The seemingly never-ending deluge of big name games onto iOS continues with Battlefield Bad Company 2 (out now, $0.99) from EA Mobile. A surprisingly faithful mobile adaptation of the acclaimed PS3 and Xbox 360 First-person shooter, replete with the intense action, off-kilter humor, vehicular carnage and multiplayer deathmatches that title is known for, this bad boy just might put a bullet in the back of the competition this Christmas thanks to a too-good-to-pass-up introductory price-tag.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Battlefield series, the games follow the action-packed exploits of Private Preston Marlow and the other members of a team of rogue US soldiers turned mercenaries, that’d be the titular Bad Company, as they jet around the globe trading bullets and wisecracks with terrorists and toppling dictatorships.
The iPhone version’s fourteen missions (which clock in at roughly 4-5 hours of play-time) do a commendable job of crow-barring in the majority of the game’s trademark elements but, unfortunately, wind up feeling a bit formulaic, while the multiplayer side of things is woefully under-developed and disappoints.
First things first. Graphics wise, the game looks good, perhaps not Rage or Infinity Blade good, but y’know still rather impressive for an iPhone title. In-game environments, vehicle and character models are all nicely detailed, while the numerous cut-scenes have a pleasing big-budget action flick feel to them. Altogether less impressive is this title’s odd control scheme. Now, at this stage of the game, against all odds, developers have gotten touchscreen FPS controls pretty much down to a T, so it’s something of a strange move on EA’s part to suddenly rock the boat.
Nonetheless they do, opting for an unconventional default system that does away with an on-screen j-stick and buttons and essentially lops the screen in half, using the left hand side for movement and the right for aiming and shooting. All other actions – reloading, crouching, stealthy maneuvers, picking up items, etc, etc – are performed via on-screen icons. To be honest, I did eventually get to grips with this system, but found it to be overly awkward, confusing and clunky. Oh, and don’t get me started on trying to control the vehicles, suffice to say, you can expect any number of Austin Powers’ three point turn style moments.
These constant irritations really are a shame, because there is a solid game hidden in here somewhere. BF2 does boast well structured and diverse missions, sharp enemy AI, and a well-stocked arsenal of weaponry, while, even though manning them is a chore, the inclusion of vehicles is a nice touch. That being said, nothing truly stands out or feels remarkably fresh as you blast your way through the game.
While the singleplayer campaign is a decent length and features a good amount of varied action, sadly the area of the game that’s most likely to come under scrutiny in this post-Eliminate, NOVA and Modern Combat era, the online multiplayer, leaves a lot to be desired, offering up a paltry two maps and modes and lackluster 4-way matches. Should BF2 be a success though – and why wouldn’t it be when it’s selling for peanuts? – more content and additional features will undoubtedly be made available.
It does have its good points, but when all’s said and done, Battlefield Bad Company 2 doesn’t attempt to progress the FPS genre on this platform in the slightest and, as a result, it underwhelms. However, if I’m entirely honest, this probably has more to do with the staggering rate at which iOS gaming has evolved over the past few months than anything inherantly wrong with this particular title. In summation, this is by the numbers but fun.
iFanzine Verdict: On paper Battlefield Bad Company ticks all the right boxes, but the finished product feels a tad workmanlike and uninspired. Still given the game’s decent singleplayer campaign and, albeit basic, multiplayer modes, FPS fans will be hard pushed to get more bang for their buck (!) this festive season.