In some ways, I think I would have made a good soldier. I’m completely amoral, have a good mind for tactics, and I’ve a hearty lust for bloodshed. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to listen, and have no innate sense of self preservation, so any real life military antics of mine would probably leave me with no jaw bone and a bag to piss in for the rest of my life. Fortunately, for America’s sake as well as my own, I have video games as a substitute.
Last night, my buddy had three X-Box 360’s set up on three different screens (Giant HDTV, Computer Monitor, and the now legendary Standard Def TV), each rocking their own copy of Battlefield: Bad Company 2. We also had a fourth friend joining our squad via the web. Kick the tires and light the fires.
Never played the campaign of any of the Battlefield games, and I don’t really care to. The heart of this game lies in the epic online war. There’s a real thrill when you’re standing back-to-back with your buddies, trying to ward off the hordes of soldiers invading your fragile little base. Or casually tossing a grenade into an unsuspecting mass of enemies. Or disarming the bomb right at the last second, even if it costs your “life”.
Until a year ago, I had a fear of online gaming. A sense that there was no real learning curve. Do you need to talk on a headset? No. Absolutely not. In fact, I go out of my way NOT to talk during a game, or to listen to anyone’s chatter (Other than that of my compatriots in the room). If I wanted to listen to idiots spout off about being racist and homophobic, I would actively try to engage people in the act of conversation. I don’t, so I also don’t need to hear about it from some drunk 15 year old. Instead, I’ll just splay his brains about willy and nilly. I guess I do recommend that you start out listening to what these charming youths have to say, if only to solidify your resolve to destroy them.
My other worry was whether or not anyone could stand a chance in these type of games against people who play them for several hours a day. Well, that is a valid point; Some of these guys know all the little hiding spots, or exactly where your team will reappear after being killed, etc. However, playing on a team of lateral thinkers, we clean up pretty well. Basic psychology comes in real handy if you’re paying attention to how the other team acts, and being spontaneous can really throw some of these regiments for a loop.
So, while I used to actively avoid the online battles, I seek out and look forward to them now. No AI designed yet can act as baffling, clever or ridiculous as a human opponent. Bad Company 2 is a great game to start out playing, but you could also check out the simpler and faster paced Modern Warfare 2. Looking forward to killing (or, being killed by) you in the future!