EA DICE, makers of the beloved Battlefield franchise are at it again. This time developing a sequel to 2008’s original Bad Company, and this time focusing its efforts on something we all love; multiplayer!

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is due out in March of 2010, but if you threw down $5 to reserve the game at GameStop or Best Buy, or snagged a code from Sony directly, you’ve got access to the shooter today, three months before it hits shelves.

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In the beta there’s one massively scaled multiplayer map to enjoy dubbed "Arica." This environment consists of a series of attack/defend points littered with tall structures, claustrophobia-inducing buildings and alleyways, and the always enjoyable Abrams tanks to have fun with. The game supports a maximum of 12 on 12 multiplayer mayhem, and really, when you’ve got a full match, with 24 players having at it, you’ll wonder why more games don’t go this route.

The game runs on the famous Frostbite Engine. This game backbone allows for the total destruction of nearly everything on your screen.

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See a cluster of enemies camping out in one room? Easy, launch a rocket into the room and they’re all dead. Not to mention the demolished walls don’t come back, keeping those pesky bad guys at bay for the entire length of the game session.

This game mechanic creates a "never-safe" type mentality when playing that’s extremely refreshing when considering not every game (Modern Warfare 2), does this yet.

In the beta you can play as one of four classes each with varying weapon load-outs. There’s the sniper, assault attacker, and a few more. As you rack up kills and earn points for doing so, you’ll eventually unlock weapon upgrades, the ability to carry more grenades, and a few more tweaks.

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Apart from weapons, there are Abrams tanks and the newly added jeep, which eerily resembles the Mongoose found in the Halo franchise. This fast little bugger is helpful when you need to race across the vast environment to get to a strategic position before someone else does. And on the funny side of things, in a match I played the other day, I saw a jeep racing in from afar and tossed a grenade where I thought he might be in a few seconds. Luckily he drove over my frag just as it exploded, killing him and sending the vehicle soaring through the air at rocket speed.

The beta’s one map, Arica, is huge. It spans multiple attack/defend zones comprised of very varied means of cover. If you’re attacking and you capture both points you’ll push on to the next series of objectives and with it comes an entirely new plan of attack. Do I play a little recon, take enemies out from afar with the sniper and let my teammates push through on the ground? Or do I go straight up the gut and attack full on? Your strategy should change from point to point, and this keeps gameplay fun, engaging, and never boring.

Based on how impressive the beta’s one map is, I can’t even begin to fathom what DICE has in stock for us when the full game hits in March. Rest assured it’ll be amazing.

Unlike another war game out there today, Modern Warfare 2, matches in BC2 last around thirty minutes, depending on if your buddies know what they’re doing or not. Sure, it demands more time and effort than an all-out frenzied fragfest (again, looking at you MW2), but this is its strong part, and why I’ll likely end up playing this one more.

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Blast Factor: With its uber-massive masterfully designed map, very varied weapon loadouts and a clear addicting nature, Bad Company 2 feels like one hell of a game already, and that’s based on impressions from one map of the multiplayer. We haven’t even seen single player yet! If you’re contemplating a purchase, throwing down $5 to play the beta is the easiest choice you’ll make today. Go do it; you’ll be glad you did. And while you’re at it, add me, EddieNotEddy on the PlayStation Network and we’ll game together.

About The Author

Eddie Makuch is a Blast staff writer. Reach him at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch.

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