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Battlefield: Bad Company 2

The B-Team?

EA DICE producer Gordon Van Dyke is talking about first-person shooters. "Nobody wants to be Charlie Brown," he says. "Everybody wants to be Snoopy."

Thankfully, he's not revealing the fruits of any alarming spitballing sessions by the backroom boys at DICE (Peanuts is clearly a BioWare MMO with a particularly over-developed morality system rather than a blaster anyway). Rather, he's explaining some of the problems players had with the original Bad Company's solo campaign: namely, that the studio spent a lot of time and effort portraying your character as an idiot in the opening scenes, before pitting you against a series of massive armies, and expecting you to pull off headshots and brilliant pincer movements like any other super-soldier.

"We definitely learnt that you feel that if there's a real sense of disconnection between what you're told the story is, and then how the game actually plays, everything suffers," laughs Van Dyke. "It's not a mistake we'll be making again."

So while Bad Company 2 features more of the same destructible terrain and fiercely-pitched gun battles, some subtle changes to the overall approach are easily spotted. The knockabout tone of the original is still intact and you can still expect charming, frat-buddy chatter from familiar team-mates - if anything, the cut-scenes are a little wittier than before - but the story's better at treating you with the respect you deserve.

In fact, the whole thing's rather intense: Russia's been building up its forces in South America and the US has waded in with guns blazing. Rumours are starting to emerge that canny old Ivan has a game-changing super weapon in development, and you're sent in to get it.

On the multiplayer front, Squad Rush has been unveiled - a pared-down Rush mode that limits headcounts to four against four, with pacy results.

It's a bold shift in scope, in other words, and it looks like a lot of fun. The trailer shows plenty of explosions, A-Team-grade stunts and one-liners - and that soundtrack by Queens of the Stone Age doesn't hurt either. But, thankfully, the narrative isn't the only thing that's getting a once-over. After all, playing the fool wasn't the only problem the first Bad Company had.

There are your team-mates, for starters. In the first game, Bad Company lived up to its name a little too often. They were good at trading quips, but the rest of your squad entered battles as if they'd spent the last few years training for the roller-derby rather than armed conflict: most of the time, they couldn't even hit the enemy, and on the spectacular occasions when they did make contact, the bullets didn't really do anything.

The enemy, on the other hand, could hit you with frightening accuracy half-way across the map when you were hiding in a tree. It certainly wasn't fair, and it often wasn't fun, either.

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Battlefield: Bad Company 2

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Christian Donlan avatar

Christian Donlan

Features Editor

Christian Donlan is a features editor for Eurogamer. He is the author of The Unmapped Mind, published as The Inward Empire in the US.