Man’s capacity to inflict violence on his fellow man seemingly knows no limits, but one would hope that with the advent of testosterone-fuelled first-person shooters like Battlefield: Bad Company 2, some of this needless bloodshed can be avoided by channelling this wanted aggression into a virtual world.
EA Mobile brings the grisly spectacle of modern combat to iPhone and iPod touch with general success. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 isn't as robust a conversion of the popular console game as you might assume and it won't meet a multiplayer fix, but it does offer satisfying single-player action.
The 14-mission campaign is filled with gripping set-pieces, eyebrow-searing explosions, and a surprising amount of spoken dialogue. Enlisted men Marlowe, Sweetwater, and Redford carry the adventure, their constant chit-chat leading to countless moments of comic relief amid the carnage.
Along with on-foot combat, you can hop into a variety of vehicles and gun emplacements, bringing some welcome variety to the run-and-gun gameplay.
Moving a lumbering tank around the often narrow environments isn’t always easy – the twin-stick controls make driving and positioning the turret awkward – but on the whole the presence of these death-dealing machines is welcome one.
Stick it to the man
When it comes to the on-foot action, the controls fare about the same: serviceable, but not ideal.
The default arrangement reserves sections of the screen for various actions – the left side controls movement while the right is used for aiming and firing. Other commands – reloading, crouching, iron sights, and hurling grenades – are all done via virtual buttons, some of which display contextually.
It almost goes without saying that it doesn't compare with the console versions, although the gameplay has been slowed down to accommodate the lack of precision.
Unfortunately, the fast-paced nature of multiplayer combat exposes the weaknesses of the control system: fast turns and quick-reflex retaliation are rendered difficult.
Welcome to the jungle
The lack of vehicles in multiplayer is also somewhat disappointing, and the small size of the maps makes the game feel a little claustrophobic. An absurdly small player count - a maximum of four players - is a letdown, but 3G network play is supported in addition to wi-fi and Bluetooth.
Visually, Bad Company 2 is a mixed bag with an impressive degree of detail in its environments, despite some of the character models looking boxy when viewed up close. The lack of high resolution support for iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch is surprising.
Control issues take the shine of the package and multiplayer isn't robust enough to keep you coming back, but the single-player campaign offers enough exciting and immediate action to make it worth a download.