Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Digital Illusions takes the good fight online
The Battlefield series has become a huge success for Electronic Arts and developer Digital Illusions, with the Bad Company spin-off series in particular faring extremely well on home consoles.
Famed for its sensational graphics engine that enables impressive deformation of virtually everything in the game, its slick single-player campaign and genuinely excellent online multiplayer, it’s somewhat gratifying to learn that this new iPad release does everything it can to capture the authenticity of the home console originals.
If you’re already played Battlefield: Bad Company 2 on iPhone you’ll already have a good idea of what to expect, as this is, aside from a £4 price difference, is exactly the same game that is already available on iPhone, albeit with greatly improved graphics.
They advantage of a full-sized, high-resolution version of Digital Illusions’ game will be easily worth the extra pennies. While it obviously can’t hope to compete with the graphical magnificence of the home ports, this iPad nevertheless looks good, although it lacks the sheen of more recent offerings.
The draw distance is very good (which comes in extremely handy during online play) the animation throughout is spot-on, while the environments are nicely detailed and full of character.
Predictably, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 does fall down in one key area. Namely in its control interface. No matter how many first-person shooters we play on the iPad, they’re always let down by cumbersome controls and Battlefield is no different.
Neatly dividing the screen into two invisible areas, the left hand side controls your movement, while the right lets you view the game world. Shots are fired by simply tapping the right side of the screen, while grenades, crouching/entering cover, reloading and switching weapons are all handled by tapping or swiping at the relevant onscreen icons.
It’s a relatively straightforward system, and for the most part works perfectly well, but as more enemies appear on screen, it becomes tougher and tougher to move and aim as quickly as you need to, without fumbling the controls, or inadvertently throwing a grenade.
Fortunately, the AI is fairly pedestrian on all but the hardest difficulty setting and the ability to change both your turning speed and change the position of various icons does make things easier after a bit of practice. Which is handy, as Battlefield throws plenty of enemies at you across its 14 varied levels.
The levels themselves are fairly linear in structure and often require you to follow simple objectives that range from blowing up specific vehicles, to clearing sections of enemies, but the fast-paced and arcadey approach to the gameplay doesn’t really make this a problem.
Far more worrying is the AI of your companions when they show up. They’re completely blasé about being in battle for the most part, and in many sections will simply stroll forward to the next checkpoint, as the battle rages around them.
Luckily, there’s enough cool set pieces and variety – driving vehicles, which control surprisingly well – to keep you entertained through its surprisingly lengthy solo campaign.
Another nice touch is the fun multiplayer mode, which supports up to 10 players. Playable locally, via BlueTooth and online, it’s a surprisingly robust and enjoyable experience that’s only really let down by its lack of levels (currently 3) and the fact that you can’t use vehicles.
It might lack the sheer bombast and bravado of the home consoles, but Battlefield still manages to be great fun on Apple’s iPad. Just make sure you get to grips with the controls.
Yes the controls let it down somewhat, but there’s enough action via its single player and online modes to justify the price point.
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