Life of a Beta Male Part 3: Beta vs Demo

Welcome to the third and final Life of a Beta Male column, unless I’m in another Beta without a non-disclosure agreement.

The Beta has been long over for Battlefield: Bad Company. Since then a demo of the video game has hit Xbox Live Marketplace which shows off one map of the multiplayer and the first level of the single player mode. So how does the near final product compare to the Beta version of the game? Read on…

First off, I have to say that there seems to be a large amount of hatred directed towards EA that can be found on the internet. To a lesser extent the same vitriol can be applied to pretty much any shooter that dares to be released after Call of Duty 4 that isn’t exactly like Call of Duty 4. DICE and EA have done a great job so far though in fixing whatever small mistakes they’ve made in marketing this game just to make the consumer happy. Pretty much every problem I’ve had with the game has been solved.

Paying for weapons? Sounds like this was meant to be a reward for dedicated gamers and a viral type advertising where you could hunt online for codes to unlock these weapons, and if you didn’t want to take the time to do that you could just up and buy them. Maybe not the best thing to do with an online multiplayer game where the delicate balance between weapons can make or break a title, but it wasn’t the end of the world. You wouldn’t have known that from the reaction to this decision, so EA fixed this by making it so that once you’ve reached the highest level all the weapons would be unlocked. Strangely not as many people had a problem with this despite the fact that this method also rewards the same dedicated gamers that likely would’ve hunted the codes for unlocking these weapons down in the first place.

Then there was my major issue. No Conquest mode. In the previous Life as a Beta Male article I mentioned that without this mode it doesn’t really seem like a Battlefield game. I wasn’t the only one with that complaint I guess as it has been announced that a couple months after release (I’ve heard sometime in August) that they will be releasing the Conquest mode as a free download. This I think is the best of both worlds because after spending enough time in the beta of the game I can say that they have done a great job with the Gold Rush mode, and this gives everyone who buys Bad Company a chance to really play the Gold Rush mode, instead of trying it a few times then dropping it in favor of Conquest before getting the hang of it.

I wonder if it drives developers insane that multiplayer modes they’ve dedicated time to make in order to create a new gameplay experience usually get ignored for a standard mode like Deathmatch.

Anyhow, DICE and EA have really responded to a number of the major complaints about the game that stemmed from the beta and have really taken time to do something as large as add another full mode to the game after the release of the title. Even some of the smaller concerns that were presented in the Beta, such as damage detection, class balancing, some freezing issues due to server stress, etc have all had tweaks to them that is obvious to anyone who put enough time into the Beta product.

Though I’m sure some people will be disappointed but one thing that hasn’t changed is there will not be a prone position or parachutes in the final game. I’m sure that might cause some people out there some grief but if you seriously play the multiplayer demo you’ll see that chutes and prone would cause some sever balance issues in the game. Already the sniper class is pretty powerful, add prone and the game would become nothing but a snipe-fest. Parachutes would be far too easily exploitable with the respawning system in the game as well. These are complaints that I do not expect we’ll ever see solved in the final game.

One of my major complaints as well was the fact that there was only one multiplayer mode. While this has been addressed, this might not have been as much of a complaint had they included the single player level of the demo into the Beta. While DICE was trying to assure people that they wanted to focus on one solid multiplayer experience and also provide a good single player mode, I just couldn’t really believe it. A solid single player game in a Battlefield title? But the demo certainly gives me a lot of hope. Great graphics, and there are hints that the storyline might actually be pretty solid in the demo.

The demo is leaps forward from the Beta. I’m looking forward to the release of Battlefield: Bad Company on Tuesday June 24th, and four months ago I really couldn’t have given a damn about the title either way. As someone who went from not caring to convinced that this might actually be a solid title, take a minute and download the demo and give it a shot. Whatever you do though, don’t compare it to Call of Duty 4, these are completely different games that play differently as well. It took me a couple hours to make the adjustment myself, but once I did I had a great time with the game and liked the different classes.

Diehard Gamefan should get a hold of a final version of the game shortly, so stay tuned for the full review.

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