13
Dec
09

Last Stand At Bravo

Impressions from the Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Beta

At every stage the enemy has overpowered us, driving us further and further back behind our own lines. Our forward base fell easily, lost amid the confusion of approaching M1 Abrams and sniper fire. For a while we held them at the town, cutting through their lines with mounted KORN missiles and .50 cal turrets. Despite our efforts a scouting party were able to slip past our defense and plant charges in our base. We fell back but they took the bridge easily. By the time we’d retreated back to the harbour fatigue was creeping in. They sent waves of attackers to puncture our defense and it didn’t take them long to wear us down. We have retreated as far as we can. 6 of us are now holed up in the second of our two remaining bases, on the second floor of an abandoned industrial building. The enemy will be here in a matter of seconds. They have the numbers and the heavy ordinance; but we still have our weapons… And we have resolve.

I never really enjoyed the Conquest mode of the original Battlefield: Bad Company. In it you had two teams: the defenders had to defend gold crates while the attackers had to destroy them. If they did this in a limited number of spawns they would take that base, regain a number of spawns and push up to the next base. If they could do this to all 5 bases on a map they won the game. My not enjoying it isn’t really the fault of the game mode, or even the maps included with the game: it was mostly because I couldn’t find a class I enjoyed enough to stick with. I either ended up ignoring the subtleties of each class, and thus being a bad teammate or just picking sniper and feeling that familiar cold disinterest in the overall fight itself while I concentrated on finding a good safety bush from which to annoy people. Battlefield: Bad Company 2’s beta consists of one map running that exact same mode (except the targets are now generic control points, the game having dropped the gold run theme of its predecessor). We (meaning my flatmate, my brother and I) have been playing it for most of this last week and I’ve finally taken a shine to the mode. It helps that the map they’ve included has produced some of the tensest final moments I’ve experienced in an online game in a long time. It helps more that the medic is now worth a damn.

Of course it will surprise no one that knows me that I’m back singing the praises of a medic class but for the last stand at Bravo to have any chance of working every one of the 6 to 8 people that will generally camp out up in the map’s final control point needs to be using their chosen class to full capacity. If the medic’s not reviving the defenders, if the assault class isn’t dropping ammo for the snipers and if those snipers aren’t killing people then the point will fall and the game is lost. It’s also essential to have a squad member or two staying up their with you so, if you do die, you can respawn straight back into the base.

As a medic my job is simple. I lay a health pack by the control point and another at the far end of the building, where the snipers hide out. If someone else on our floor is killed then self-preservation is out of the window and I have to jump in with the paddles to get them revived before they’re forced to spawn outside the base. If someone on the ground floor, the home of Alpha station, is killed then they’re on their own. In between all this I have to try and actually kill people. The medics gun is large, has lots of recoil but also a large clip. This means that kills are few and far between but often just hitting the enemy is enough. This not only ensures they are weakened when one of the ground troops spot them, but it also marks their position for every defender to see, allowing a sniper to get a fix on them. When we’re all working together the points start to rack up dramatically.

+20 Assist
+10 Heal
+10 Heal
+20 Squad Heal
+20 Squad Heal
+40 Critical Assist
+50 Kill
+50 Revive
+10 Heal
+10 Heal
+50 Kill
+50 Avenger Kill
+50 Squad Revive

Those last 3 came from a glorious moment when an enemy managed to make his way up the stairs to the control point. He’d killed my squadmate, a fellow medic, but in the general confusion all I saw was the icon on the minimap marking a revival opportunity. I get out the paddles, run to the corpse and jump in, reviving my teammate and electrocuting his killer to death in the process.

At 70 respawns to go the task seems insurmountable, it gives the attackers too many attempts to break your defence. At 40 the adrenaline is starting to surge. You still don’t think you stand a chance, but part of you dares to believe you might just hold them off. Eventually, assuming it has all gone right for you (and it often doesn’t) you look at the enemies spawn counter and see the number 14. That’s the point at which you know you’re going to win the fight.

They destroyed Alpha base. As a ground level point with no real cover to speak of it was inevitable, but still it means the enemies entire efforts will be redoubled onto us. More of our side have joined us now, having fled the burning wreckage of Alpha. Cover is low, most of the walls have been blown out by tank fire, and one of the new arrivals, unaware of the snipers nest half a klick to the north, takes one to the chest. Keeping as low as possible I run over to him, using rubble and debris as makeshift cover. No pulse. I pull out my paddles and charge my mobile pack. I smile darkly as I contemplate shouting ‘Clear’ in a room packed with soldiers pinned down by sniper fire. On the second paddle he emits a sharp, loud, surprised cough, covering me in blood. He notices the celebrations before I do, my ears rendered deaf through the sound of my own heartbeat. The room is cheering, the enemy has retreated back. For now, we have won.

It’s taken one map and a more robust class system and already I’m enjoying Battlefield: Bad Company 2’s online mode far more than I do Modern Warfare 2’s. Of course, being brilliant won’t help with the legions of people who only ever seem to buy Call of Duty games but, even without them, 2010 is looking like a great year for last stands.

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