I've gotten burned out on the Call of Duty series, so a co-worker recommended I pick up Battlefield: Bad Company 2. I must say, this game has exceeded my expectations in almost every way: the team play is rock solid, the "new" game style (new for me) is refreshing, and the vehicles, in my opinion, are quite possibly one of the best parts of the game (though I REALLY DO wish the developers would add some kind of portable, self-guided AA weapon, like a Stinger or Javalin missile). This has to be one of the most realistic military shooters I've played in a while. I especially like how the bullets drop due to gravity (which makes sniping a bit more challenging, yet *a lot* more gratifying when you can get that long distance head shot). There are, however, a couple of things I dislike about the game, so let me get those out of the way first, before I state some of the reasons why BF:BC2 is one of *the most* entertaining shooters of this year.
First off, I have no idea why the developers didn't add the ability to go prone. In real life, if someone is shooting at you, you're first reactions are probably going to be to drop to the ground to make your silhouette as small as possible. I understand how this might make "camping" a bigger issue, but there are so many things in the game that seem to discourage it (including the fact that the maps are so large), that I feel it shouldn't have been an issue. Another thing I found odd, is that unlike most games, there is no button or "action" to climb through windows. Not a huge problem, but definitely inconvenient at times (one work-around is to jump on the window sill, and then crouch to go through it, but it's tricky and takes a little practice). Finally, I wish that you could "take cover" and peek around corners (much like you can in Gears of War), though I guess that's just one of those "niceties" that are a personal preference. Anyways, on to the good parts.
Right off the bat, I think one of the many things I find appealing about BC2 (especially when compared to CoD: MW2) is how they quasi-limit what each class can equip, which I feel like prevents people from creating "super troopers" that can dominate the entire game. Speaking of which, something that used to *drive me nuts* is how it seemed like one person could win the entire match for their team (which has never made sense to me). In Battlefield BC2, it relies on, and fairly generously rewards especially in reguards to your own squad, the team players (as in those players who perform actions that benefit the team), which is much more realistic than everyone trying to go in like some kind of Rambo/Bourne "Army of One" (just ask anyone in the military and they'll tell you that is they first thing they train you not to do). Although it requires a different mindset from most First Person Shooters (and just FYI, it definitely helps if you have a squad full of friends you can talk to, instead of some random PUG), I've seen it work on many occasions, and in my opinion, creates a much more interactive and interesting game. Secondly, the destructible buildings are a HUGE win. Although it can suck when you're trying to take cover in a building that all of a sudden comes crashing down on you, it adds another layer of realism to an already immersive environment. Finally, I *really* like how intuitive and easy they made the game for linking up with your friends in multiplayer. I would have to argue that it's one of the best interfaces I've seen lately, making it very easy to start a squad with your friends and then connect to a game together, or you can just pick up in the middle of whatever game/squad they're already in (assuming, of course, there's room).
All in all, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 has definitely changed the way I think about and view what a FPS (and for that matter, a military-styled FPS) should be. I think this game has raised the bar, and hopefully set the standard, as to what is possible in a vast, multifaceted, interactive world where you almost feel like you're in the middle of a real war. I was very tempted to give this game 5 stars, but I'm pretty selective/picky when it comes to giving out "perfect scores", and feel that there were enough (very) minor issues to prevent me from doing so; however, if I could give it a 4.9, I would. If you're looking for an alternative to the repetative "run & gun" shooters that a lot of companies seem to be trying to emulate and/or imitate, I *highly* recommend you pick up Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and give it a try.