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Hands-on: Battlefield: Bad Company 2 multiplayer beta


Announced yesterday, the multiplayer beta for EA and DICE's Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is going to give PS3 owners (and only PS3 owners) a one map appetizer on November 19 for the main course coming March 2, 2010. The beta features one match type -- Rush, a version of Bad Company's Gold Rush ... only without the gold -- and takes place in the sun-baked seaside locale of Arica Harbor.

Last week, we took part in a 24-player stress test for the beta (the version coming Nov. 19 will support 24 players, as will the final game) and came away rattled but ready for more. You can read about how it all went down after the break.

Gallery: Battlefield: Bad Company 2 -- Arica Harbor | 5 Photos

The battle commenced outside of a military installation, with the target crates housed deep behind walls impervious to destruction. The attackers got access to M1 Abrams tanks, Humvees and quad ATVs (hello, Halo 3?) while the defenders had the considerable fortifications to their advantage (not to mention multiple sniper towers with mounted machine guns).

We were on the US Army side for the match, making us the attackers. Despite a good amount of cover out in the field, the incoming fire and difficulty finding any opening -- even for snipers -- in their stronghold's outer defenses pretty much forced our team to form a moving wall of tanks and drive full-bore through the gates. It wasn't pretty, but the sheer amount of gung-ho ballsyness of it seemed to throw them off long enough to a couple of us to sneak in and destroy the objectives.

Next it was on to the main road headed for Arica Harbor. This wound down through a partially bombed out town where some of the larger buildings were in the process of being rebuilt -- think a ghost town where the tallest structures are not much more than frames and floors. This turned out to be prime real estate for snipers on both sides as our team -- armor and all -- was forced down what passed for a narrow main street.

We discovered portable terminals on the outskirts of the town, and, when we walked up and activated one, an unmanned drone helicopter appeared. We were able to take it up into the airspace above the town and remotely open fire on enemies holed up in the large warehouse-in-progress where the objective crates were.

We spent most of this battle as the sniper class, perched on one of the unfinished buildings and picking off our counterparts on the opposing team. They'd try to retreat into their buildings, but we'd figured out how to call in artillery strikes on locations by paining them with a laser. Still, our tactics weren't enough and we went into the next (and final) round defeated.

The "last stand" on the Arica Harbor map takes place at ... Arica Harbor. It's a maze of shipping containers and cranes, and the objectives that need to be destroyed are in there somewhere. This part of the map was all about close-quarters fighting, so we went medic and doled out health while using a snub-nosed machine gun on anyone silly enough to dash out from behind a container without looking first. It was intense, we died a lot but in the end we were victorious.

We can't wait to battle there again (and again, and again ... ) when the beta goes live in a couple of weeks. It's a really well designed map, and, as only a taste of what's to come, has us really eager to experience the rest of the maps Bad Company 2's multiplayer mode will have to offer.

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