Play in Process: The Virtual Battlefield
Each week in Play in Process, Richard Clark shares what he’s been playing and why it means something to him.
Look, I know that no videogame could ever give a truly accurate sense of what it’s like to be a soldier at war. The element of danger alone is impossible to simulate, and so colors every aspect of the experience that it’s nearly a joke to imply otherwise. Still, when I was playing Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC) online the other night with Drew and my father-in-law, the experience came so much closer than other war-time shooters that it drove home an important consideration when it comes to games based on reality: we shouldn’t sell them short.
No, we can’t feel the same sense of danger as a soldier on the field, but we can at least hear the sense of shock and horror in the voices of the guys we’re controlling. We can get a feel of the importance that teamwork plays in the challenge of war. We can hear the sounds of gunfire and bombs echoing across the desert. We can feel that constant sense of urgency, to help ourselves and our squad.
This game emphasizes those things in pointedly intentional ways. The built-in squad structure works beautifully to make your team feel like the war buddies you depend on. Each player has his own role, and is depended on to fulfill that role. Let your team down, and the consequences are felt by all.
I mean, really, it’s just another fun game where you shoot people. But there’s something special about this one.