Recently I played the single player demo of Battlefield: Bad Company. While opinions on the single player may be worthless for a game that everyone is anticipating for its multiplayer, such excuses don’t fly here at vl.
The fact is that Bad Company’s SP is the worst kind of worthless. It is a squad based military shooter with a four man group of cliches, and finicky aiming that comes nowhere near replicating Call of Duty 4’s smooth controls. It touts destructible environments, but my mortar rounds were never able to put a dent in any buildings, though running over a fence with a cargo truck makes it break apart in the most unrealistic, tech demo way.
Worse yet, in the demo level your squad won’t leave the truck you drive until you get to a destination marker, which places you in the middle of a town where every enemy can open fire on you. If you die the game doesn’t reset; all the enemies stay where they are, and you just drive right back into the fight so you can be pummeled again. Nothing proves your insanity like throwing yourself into the same bad situation without a chance to prepare ahead of time.
Oh, and when driving the truck you can change radio stations, just like in GTA! Bad Company is a bullet list of ideas from other games, rendered in 3d. I sincerely hope the multiplayer is worth it, because the SP was so bad it wasn’t even worth my time as a free demo.
As I write this, EA’s John Riccitiello hopes that Bad Company and this year’s other EA products get good reviews. Aside from the fact that I don’t like the boss of a company suggesting how his games should be rated, Mr. Riccitiello manages to make an interesting point. He feels EA is unable to achieve the cult of personality that other studios and game creators have achieved, which makes it impossible for EA games to get any sort of free pass in the games media.
There is some truth to this, as names like Rockstar, Kojima, and Team Ninja have a powerful impact when mentioned in a review. I would remind John however, that part of his company’s problem is that no one knows or cares much about EA’s many studios, which is why there is no attachment to them. I would also remind him that this is contrary to the original philosophy behind the EA of old.
The rest of the article shows why I have no sympathy for Riccitiello. He comments about how the internet allows anyone with a keyboard and an idea to type away some game criticism, and if they get popular enough, can screw up Metacritic ratings. Two things to take away from this:
1) Riccitiello reminds us how important Metacritic ratings are to corporate types, a situation I loathe.
2) Professional games journalists rarely prove their opinions and critiques are of greater merit than many amateurs. The reason Riccitiello wants their opinion to matter more is because they are easier to control.
I know this sounds like the hopeless rant of a nerd who hasn’t “made it big” in gaming, but it isn’t. I would love to have a group of trustworthy professional critics that I can rely on for good recommendations, but as it is, I get most of those from amateurs and from my own gut, and as long as that is the case, I will continue to slam games like Bad Company while no one listens to me.