How DICE Failed Against Infinity Ward

Time to take the Bad Company 2 Fanboyism down a notch

Let’s get this out of the way: I’m a big fan of Bad Company 2, and it’s been a God-Send to my PS3. Modern Warfare 2 failed me on so many levels that I ended up starving for my Multiplayer fix. The constant hacks, glitches, gameplay issues, and lack of cohesion left me unsatisfied in Modern Warfare 2. All this has lead to an insurmountable amount of hype riding on Bad Company 2. It’s prequel barely got noticed when it debuted on consoles, and for good reason too: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was a much stronger game. Naturally, that success went on to the backs of Infinity Ward who were expected to outperform their first title with Modern Warfare 2. As noted above, the game went terribly wrong and numerous fans turned their backs on the series much like how Infinity Ward turned their backs on them. And as much as I do dislike Modern Warfare 2, and as much as EA has capitalized on being that new prophet for the faithless FPS fanbase, DICE failed in numerous areas too. That’s not to say that their game is bad, but with all that talk and comparison to Modern Warfare 2 something was bound to go wrong. You know the saying: the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Consider this a slice of Humble Pie.

1)      Poor Launch

Bad Company’s blessing in disguise or wolf in sheep’sclothing (depending on your perspective) has been their launch. Unlike 1943 DICE made sure to expect huge numbers for their games. Unfortunately, they failed to have a smooth launch as evident by the numerous PC issues and the Playstation in-game store not working.

“We Didn’t Know We Would Be so Successful”

Both of these present huge issues: PC gamers are a vocal bunch. Infinity Ward turned their back on them, and PC fans will do their damnedest to tell you that they were the ones who got them to the success they have today. One look at the official forums shows how riled the community is. Combine that with the fact that PC gamers have a natural tendency to claim ownership to the Battlefield franchise and you have a very hurt, and furious community. The PC launch was riddled with crashes, networking issues, getting kicked instantly from games, etc. that lacked on consoles. When it comes to the Playstation, the piracy-fighting “In Game Store” that EA launched failed to work for a good week or two. The problem: Inability to access the pre-order incentives for gamers that purchased at GameStop/EB Games. Early access to a fully fledged mode (Squad Rush) and access to a weapon that was unattainable due to some misunderstanding between Sony and DICE . Not only did gamers fail to access their codes but by the time EA had fixed the store gamers had already unlocked the pre-order incentives by playing the game.

Compare that to Modern Warfare 2, and EA failed to properly manage the launch which left PC fans betrayed and PS3 gamers impatient.

2)      Limited Friend Options

Modern Warfare 2 may be full of issues, but at least you can play with friends, and a whole lot of them. Bad Company 2 lacks the ability to invite a large group of friends to play in public servers. Rather, you are only able to invite three friends to form a squad of 4 (On consoles) to join public servers. Where is the ability to form multiple squads before entering a game? Nowhere. That’s right: You can only play with three friends at a time. There *is* a trick around this, though it requires luck and cumbersome managing. Suppose you have that one extra friend who’d like to play with you. There are two ways for him to join: A) He can join you and your friends while already playing a game, provided that the servers aren’t full, and that you end up on the same team. Note however squad chat will strip him of the ability to communicate with you. Alternatively, you can do B) Leave your squad of friends, and send him an invite, once again providing that there is enough room on your team and that the servers aren’t full. Of course, splitting your squad means you wont chat with your first squad.

Friends. Hopefully You Only Have Three.

This simply is ridiculously frustrating for a game that prides itself on teamwork. The irony of it is that though Modern Warfare 2 lacks any encouraged sense of teamwork, it at least allows for complete communication and the ability to play with at least 8 of your friends on the same team.

Fortunately, you are able to start private party matches, inviting as many friends as you’d like, though if you plan on having an exciting game you’ll have to hope that you have enough friends that will join. You’ll need a certain amount just to start the game, and then you’ll have to expect to have a decent amount to make the large battlefield games exciting. Then there are the lack of options. The lack of Squad modes are a dumbfounding decision as you’d think playing with friends on a private match would have these modes first. Rather, private matches are stripped of any form of house rules and very basic.

Compare it to Modern Warfare 2 where private matches have a good list of adjustable options, and the ability to invite a whole room of friends to a public game.

3)      Takes Steps Back like Modern Warfare 2 Did

A complaint you’ll often see from Battlefield fans is that Bad Company 2, in its attempts to compete with Modern Warfare ended up becoming like them.

Considering the following:

a) Lack of Direction in Conquest

If there is one issue old time Battlefield veterans are experiencing it is the surprising lack of cohesion in the Conquest mode. The lack of teamwork, the focus on killing, and the loss of incentive to capture flags have left this mode questionably turned on its head. What was once a game of using teamwork to capture flags has turned into a giant game of Team Deathmatch. No longer concerned with capturing flags (because doing so doesn’t drain the ticket meter at any significant rate in classic Battlefield style), players are focused on jumping into choppers, tanks, or flying solo as the dreaded recon player. What was once a mode that defined Battlefield’s reliance on teamwork has turned into Call of Duty’s obsession to achieve high KDR.

Because Trash Talking is Always Successful

Modern Warfare 2 ruined modes like Search and Destroy by, once again, making the focus on kills. Killstreaks carry over, defensive teams run around without a care about the objective, and nobody cares for teamwork in Modern Warfare 2. Conquest mode, Battlefield’s beloved heart of multiplayer aside from vehicular combat, has turned just into this. Without a better incentive to capture flags, Conquest mode is one of the biggest follies of Bad Company 2’s success, and a definite step back from what fans have come to love.

b) Modern Warfare Emulation

Though many do love the new knifing system, it’s an example that resonates from Modern Warfare. “L337″ players will be quick to point out the lack of skill required with pressing a button that auto-locks onto an enemy for a quick kill while praising the old system where you’d pull out a knife and run around the battlefield with it. And it’s not just the Auto-Knifing either: DICE’s “specializations” are clearly inspired by the perk system, and the smoother controls does eradicate the “Killzone 2″ type of responsiveness that Bad Company 1 was known for.

Bad Company 2 Fanboys: “Lawl, Perks are for Noobs…Oh Wait”

Though largely small changes, many fans consider this to be a step back, and a lack of creativity in order to tackle a more marketable FPS crowd. Personally? I don’t mind the specializations, nor the more responsive controls. A copy and paste of Modern Warfare, or simply smart design decisions? It may displease the fans who hate on Modern Warfare, but IW’s influence on DICE is well notable.

So there you have it. These reasons may not detract an average gamers experience, but its well notable. The fundamental issues of its multiplayer structure of modes, friends, and attempts to be like Modern Warfare have least stunted its aim to skyrocket above Infinity Ward’s game. It’s still one hell of a title and a definite relief from the issues of Modern Warfare but it’s not without its own anguish. It may not matter to the average gamer, but Bad Company 2 is not the perfect little title that fanboys may want one to believe. As much as I love trashing on Modern Warfare 2 I find that Bad Company 2 and EA’s consistent claims of beating Activision have come back to bite them.

For those Modern Warfare players looking to find fault with Bad Company 2’s impenetrable wall of fans, well here you have it.

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