The Frag Limit

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 – The Importance of Sound
July 31, 2012, 11:18 am
Filed under: Side Strafe | Tags: , , , ,

Perhaps more than any other game Battlefield: Bad Company 2 requires gamers to pay special attention to sound and the aural environment.  This is particularly true when playing the “hardcore” squad deathmatch gamemode.  In hardcore SQDM, players must use their listening abilities to do a range of a number of different things – from finding enemies to developing offensive tactics to simply staying alive.  The sound is so important in this gamemode because there are no objectives required other than to simply kill the enemy squad members.  Players must focus on things like locating, surprising, routing out and ultimately attacking the enemy instead of doing such things as planting a bomb or capturing an objective.  This shift in gameplay coupled with a game environment that relies heavily on the absence of almost all HUD elements gives gamers a perfect arena to hunt, track and slay enemy opponents.

The use of sound in this multiplayer FPS is quite unique.  Not only is it one of the first games to really focus on delivering a cinematic, high-definition aural experience, but it is also one of the first games to promote the importance of sound as a tool for winning online battles.  Sure other games in the past have had decent sound (like the Call of Duty series) and sure other games have used sound as a gameplay device, but no other game has done it this well and to this extent.  The sound quality in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is by far the best for any multiplayer FPS to date and the use of sound as a tool is also seminal.  Indeed, some of the greatest multiplayer FPS experiences this blogger has had to date has come from playing Battlefield: Bad Company 2’s hardcore squad deathmatch.

While the more popular Conquest and Rush gamemodes in Bad Company 2 are fun and engaging, nothing comes quite as close to the immediate and extremely personal experience of hardcore squad deathmatch.  In this gamemode everything is real.  The space you occupy is no longer virtual.  Instead, you are “in the game” and the incredibly detailed maps with their lush, sun-lit landscapes consume you.  The sound of a firefight off in the distance piques your interest and gives you a beacon to seek through the fog of war.  The clap of a sniper rifle signals the presence of a recon in the building next to you – hadn’t it been so loud you would have never known how dangerously close he really was.  In another instance, you are in a forest and standing still for a moment you can hear some bushes rustling up ahead – the enemy has just revealed their position.  Little scenarios like these pepper the hardcore squad deathmatch gamemode in Bad Company 2 and give the whole experience something vastly more than the sum of its parts.

This gamemode is a totally different game altogether from the more popular parts of the Battlefield series.  This gamemode isn’t about strength or firepower or even strategy so much.  Instead, this gamemode is about tactics.  And these tactics are all about what you can see and, more importantly, what you can hear in the world immediately in front of you.  It’s not a world for the faint of heart and most players end up dismissing the gamemode as “too difficult” shortly after first playing it.  But for those who stick around, and except the brave new world of multiplayer gaming, it can be quite an amazing experience and not like one that gamers have ever experienced before.


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