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‘Bad Company 2’: Good multiplayer gaming

Electronic Arts has presented “Battlefield: Bad Company 2” as a legitimate challenger to Activision’s blockbuster “Modern Warfare” series.

That’s a lofty goal and the equivalent of picking a fight with the biggest bully in school.

But EA and developer DICE knew what they had on their hands to believe they could release a game on the same level as last year’s “Modern Warfare 2.”

They were right.

“Bad Company 2”, which was released March 2, is a threat to Activision’s cash cow. I’m not sure it’s a better game, but it certainly comes close enough to potentially steal a sizeable base of players from “Modern Warfare 2.”

DICE corrected most of the issues with “Bad Company” and created a more streamlined campaign mode. Although it’s pretty short, the sequel’s campaign did away with much of the fluff from the original.

The comedic elements remain, but the developers focused more on the gameplay this time around. The campaign still isn’t as sharp as the ones from the “Modern Warfare” series, but it’s a substantial upgrade. “Bad Company 2” lags a little behind with its graphics and cinematics.

What doesn’t lag is the game’s multiplayer experience.

“Modern Warfare” has the brand recognition, which will keep some gamers from ever venturing out of that comfort zone to try a different option. But as good as that game’s multiplayer is, “Bad Company 2” has a better one.

EA doesn’t give gamers as many maps out of the gate as Activision, but the massive maps feel much more detailed. What pushes “Bad Company 2” ahead of its rival, however, is the ability to control vehicles and the inclusion of destructible environments.

Vehicles have been a staple of all games in the “Battlefield” series, not just with the recent “Bad Company” iterations. Including vehicles adds differing strategies to the way you play the game.

I can’t understand how destructible environments don’t come standard in shooters. I remember when “Black” was one of the first games to include this in 2006, I thought it would become a regular feature. It still hasn’t, but both “Bad Company” games have included it, and the feature really shines in the sequel. It heavily alters the way you play multiplayer games, because you can literally go rip down buildings to get to an enemy. That wall that you’re safely hiding behind can be blown apart.

I’m pretty certain that “Bad Company 2” won’t have comparable sales to “Modern Warfare 2.” It just doesn’t have the same market saturation. But no matter what it sells, “Bad Company 2” is very nearly the equal of “Modern Warfare 2,” and it has a better multiplayer mode, which I wasn’t sure was possible until I played it.

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