Battlefield: Bad Company 2 has a good chance of dethroning Call of Duty, the series that's dominated video-game warfare. It looks terrific. Its single-player campaign is more entertaining, and coherent, than that of Modern Warfare 2.
Your own character, Marlowe, is the strong, silent type, and since he's such a cipher, he can accommodate any style of play. We like to hang back and snipe enemies from a distance, but you can play Marlowe as a run-and-gun berserker. The artificial intelligence of your squadmates is impressive. They'll back up whatever strategy you prefer.
The guys are racing against the Russians to find a mysterious weapon of mass destruction. (The Cold War never ended in video-game land.) The pursuit takes place mainly across South America, with a variety of beautiful scenery, from snowy mountains and lush jungles to parched deserts and blasted cities.
The eight-hour campaign hurtles along breathlessly, offering a few clever set pieces. One snowbound sequence, in which you're more likely to die from frostbite than bullets, is a nice change of pace, but most missions consist of straightforward kill-or-be-killed action. You can wreak havoc with dozens of different weapons, from knives and pistols to machine guns and grenade launchers, and race through a city on an all-terrain vehicle, or lumber along in a tank.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2
RATING M for Mature
PLOT You and your squad against the Russkies
DETAILS Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, $60
BOTTOM LINE A blast