The announcement that Battlefield 2042 would not feature a single-player campaign has fueled an intense debate online as to whether or not this is a good thing or even a bad thing. Some say it’s the way battlefield games are meant to be presented while others see it as a reason to not pick up the game at all.
It reminded me of another Battlefield title that came out many years ago and also sparked a similar conversation. That game was Battlefield: Bad Company, a single-player focused first-person shooter that went directly to consoles and skipped the PC market that the franchise had become so familiar with.
While many were shocked to find that there would be no single-player campaign in 2042, Bad Company was the moment we were all shocked because a Battlefield game actually did include a campaign, and it wasn’t that bad. Some have even argued that it’s the best campaign the franchise has delivered.
So, before we launch into the next generation of Battlefield games, let’s slow it down and take a look at the first campaign that Battlefield introduced and see if it’s still as good today as it was over a decade ago. Without further ado, let’s see if Battlefield: Bad Company is still good in 2021.
BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY
So, What’s It All About?
Battlefield: Bad company puts you in the boots of Private Preston Marlowe, a fresh-faced soldier that finds himself reluctantly transferred to “B” Company. A four-man fireteam made up of some of the worst troublemakers the army has to offer. A special unit with soldiers that meant to do much except serve as cannon fodder.
Instead of sending unruly soldiers home or locking them up where they’ll be just as equally useless, they’re the first ones that get sent in when a mission is deemed to be too dangerous to risk some of the army’s better assets. That’s what earned them the name “Bad Company”
It’s no wonder that your squad is made up of some colorful characters, to say the least. On almost every mission, you’ll be accompanied by Sweetwater, Haggard, and Sergeant Redford. Four soldiers that each come with their own unique personality and worldview that clearly doesn’t fit in with the regular formal mannerisms of military life.
Preston is equipped with one Primary weapon and one pre-determined secondary weapon that’s usually a pistol, grenade, or grenade launcher, depending on which weapon you choose. There are also a number of utility options like C4, rocket launchers, and laser designators to help you dispatch every mob in your way.
Levels in this game are often wide and play out across a vast landscape, meaning there’s plenty of vehicle combat to accompany all the destruction and mayhem you’ll be dishing out on foot. Trucks, buggies with mounted machine guns, helicopters, and a fully equipped tank are all available for you to have fun with.
— Stevius Maximus (@SteviusM) June 19, 2021
Then What’s Good About It?
This was the game that first introduced us to DICE’s homegrown Frostbite Game Engine. A revolutionary piece of software that allowed 90% of the environment to be destroyed, including walls, roofs, vehicles, trees, to even the ground itself, and they used it to full effect in this game.
It’s an exhilarating sensation demolishing through walls to take out enemies instead of playing hide-and-go-seek around some form of cover. And when the tables have turned and you’re on the wrong side of a tank blowing holes into every wall you hide behind, it can get pretty intense.
Especially with the sound design in this game. It’s easy to get enveloped by the chaos as bullets start flying and everything explodes around you. Even the ambiance of the surrounding forests that you hear as you creep up to the next objective adds a layer of suspense that only a few games at the time could match.
What the game lacks in terms of an engaging plot, more than makes up for interesting characters that can carry the flimsy narrative all the way through the end. All the wise-cracks and witty one-liners that come spewing out in every cutscene were enough for me to ignore the fact that Preston is a bland and uninteresting protagonist.
And What’s Bad About It?
Battlefield: Bad Company is an old game, no doubt about that, but there’s are a lot of elements that completely break your immersion and remind you that you’re playing an old game. The Frostbite engine was revolutionary at the time but pushing that old console hardware to new heights did come with some compromise.
All that beautiful destruction meant that the Player FOV had to be restricted in order for the game to render properly resulting in a claustrophobic view that tried its best to hinder me at every turn. Especially since you’re moving around with some of the clunkiest controls I’ve experienced in a while
Not to mention the fact that the majority of the weapons available felt unpleasant to use. From shotguns to sniper rifles, I felt like I was tolerating a lot of the gunplay and not simply enjoying it. Even the sound design for these weapons felt lacking and failed in comparison to the brilliant audio everywhere else in the environment.
— Stevius Maximus (@SteviusM) June 19, 2021
Should You Play It?
DICE’s first attempt at a campaign was decent and it’s worth playing this game if you’d like to take a nostalgic look back and see just how far Battlefield campaigns have come since we first git introduced to them all those years ago. A new game is dues before the end of this year so there’s never been a better time to reacquaint with the franchise’s routes.
Especially since it and many more Battlefield titles are already available on Xbox Game Pass
Have you had the chance to play Battlefield: Bad Company? What did you think of DICE’s first attempt at making a campaign for a Battlefield game and what did you think of the announcement that 2042 wouldn’t feature one? Let me know in the comments section below.