Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Xperia Play Review
Developer: Digital Legends/EA
Publisher: Sony Ericsson/EA Mobile
Available on: Xperia Play Mobile Devices
The Xperia Play has been out for a while now and whilst the gaming library was a little thin at release, it has now swelled to offer a good variety of games from a number of mobile publishers. Masters of imitation, Gameloft have done their fair share, optimizing the best of their current roster to work with the added controls that the Xperia brings to the table. Now it seems every other week another publisher is opening their very own Android store and one of the latest is Electronic Arts very own, Flexion Store.
EA’s blockbuster First Person Shooter got its original mobile release on the iPhone back in December 2010. The Android release is currently exclusive to the Xperia play and whilst the content is almost identical to the iOS release, the new controls offer an improved experience.
Battlefield Bad Company 2 on mobile is a fully fledged First Person Shooter. The single player campaign contains 14 action packed missions which explore a number of locations and mission types, and the various mission types range from fast paced run and gun action, to intense vehicle missions and some sneaky sniper play slotted in-between to mix thing up. It feels like developer Digital Legends were trying to fit every single stereotypical first person mission type into the mobile platform to almost say; “look at us, we can create this awesome content for a mobile device!”.
For the most part Digital Legends do a good job, gun-play feels good and speaking of guns, there are a good variety to play around with. Not every gun from the console/PC version of Bad Company 2 is included but there seems to be at least one or two firearms from each class to represent.
Story is not something we normally associate with mobile titles but Bad Company 2 is no ordinary title. In fact, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 has no edgy mobile name, the iOS and Android version are just that, different versions of a game just like PC and Console. In the mobile version you are still up against the Russians with your Bad Company comprising of Hags, Sarge, Sweetwater, and your character Preston. The major difference is that you play a complete side story, parallel to the events first told on the console/PC.
Whilst the story is fleshed out with cutscenes and dialogue, it is ultimately forgettable. Shoot a room full of bad guys here, plant some C4 over there. It is all rather meaningless in the long run and by the time you have finished you won’t remember why you started.
Graphically the game looks great on the Xperia Play. You can really tell that this is a Bad Company game. Weapons actually look like their high-definition counterparts, whilst enemies and squad mates alike are instantly recognizable. Seeing Sarge for the first time is like meeting an old friend, all be it a lower-poly, lower-res version.
Visually Bad Company 2 stands up well and often above similar titles on the platform, such as Modern Combat 2. Textures in EA’s title contain more detail and are far smoother than Gameloft’s take on the mobile shooting. It is the little things that ultimately count towards the wow factor. Little things such as dust clouds appearing when stray bullets clatter into the environment and the inclusion of an animated sky-box to bring the skyline to life.
Yes Bad Company 2 on mobile is a decent game, but the first person genre is nothing new to mobile. Players have often had to battle with their device tapping a number of on-screen controls to complete the simplest of tasks; but no more! The Xperia Play introduces conventional controls with triggers that allow for quick aim and shooting, face buttons which offer easy access to grenades, and a D-Pad which is used to change weapons, fire type and toggle crouch/standing positions. It is all rather good until you get the the analogue touch pads.
The left pad actually works rather well allowing for quick movement around the battlefield, but unfortunately the same cannot be said for the right pad which controls aim. Using the right pad to aim seems quite erratic at first and does take some getting used too. You are however not confined to the touch pad, as the touch screen can be employed for aiming, but even this has its own faults.
The control scheme is good but could have been better. Customization options are available but only for the touch screen controls. The end result is that even hardcore gamers are likely to leave the assisted aim option on, because without it, Bad company 2 can be a frustrating and choppy experience.
With 14 missions lasting roughly 5-15 minutes long, Bad Company 2 on the Xperia Play is a short lived experience. The game costs £5 but is free for the first hour, so you can try before you buy. It’s possible that some super speedy gamers can even complete a large chunk, if not the whole of the campaign in the free hour which is a little worrying on the business side of things for EA. There is an achievement system in place and a challenge to find enemies wearing colourful berets which does add some replay value but not much.
The multiplayer mode which features on the iOS version has been forsaken and is no where to be seen on the Xperia. The mode would have added some much needed longevity but has not been deemed worthwhile this time around. To be honest who plays multi-player on a mobile phone after the novelty wares off?
VERDICT: So is Battlefield Bad Company 2 worth a full purchase on the Xperia Play? We certainly recommend that you take advantage of the one hour free trial, but if you are looking for a full purchase then perhaps you should try Gameloft’s Modern Combat 2. It doesn’t look as nice as Bad Company 2 but its lasts longer, has a greater range of controls and features a fully fledged online multi-player mode.