold being the new reason to keep fighting. The storyline touches on serious issues but for the most part veers towards the comedy side of the fence, with team mates often making jokes and the sense of danger never as strong as you might expect. The action is often pretty intense and death will occur frequently, but at every possible opportunity the tension is lowered by a one liner.
What also helps make Bad Company feel very different to the impending doom of Call of Duty 4 is how death doesn't mean you're thrown back to a checkpoint. If you fail to complete a time sensitive objective then there's no option but to restart, but death at any other time will simply see you re-spawn at the last save point, with the action continuing from where it left off. It's reminiscent of the Vital Chambers in BioShock and, although lessening the difficulty somewhat, makes for a game that never gets bogged down.
Of course, dying is still annoying, especially if you've got a trek to get back in the middle of the action, so it's essential that you stay on top of your health. Throughout the game you have unlimited use of a health pack injector, restoring you to full health anywhere on the battlefield. Its use is restricted somewhat by a recharge time, so it's impossible to rely entirely on it, but before too long you'll have mastered the ability to select it, inject, and then switch back to your main weapon.
Speaking of weapons, Bad Company features quite a few, although you can only carry one primary set and a secondary weapon. Your primary set is often a machine gun that also doubles as grenade launcher (ideal for blowing holes in buildings), but you'll get access to a Sniper rifle and handgun combo, or automatic weapon and grenade combo. Your secondary weapon usually depends on the situation. At times you'll be carrying an RPG or C4 charges, but at other times you can take a more distant approach and mark a target for an air strike. There is certainly no shortage of variety in Bad Company.
Being a Battlefield game vehicles obviously play a big part too, although it's slightly disappointing that for the most part you can't take the gunner position. It's not that the game doesn't allow it (you can easily switch seats) but that your team mates don't take over the driving, making you a sitting duck. One section of the game features a lengthy helicopter section (which thankfully lets you fly and shoot at the same time), but other than that you're mainly restricted to driving, be it a jeep, truck or boat.