BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY
(Electronic Arts; Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3; Teen)
Sure, both games may present spiffy depictions of 21st-century combat, but Battlefield: Bad Company is to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare what Kelly’s Heroes is to Saving Private Ryan. Which is to say that the soldiers in EA’s new military FPS have major attitude problems. They may be few, but they’re sure as hell not very proud. Neither are they very subtle: who needs stealth and precision when overwhelming firepower will do? Thankfully, the game accommodates this tactical philosophy — the environments are almost entirely destructible. If you can see it, chances are you can shoot it or blow it up. Of course, there is more to Bad Company than merely finding ways to maximize collateral damage (as fun as that may be). In many cases, it can give you a tactical advantage. If a foe hides behind a wall in a house, instead of storming in to get him, you can simply bring down the wall with a rocket launcher to expose him.
And don’t let Battlefield‘s comedic tone fool you: the game boasts a sturdy graphics engine, impressive sound effects, and a nicely calibrated learning curve. (Among the parts we wouldn’t mind seeing go AWOL are its strange health replenishments — a syringe right to the sternum straight out of Pulp Fiction — and the annoying tough A.I. of the enemy soldiers.) Still, the game is a keeper and we were especially impressed with its excellent online multiplayer modes. Multiplayer is what put previous Battlefield games on the map and with huge new maps and the ability to wage war with as many as 24 online players, it’s the reason we don’t mind being called Company men. B+ —Gary Eng Walk
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