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Hands-on | Battlefield: Bad Company 2 – Onslaught

Charged…

Format: Xbox 360/PS3 | Genre: FPS | Publisher: EA | Developer: DICE | ETA: 02/06/10 (360) 16/06/10 (PS3)

Back to the battlefield once more, as Mark Brown takes BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2 – ONSLAUGHT for a test ride.

FORGET WAGGLING controllers, ‘freemium’ Facebook games and intrusive DRM, the most pervasive trend in modern gaming is the horde mode. Typically delegated to a bonus mode, and best played with friends, these enemy-rush style spin-offs have been in more games than zombies, Nazis and collectible dog tags combined.

I mean, take ODST’s Firefight, Gears of War’s Horde Mode, World at War’s Nazi Zombies and Splinter Cell’s Last Stand. A few pals, hunkered down as an endless rush of enemies attempt to take your life. They’re absolutely futile too, as only death awaits you: it’s just a matter of seeing how long you can stave off the pearly white gates.

Battlefield’s upcoming Onslaught mode isn’t quite so macabre, thankfully. There is an end state that doesn’t involve your slow and painful death at the hands of eternally respawning enemies. And hunkering down isn’t productive either, because you’ll need to advance from checkpoint to checkpoint to clear the stage.

In retrospect, it’s not much like those horde modes at all. Well, that’s three paragraphs wasted.

Good company

But, and more importantly, it shares many of the same feelings present in those ubiquitous modes. The mechanics might be tweaked and your placement isn’t so static, but the constant bombardment of mortar shells, ceaseless whizzing of bullets and tidal waves of enemy forces are familiar ground.

Then there’s the camaraderie you share with your battle-hardened company (or in this case, a DICE developer, a journalist whose name I forget, and regular Resolution contributor Martin Gaston). It’s not the tactical, considered commands of a perfectly executed battle plan, but the frantic squawks of being overrun and overwhelmed.

And the enemies fill in with such bloodthirst and in such quantity that they might as well be zombies. They don’t appear from the mist or pop out of emergence holes, though; Battlefield’s armed goons either show up in tanks or, perhaps more terrifyingly, drop from the sky. With parachutes, obviously. Not because of some weird bug.

Plan of attack

Unlike Call of Duty, with its mix and match perks, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 sticks more closely to predefined class layouts. They make their way into Onslaught mode, and with only four people on the team, a diverse squad makes more sense than ever.

Each class complements the others. An infantry gunner shoots dudes in the face, a medic heals him, a heavy weapons guy deals with vehicles and a sniper holds back for cover. Its hardly Team Fortress 2, but having four different styles of play will certainly improve your chances of victory.

And each of the four levels is different too, impacting your strategies and keeping things fresh. The dusty dunes of the Atacama Desert focus on vehicular warfare, while Nelson Bay is all about infantry assault.

So with about 17 thousand horde modes out there, should you bother with Battlefield’s? Mostly, the answer lies within your current Bad Company play time. It’s not quite revolutionary enough to get you back in the fray after months of absence – and that’s assuming you can even convince three other pals to shell out. But if you’ve still got at a dedicated Battlefield unit salivating for more content, it’ll do just nicely.

1 Comment

    Interesting, though I won’t be shelling out any money for this mode. To be frank, I’ve played a couple of missions in the single player campaign, and I was pretty unimpressed. There’s something I can’t quite put me finger on, something wholly unsatisfying and shallow playing against the AI in BC2.

    Multiplayer, on the flip side, is great. I’m playing on the PC, and it’s bizarre, but this, to me, is a much more focused, more evenly paced experience than any of the previous PC-exclusive Battlefield games. It’s an unusual position, but, on this occasion, the technical restraints on consoles have actually helped produce a better, less frustrating game, and possibly the best Battlefield iteration yet – on any platform.

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