By Matthew Scott Hunter
‘Battlefield: Bad Company 2’ (M)
A destructible environment
The spent shells from our machine guns in “Modern Warfare 2” haven’t even hit the ground yet, and already there’s another great military-themed first-person shooter on the market. “Bad Company 2” is every bit as gorgeous as the latest “Call of Duty,” and though it lacks co-op mode, it does supply you with a crew of chatty and often hilarious A.I. squad-mates. Decimating exotic locales to the soundtrack of their banter is one of the highlights of “Battlefield.”
However, the single-player campaign — clocking in at a measly six hours — is over all too soon. Fortunately, the multiplayer component gives the game some muscular legs. Deathmatches are every bit as frenzied as first-person shooter fans have come to expect (and demand), but it’s the destructibility of the environments that makes this game stand out. Every building, shed, barricade and vehicle can be blown to smithereens. Don’t bother trying to memorize the maps. After a few grenades get thrown, the layout will be completely different. This makes the battlefields feel organic and unpredictable. Want to create a sniper’s nest? Just go to the top floor and blow a hole in the wall. But be careful. There’s always someone out there with even more firepower — enough to reduce your new sniper’s nest to rubble.
I hope this RPG was developed for the PSP and then switched to PS3 at the last minute because, if not, this is the laziest effort Sony’s console has ever seen. Even on PSP, this unmemorable adventure would be pretty bad. PS2-era cel-shaded characters populate bland backgrounds, and cut-scenes are rendered with static portraits. The combat system is functional, which is good because you’ll be using it a lot. Supposedly, you can choose your battles by avoiding enemies on the overworld map, but since there’s no room to evade, these may as well be random encounters.
As movie tie-in games go, this one isn’t half bad. Rather than keeping close to the film’s narrative and design, this game gives us a charming 2D platformer with an art style similar to “Patapon.” You play as multiple characters, escorting Alice through Wonderland with different abilities to help her on her way. As the white rabbit, you can manipulate time. As the Cheshire cat, you can make objects disappear. It’s not particularly challenging, but it should please kids looking for a detour down the rabbit hole.
The latest remake of an oft-remade RPG, “Lunar: Silver Star Harmony” is as timeless on PSP as it ever was. The story of a young boy leaving the safety of his village for world saving adventure is about as hackneyed as RPG tales get, but this was one of the first to do it, and it still presents a world far more imaginative than anything offered by its imitators since. Creatures are bizarre and colorful, and towns are bustling with the activity of citizens anxious to offer you a clue or a side quest. For fans of the genre, this one’s not to be missed.