Joystiq hands-on: Bad Company 2 (multiplayer)

It took 45 minutes to peel myself out of the chair, ears ringing, and come back into the space where EA was hosting a recent preview event in Los Angeles. I'd finally pried myself away from an intense Battlefield: Bad Company 2 multiplayer session where I'd joined three other attendees and eight remote EA staffers in a characteristically chaotic, 12-on-12 battle. It was the most fun I'd had playing an online, multiplayer FPS in a long while.

The destructible environments, of course, are the returning gameplay gimmick, but it's still just as satisfying as in the first game to pulverize the foundation of a enemy's refuge, bringing the building down and a pesky sniper with it. I turned every building in site into piles of sheet rock and debris. It's not as much fun when your opponents aren't hiding inside, but I really didn't need much of an excuse to launch another mortar shell from inside my tank. No structure was safe.
%Gallery-43916% I opted for the cozy confines of the M-1 Abrams tank, mostly because I kept spawning near it, but there was a variety of vehicles to commandeer, from ordinary jeeps to a Blackhawk helicopter that could accommodate an entire five-solider squad.

Being the medic just isn't sexy.

I didn't get to test out the flying, since, the one time I did hop into a small chopper, the match ended just after liftoff. Still, quite a few folks seemed to be digging the view from above, as there was no shortage of players in the match who took to the skies.

I noticed that the medic is now equipped with shock paddles instead of magical health packs. While I loved knowing he was nearby to shock me back to life, I didn't actually embody the character myself. Being the medic just isn't sexy. At least, being the medic means you can't be the guy who blows everything up. Maybe the paddle action will entice people to give the ol' red-cross a whirl, but a medic only has ten seconds to locate a downed ally and administer the life-saving zap. Besides, the worst kind of medic is a dead medic, and I had plenty of trouble staying alive. I wonder if you can self-administer a jolt ... I need to check into that next time.


While we were confined to a single map, Snowbound, I enjoyed the multiplayer preview immensely. The map was dotted with plenty of nooks and crannies to seek shelter in, if only temporarily, and various mounted weapons to use. The game looked extremely polished, and the controls were solid both on foot and behind the wheel. Unfortunately, I didn't learn anything new about the single-player missions or get a taste of that patented Bad Company humor. The game is still a few months away, though, so we're expecting to see a lot more soon enough.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.