“This is actually something that people have been asking for,” says DICE man Bjorn Johnsson when IncGamers rather impertinently asks why the company chose to release co-op DLC rather than a new map pack for the competitive modes. Since the beginning of Battlefield, he explains, players have been able to play against bots with their friends, and it’s a feature that he’s glad to see return in Bad Company 2. “We haven’t done it in a really long time and never on console.” Onslaught is the upcoming premium DLC for Bad Company 2 which allows up to four players to take on enemy AI over four of the multiplayer game’s maps: Atacama Desert, Valparaiso, Isla Innocentes and the map we play today, Nelson Bay. While those who have already sunk an unholy proportion of their lives into the game’s multiplayer modes may be a little disappointed at the lack of new environments, Johnsson informs us that the maps have been tweaked to make them feel different. New weather effects and lighting are just two of the “many different” enhancements to the maps we will see in Onslaught as Johnsson points out that we are getting to play Nelson Bay in the daytime for the first time. As we enter the Onslaught mode, everything feels instantly familiar – we have the same four classes to choose from (Assault, Medic, Engineer and Recon) and, we’re reliably informed, we will be able to use all of our unlocked weapons and gadgets from the competitive modes. This will not, however, work in reverse. In order to prevent the inevitable stat-padding that would occur were players able to earn XP in co-op that could then be transferred to competitive multiplayer, DICE has made sure that what happens in Onslaught, stays in Onslaught. “The whole multiplayer arena is so competitive that we didn’t want to do that,” explains Johnsson. That’s not to say that there’s nothing competitive about Onslaught, however. The central game mechanic, which sits somewhere between Rush and Conquest, requires you to capture enemy bases in the quickest time possible. Online leaderboards record the quickest and, Johnsson reckons, you and your friends will soon become addicted to trying to improve your time. And, he might just be right. IncGamers gets to sit in with three other journo types as we take on the first enemy base on Nelson Bay. Like in Rush mode, only the first base is available from the start, with the rest of the map blacked out and we approach in what can loosely be described as formation. Almost immediately we’re under heavy fire from a machine gunner on the roof of the central building we’re tasked with capturing. Playing as the medic I raise the sights of my LMG to the rooftop and bemoan my lack of red dot sight as I miraculously hit my target and he falls. With an engineer in tow, we storm the building, clearing the lower room of two enemies before making our way to the roof.
Like in Conquest mode, we have to stay close to the base’s flag in order to take it and, with the capture tone beeping, we spot a new wave of enemies approaching from the right. Taking aim, we empty our clips into the advancing enemy before my comrade falls (quite literally, as he tumbles from the roof out of range of my defibrillator) and I’m left alone to capture the base. My other two team-mates, it transpires, have perished in the face of a jeep’s mounted machine gun and I mount a spirited last stand atop the bunker. Laying waste to a couple of guys pot-shotting from behind a nearby wall, I fail to notice the group flanking me from the left and it’s not until the capture beep stops that I realise there’s an enemy in the building below me. Switching to pistol, I descend the ladder only to find myself face-to-face with said enemy who takes my head off with a shotgun. Hearing the rattle of automatic fire and the electric fizz of the defib, I’m soon revived as my team-mates have stormed the bunker in force. We capture the base and begin to congratulate each other before we realise that this is only the first base. And it’s taken us nearly five minutes. We can do better. And that will be the appeal of Onslaught. As Johnsson explains, the more casual gamer will “have a blast” simply mowing down the AI with friends while the more serious players will be all about the leaderboards. And, we’re told, on the higher difficulty levels we’ll be faced with a serious challenge. Hardcore mode, like in the competitive game will feature less HUD elements, no mini-map and 50 per cent of the normal health allowance. We ask Johnsson ‘just how hard is hardcore?’ “You don’t want to know,” he replies.