Cathode Tan - Games, Media and Geek Stuff
logo design by man bytes blog

Friday, July 04, 2008

Game Play: Bad Company Multiplayer

Breaking radio silence. As aside, I haven't done that kind of concentrated coding in some time. It felt kinda good in that tiring don't want to do it again for some time kinda way.

I've managed to spend a little more time with the full version of Bad Company's online mode. I stated earlier that the single player stacks up well, not exactly a AAA shooter but certainly worth some attention. The online mode, however, feels like the kind of evolution I would have wanted from the Battlefield series when I first tried it and put it down so many years ago. This iteration feels less spawn point obsessed, less vehicle obsessed and far more balanced.

Bad Company's multiplayer is a slight twist on domination point style play where attackers are trying to destroy a pair of crates (full of tasty gold bars) in succession until they clear the map. The defenders are trying to stop them. It's simple enough for people to learn the basics in a few rounds and the sandbox mechanics from the single player allow for plenty of variation.

This is a solid recipe for online games these days. While I appreciate more complicated dynamics - they require more time for players to master and increase the amount of frustrated noobs crashing tanks into walls. While everyone would like to see tighter squad mechanics - it's often hard enough to get two people to work together than four.

Instead, Bad Company keeps players working in tandem by allowing spawns to occur wherever your squad happens to be. Provided that the whole squad doesn't get wiped out right away, this means that you press the line consistently without a lot of guesswork. In addition to this, as you spot enemy soldiers and vehicles - they'll show up on your mates' HUDs as well.

Add in the tight weapon mechanics, unlockable ranks and weapons, and some great vehicle physics and you have a game which is fun even when you're team is falling behind. Unlike previous incarnations of the subgenre, there's little risk of a handful of players camping vehicle spawns and dominating the game (or simply crashing repeatedly).

It's not all wonderful, though. The invite method (at least for the PlayStation 3) leaves much to be desired. There doesn't seem to be a very friendly way to leave the game in between rounds. The PlayStation 3's support for VOIP seems to result in a series of ghostly burbles coming through your speakers.

And while the current squad mechanics work fairly well, there's still a feeling that it could be more. Whether it lacks a commander role that could paint onto the squad's HUD or bark commands, I'm not sure - but I'm willing to wait for the next version to see how it evolves.

Easily recommend.

No comments: