It’s fair to say that that my PS3 and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 disc are very well acquainted by now, having spent the better part of three months together. No other game has provided me with such ample amounts of entertainment so far this year, and, as a result, an inhumane number of hours of my insignificant existence have been poured into painstakingly upgrading my online ranking. I also like to think I’m a proficient player, and am very proud of my dedication.
Or at least I was until I recently had a browse over the leaderboards only to discover that, at the time of writing, the world leader of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 has spent over 800 hours to reach the elite top level rank. You have to wonder if they still have a pulse.
Anyway, there comes a time when you need something fresh, something new to replenish your passion for a game, no matter how addictive it might be. Since its initial launch however, the cavalcade of downloadable content for Bad Company 2 has been consistent, but ultimately underwhelming.
New map packs that weren’t really new map packs have been abundant, but at least they were free updates. This soon changed with the arrival of new premium packs however, starting with a fleet of ludicrously priced, camouflaged clothing for your comrades. And now there’s Onslaught mode, a new multiplayer co-op excursion that got me all excitable at the prospect of some fresh collaborative warfare. But can it face off against Modern Warfare 2‘s highly regarded Spec-Ops?
Well, it turns out my excitement was rather short-lived, and for a very simple reason. You see, I was initially under the assumption that Onslaught would include the option to fight split-screen with your team-mate sitting beside you, much in the same vein as Modern Warfare 2‘s superbly executed Spec-Ops. To my dismay, I was gravely wrong.
Instead, Onslaught places you in a squad of up to four online players in what feels like a hybrid of the all too familiar Conquest and Squad Rush modes, tasking you with capturing enemy objectives until you reach the final base. Meanwhile, a team of computer-controlled AI bots are out to stop you by any means necessary. Secure all the objectives, and the game is won. Fail to keep all of your team alive at the same time, and you fail. Simple.
Bad Company 2 has always had a keen eye for teamwork, and it’s just as apparent here. In the higher difficulty levels these enemies are surprisingly smart, so don’t expect to succeed by selfishly playing solo, and playing to the strengths of your class is still paramount – regularly supplying ammo or reviving team-mates can have a significant impact on the success of a game, just as in any other multiplayer mode before it. The feeling of companionship is as strong as ever as you fight ferociously to survive, providing you aren’t teamed with a bunch of inept apes.
Any weapon unlocks you have previously achieved will be carried forward into Onslaught, but, conversely, you can’t earn any XP points for the main multiplayer extravaganza. A timer is also active throughout the course of the match, which adds an additional element of appeal as you vie for position on the leaderboards for the best time.
Things become even more familiar when you turn your attention to the battlefields themselves. All in all, there are four maps to choose from, but each have been lifted from the main game and offer nothing new whatsoever. But in a concerted effort to freshen them up a bit, DICE took the liberty to apply some flashy new environmental effects – Nelson Bay now takes place in daylight and a sandstorm prevails over Attacama Desert, for example.
While it’s noted that they managed to spare a choice couple of minutes to redecorate a handful of the existing environments, it doesn’t make as much of a profound difference as they might have hoped. The fact remains that these are still the very same maps that most seasoned players will have torn inside out by now, no matter how you dress them up.
It all raises a question, though: if you have the luxury of an internet connection, why would you want to play with AI alongside human players when you can have the same, if not better, thrills online? Granted, playing with bots was possible back in the days of Battlefield 2, but aside from the possible challenge and training benefits it may have, I can find no discernible reason. I certainly can’t justify shelling out a whopping £7.20 for the privilege, either.
Onslaught can be a fun and challenging diversion from the main multiplayer modes you have played as a rigorous ritual for the past few months, but it’s still no substitute against the full-works with a full team of opposing human players. What’s more, the preposterous price tag and omission of split-screen multiplayer is sorely disappointing.
According to DICE, players have often been requesting a feature akin to Onslaught. Let me duly correct them: I have the utmost respect for the developers, but what players really want is some genuine new material to play with, whether it’s all new maps or toys, such as weapons and vehicles. This would have easily made Onslaught a much more alluring and satisfying package, but hopefully the upcoming Vietnam pack will deliver on these shortcomings and save us from this DLC drought.
Gamer Limit gives Battlefield: Bad Company 2: Onslaught 6.0/10.