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Last year I was convinced to have a go at EA's latest 3rd person shooter on the PS3 (at the time) by a friend who rated it highly. Since then I haven't been able to put it down. I wasn't a huge fan of the 3PS genre and I didn't really dabble with Call of Duty much since owning a PS3. However, I had heard a little about the Battlefield series but never bothered to give it a go as I was too busy running around and kicking balls on football games like Pro Evo than running around with a gun. To say I was surprised by what I saw and felt whilst playing the game was an understatement so I'd like to share my experiences of the game, much of which is focused on the online aspect which makes it a winner in the eyes of many.
Campaign Mode **********************
Having played the game online first, I was well prepared for what the single player campaign had to offer. I instantly selected Hard mode (as I already felt like Rambo!) and begun my mission.
The story for Bad Company 2 follows a group of soldiers as they travel around the world hunting for a mythical weapon of mass destruction which they are desperate to keep out of the hands of the Russians in an attempt to become heroes and save the world. For the majority of the campaign you take control of Preston Marlowe who is a member of the 22nd Army Battalion's "Bad Company". The game takes you across a variety of locations ranging from baron deserts and frozen mountains to dense jungles and farmland. The action is split between infantry and vehicle combat where you have the ability to control turrets, jeeps, boats, quad bikes and tanks. You can also take to skies firing from different types of helicopter (for which one particular mission is dedicated).
The game is kept interesting with a mix of cut scenes in-between missions where there are set objectives which have to be completed. Although your squad can kill enemies during battle it will be up to you to kill most of them, so hiding like a coward isn't going to work on this game.
The computer AI is probably just above average for a 3PS which is made harder according to the difficulty selected. Although you can sometimes sneak up on enemies and take them out, this tends to be a rarity as they are pretty good at spotting you no matter where you hide or which direction you take. Having said that it is pretty easy to take out targets when sniping from a distance as they don't always cover themselves very well. As soon as the AI realises where you are shooting from it becomes a lot harder to make easy kills as you are likely to be shot at with great accuracy.
Along the way in campaign you can acquire collectibles which are basically every new weapon that you pick up. Trophies are awarded for collecting a set amount of collectibles and any weapon you use will become available to you once you reach Supply Drop crates scattered throughout the game. At these crates you can replenish ammo and exchange weapons in order to select different combos of your primary and secondary weapons. This is particularly useful if you approach a mission where you have to destroy a tank or heavy vehicle and you haven't previously kept hold of a rocket launcher. It is also great if you prefer to snipe your enemies at distance rather than engage in close quarter combat. There is one particular mission where you work your way to an opening at the top of a mountain in the jungle where you can choose to fight enemies from this position or run down the hill and get closer to the enemies in the distance below. This adds a lot to the durability to the game as it won't always turn out the same each time you play.
I felt the campaign was great, fun to complete and not too short lived, so if you don't want to play online you are still getting your money's worth.
Online Mode *****************
It is one thing to enter an online battle with a poor rank and average weapons but if you add this to your inexperience of playing a 3PS online then you have the perfect recipe for a backside whooping. Much of my first few hours of online game play had me spawning over and over, death after death trying in vein to get a decent kill count. My fortunes have since changed as I have become more experienced with the game with regards to getting to know the maps, the best sniper spots and the best weapon combinations to use during matches. There is a distinct difference in the feel of the game when playing online as the action if much more faster paced (as you would expect) but it also has a more modern feel to it compared to the Campaign despite being set in the same time period.
Weapons & Kits
There are 4 different kits to select from when you enter an online game. Each kit has its own specialities and advantages but you need to get level ups before you can unlock the best weapons for each kit. Once you've unlocked everything (which may take a good few months of online play) you'll have a wide selection to choose from which will enable you to gain an advantage over newer players. There is a vast selection of weapons that are available from the start for all kits without having to unlock them, such as the 870 Combat pump action shotgun, the USAS-12 fully automatic Shotgun and the G3 fully automatic rifle to name a few. The full range of handguns are already unlocked and like all gun weapons in the game they have different accuracy, damage and rate of fire ratings so you can adapt to different battlefield environments. You can also select to equip various gadgets once you've unlocked them such as motion detectors for the Recon kit and Health packs for the Medic kit. With added specs on the end of each kit you can personalise your standard weapon by adding Red Dot sights, 4x zoom and 12x zoom (for recon). Other specs include body amour, extra magazine counts and light packs for increasing your mobility and much more. There is also a vehicle spec so you can add extra abilities to tanks for example where you can have an extra zoom on your gunner or added fire power or amour plates. The kit you select is really down to personal preference and what weapons you can master and handle better. The recon kit is great for camouflage, whereas the engineer kit is great for destroying vehicles. The best thing about the game is that you can change kits mid game during a battle prior to spawning.
Assault - This kit is for players who prefer to use a good range of assault rifles such as the AEK-971, XM8 Prototype, Stg 77 Aug and M16A2 with the ability to deploy ammo crates for re-supplies. As assault you can also equip shotgun rounds, grenade launchers or smoke grenades to the end of your gun and switch between the two. This is my preferred kit for sheer versatility and due to being able to provide supplies for your squad members in addition to your own weapons.
Engineer - This kit is very useful for destroying vehicles by equipping rocket launchers, laying mines and making use of rapid fire sub machine guns. There are a few good guns to use for this kit such as the UZI with 900 rounds per minute, the 9A-91 which packs some serious stopping power and the UMP-45 for optimum mobility and close quarter combat. The only disadvantage with this kit is that you are likely to run out of ammo very quickly, therefore sticking close to an assault squad member is recommended.
Medic - The medic kit comprises of several Light Machine Guns which are equipped with belt or drum rounds to offer constant fire. This is very useful when you have several enemies in sight as you don't have to re-load between firing. Most of the weapons contain 100 rounds but when they do run out, re-loading times are very slow. If you're re-loading with a medic you really need to find cover. Although you have the health packs to heal and revive other squad members your clothing is not as well camouflaged so you are an easier target during combat.
Recon - The recon kit gives you the choice of a wide range of sniper rifles, each with their own benefits in terms of accuracy and damage. Some weapons are one-shot rifles which means regular re-loading but there are a select few that offer multiple shot
Pictures of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (PS3)
fire such as the SVU and VSS. The Gol rifle is probably a good starting point for beginners and it is very quick to re-load. The uniform for this kit offers superb camouflage as they comprise of a full body suit of leaves to blend into your environment making it very difficult for enemies to spot you in trees & bushes or behind rocks.
When you kill an enemy you can also pick up their kit to use during matches. This means you could be Assault but picking out targets from long range with a sniper rifle for example.
Death Match *****************
Death Match is a favourite online game mode for me as it is plain and simple. You have the choice of joining a squad or playing on your own in an attempt to be the first squad/player to reach 50 kills. Typically, you can have up to 4 squads (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie & Delta), with 4 squad members on each (potentially up to 16 players). As soon as you enter the game you have a choice of random spawning or spawning on one of your squad members. In a Squad Death Match there is always a tank nicely placed in the centre of the map for a squad to utilise and gain an advantage.
You also have the choice on whether to set the match to 'hard core' mode which tends to be for more experienced players. This involves being able to kill enemies without revealing to your victim where they were killed from (unless it is obvious to them) and also not being able to regenerate your health. If you are blood shot (which blurs and darkens your screen) after taking a few hits then there is no coming back from it unless you die and re-spawn. This makes one shot kills more prominent as enemies are more likely to be carrying an injury. If you add this to the fact that you can accidentally kill your own squad members with friendly fire, you have the perfect recipe for a much harder game.
With all the downloadable map packs taken into account there are 10 maps to choose from in Death Match mode with the first 6 mentioned below being the original maps for the retail game. The rest can be added as DLC (downloadable content) if you have a valid VIP code. The VIP code comes free with all first hand purchases of the game but if you bought it second hand and the code has already been used then you will be forced to use the default maps or purchase a new VIP code (at the cost of around £9.99, but could be a lot cheaper now). Maps in a Death Match are typically 1/3 or 1/4 of the size of a Rush or Conquest map but they form part of it (so you will be familiar with certain sections of a Rush or Conquest map if you play a lot of Death Match rounds). It is not practical to discuss all the maps on the game (especially in a Rush or Conquest game as they are so vast) so I will keep my thoughts with the Death Match maps.
Arica Harbour - Arica is a city in northern Chile that is south of the Peruvian border in South America. It is a 600 mile strip of land that is regarded as the world's driest desert. The map comprises of a small town close to the harbour region containing dozens of buildings both large and small which are surrounded by an elevated hill side which runs along the top and side of the map perimeter. As this map is quite large and contains groups of trees in certain areas (contrary to it's real life conditions), it is an ideal map for snipers or weapons that have a long range ability. It is an enjoyable map because it is one of the first you are likely to play and there is usually plenty of action. My rating: 5/5
Isla Innocentes (Island of Innocence) - This map is set along the coast of Chile, surrounded by mountains. It is a great all rounder in terms of close combat and long distance shooting. Although the map on Death Match is quite small in width, you can have some great battles with enemies by controlling certain points on the map such as the hill region or lower region close to the sea. If you spawn at the top of the hill you can clearly see the entire map in front of you as you run down the decline. It is one of the only maps that has a 'top to bottom' aspect which could be described as rectangular on paper. This map is usually a player's favourite as it is often very busy and the close proximity between fighting makes for quick kills and fast action. The use of shotguns is highly recommended for this type of map. My rating: 5/5
White Pass - Winter time in the Rocky Mountains of western North America featuring deep snow and high winds is the setting for this map. This is not one of my favourite maps as it tends to be quite slow and lacking in soldier numbers. It comprises of several buildings in a small town which include a large barn and a very large forest area to the rear. Most battles on the map take place near the tank spawn or the 'L shaped' building close by. There is a nicely placed sniper tower to shoot from on this map, but it's a rather easy place to be spotted from. My rating: 3/5
Laguna Presa (Lagoon Dam) - This map is based on a lagoon region in northern Chile which features a large dam in the backdrop. The area is surrounded by shallow water with lots of trees and greenery which makes it another ideal map for sniping. There are plenty of wooden huts and outbuildings to base your combat around with a large hill creating a focal point for picking out enemies. This map is also ideal for destroying tanks by making use of Anti-tank mines in the water or running out from bushes with your c4 at the ready! Definitely one of the better maps in the game. My Rating: 5/5
Harvest Day - This farmyard style map is based in the Pampas of Argentina in South America. Typically you can expect to find barns, huts, tractors, trailers and hay stacks in and amongst the open plains of the farm land. This can be a very good map if there are lots of people taking part online or a very poor one if the game is dead. It appears to be one of the larger Death Match maps in the game so not really ideal for close combat weapons. The large hill to the side of the map is often used as a good sniper spot with the central square in the heart of the town being the most active section of the map. My rating: 4/5
Oasis - As the name suggests this map has an Oasis setting at the heart of the Desert Valley in the Middle East. The town located on the map contains large quantities of grouped buildings, surrounded by palm trees, shallow water and hills. This map is ideal for most types of weapon as it has a bit of everything. No matter how many times you play this map you will find that battles are taking place in different areas each time as no-one seems to have a preference with regards to a particular combat area. The map also probably has the most buildings of any other map on the game so expect plenty of running in and out of buildings and jumping out of windows. My rating 3/5
Panama Canal - This dockland graveyard is a great map with many prominent features. At the centre of the map there is a very large oil tanker ship which is broken in half at the middle acting as a walkway between two sides of the dock. There are a few large warehouses on either side of the map including one near the centre acting as a focal point for combat. Near the tank spawn area at the far end of the map there is a 3-story construction building and a 2 lane highway with several smaller outbuildings that are surrounded by cargo crates. Owning the central warehouse area is a great tactic for this map as several enemies will often try in vein to enter and take over. All kits are pretty much suited to this map and there are some great sniper spots on roofs of outbuildings or between cargo crates. The highway can provide a great advantage in the tank (especially with v-elect selected on your kit for vehicles) as you can motion detect enemies aproaching the tank and kill them before they manage to use C4 or rocket launchers. My rating: 4/5
Nelson Bay - The Nelson Bay map is not a popular choice for many game players due to it's dark nature and difficulty in locating enemies. The map is based along the Alaska coastline (which is completely encased in snow) and is the only map in Battlefield that is set during night time. There are usually 3 primary areas of battle here which tend to take place around the tank spawn area near 2 porter cabins, along the back hills of the map and the large communications building. Personally this map is fine for me but it is certainly not one of my favourites. It is a like a candy shop for snipers as they can be very difficult to spot and their motion detectors give them an advantage. My only gripe with this map is that it sometimes glitches my game whereby you lose the audio half way through a map so you can no longer hear gun fire or enemies. It does not cut out your squad audio on microphones however but the only way to fix this problem is to reboot your PS3 as subsequent rounds end up being silent. My rating (due to the glitch): 2/5
Cold War - Set in Chukotka, Russia, this is another map that is encased with snow. The map has an L shape to it where there is a steady incline as you reach the top end of the map. Normally, the combat on this map takes place near the top end where you have a set of log piles or the square forecourt area diagonally opposite the tank spawn. The open area near the tank is not a good place to be as you are overlooked and exposed to several buildings where enemies are likely to be lurking out of windows. This is a superb map for 'roof hoping' where you can go to the loft of one particular building, blow a hole in the wall and that of a neighbouring building and run and jump into it. This allows you to reach roof areas of buildings you cannot normally get to with a ladder and give you an advantage over unsuspecting enemies. You can also parachute off the large mountain surrounding the side of the map into the roof of a nearby building to roof hop along the opposite side of the map. The map is more suited for close combat with weapons carrying a 4x zoom or less. My rating: 4/5
Heavy Metal - Heavy Metal is set in a country village in Chile surrounded by open plains and greenery. It is one of the smaller preferred maps in the game and is always busy. It is a typical 'run-around' map where you often find yourself running around everywhere and coming into contact with enemies on a regular basis within close quarters. The tank on this map is located at the back of the map on the lower level but it isn't the most tank friendly map in terms of mobility in getting to the hill area. If you do manage to get there then your turret is usually useless as you are forced to fire at enemies on inclines so you can't get the direction or correct height. Like Isla Innocentes this map is great for using a shotgun or something that has a lot of power up close and personal and an ideal map for quick kills, fun and mayhem! My rating: 5/5
A Rush game involves 2 squads (Russian and American) of up to 12 players each with the objective of the game being to destroy or protect a series of M-COM stations. The Attacking team's job is to arm the M-COM by getting close to it and holding the circle button on the control pad until it has been activated. The Defending team's job is to protect the M-COM by either killing enemies nearby or disarming the M-COM with the same button function once it has been activated. Points are awarded to individual players for defending & destroying M-COM's which include assists. The time for each round is dependant on the amount of reinforcement tickets (or spawns) that are used by the attacking team. For each round this is set to 75, which is a hidden count not seen by any team. As an attacking team take a base and destroy an M-COM, the ticket count is reset (Rush rounds usually have 6 M-COM stations marked A and B on the map). If all 75 tickets are used in a round, i.e. the Attacking team re-spawn 75 times between them in a row without taking a base, then the defending team is declared the winner. Attackers are declared the winners if they successfully destroy all stations.
A rush round places several vehicles at the deployment zones whereby you can ride boats, jet skis, quad bikes, tanks, jeeps and even fly Helicopters.
If you choose a Squad Rush game then there are no vehicles and only 2 M-COM stations which makes faster game play. I find that the Rush games are more tactical encounters and you tend to get more kills as a defending team and more deaths as an attacking team. When defending you know exactly where your enemies need to get to so you can quite easily lay traps in the form of Anti-tank mines and C4 for vehicles or even place C4 near M-COM building entrances and detonate them once an enemy tries to enter. Making use of static gunners to take out airborne enemies is great fun as well as controlling UAV's (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) from a remote control point.
A Conquest game has similar aspects to a Rush game but involves the capture of neutral or enemy flags and holding them by staying within close proximity. When you are capturing a flag you hear a beeping sound and see your squad's flag being raised up the flag pole. Once it reaches the top, the base is captured. You can only capture a base if there are no enemy forces within the same proximity. The base will then act as a spawn point for players and vehicles. Points are awarded for capturing bases or assisting a squad member within the same proximity. If your base is being captured by an enemy then this will show as a flashing icon on the map screen. If you stop an enemy capturing your base it will be classed as a 'defend' which gives you more points. Enemy bases are always identified in red whereas friendly bases are identified in blue.
One of the things that impressed me most about this game was the superb graphics. It almost feels like you are actually there running around with a gun as it is second to none in terms of attention to detail. As you take a look around the map you'll see impressive features in the backdrop, which include flying aircraft and warships in mid battle with explosions and smoke clouds which look very realistic. What I also find amazing is the fact that your weapon zoom does not affect the graphics in any way. You can quite happily zoom in with a sniper rifle to an enemy and the background and surrounding textures still look great. Occasionally (but very rarely) you can get a visual graphic glitch where some parts of the map turn white when you span around but this only tends to happen when you are in places you aren't meant to get to like trees or rocks which occupy out of bound areas. EA have also not bothered to fix the visual end of match graphic which tells you if your team has won or lost as half the time it is often incorrect where it will say your team has won for example when if fact you lost. The real thing to go by here is the random audio clip comments such as "Enemies are on the run, we got them" for a win or "What the F**k is this?, where is everyone?" for a loss, which are always correct. You can also take advantage of the great aerial graphics when you die as you get a top down view of the map (although sometimes obstructed) where you can actually see soldiers running around. When you spawn you can instantly know where an enemy may be having just seen them on the aerial view. However, you are not able to identify whether the players you see from above are enemies or members of your squad.
What makes Battlefield stand out from the rest is the sheer realism in way the environment around you can be destructed. Trees and shrubbery can be blown up, windows and doors smashed and concrete walls heavily damaged. Buildings can also have holes blown in them and even taken down completely which can also lead to 'destruction' kills. Damage is usually inflicted by grenades, C4 and heavy vehicle gun fire. You can also destroy walls by driving into them with heavy tanks where you can see the bricks literally come away from the wall.
Warfare on the game is complimented very well by the audio in respect of weapon fire, explosions, collapsing of buildings and the environment and squad/enemy shouts. There is great attention to detail when soldiers are running where you can hear footsteps or treading in the snow or water which makes for an intense match if you are hiding out due to being injured for example and are anxiously awaiting enemy presence. You also hear panting when you stop running which makes it very realistic. Grenades are also accompanied by the sound of them bouncing around once thrown which alter according to the texture on which they land. As you navigate a map you will also come across generators or water towers where you can hear them running. One of the most annoying sounds in the game however is when you get sniped in the head!
Like most 3PS games around, it would not be complete without the voice of your fellow squad members on their microphones. The game can be greatly enhanced with the use of a headset or mic so that you can communicate with your squad regarding tactics, instructions or enemy locations. The use of a mic is obviously optional and not enjoyed by everyone as some players find it a distraction to the game and opt not to use a mic (or simply don't use it because they don't own one). I use the official Sony PS3 headset which is adequate for my needs as I can talk and hear others clearly through my device but the game audio still comes out of my TV. I've heard great things about more expensive headsets that offer complete sound through the output of the set but again this is down to personal preference. If you want to experience the game to its max then a better headset may be an option as you can have it as loud as you like without disturbing others in the house.
You can pretty much talk about anything you like through a headset which brings me on nicely to the 'Mute' option within the squad menu. This option allows you to mute the mic of a squad member if they happen to be some annoying 10 year old American trying to bark out commands to the rest of your squad with their annoying childish bickering and shouts or some foreign player who you can't understand. It is also great for muting players who annoyingly leave their mics on whilst playing music or simply leaving it on for no reason at all. Who wants to listen to nothing but rustling, crackling or coughing constantly during a match? Not me.
Achievements & Pins ***************************
There are 5 types of achievement to complete in the game (in my opinion) which are split over online and campaign modes. These are Trophies, Pins, Insignias Dog tags and your overall Rank.
Trophies are your typical PS3 achievements where you obtain them by completing certain criteria such as destroying a set amount of Satellite Uplinks (or MCOM stations) or driving all types of vehicles in the game for example. There are a wide selection to obtain for both single player and multiplayer. The easiest trophies to obtain in the game are those which you acquire by completing each mission. The more fun trophies to obtain are the ones you can get by knifing 5 of your friends (on your PS3 friend list) or killing someone with the repair tool!
Pins are basically multiplayer badges that you can obtain much like trophies by performing certain criteria. Efficiency pins are awarded for getting 5 kills with a particular group of weapon such as shotguns or pistols for example during a single round. Other pins include Tank Warfare where you have to kill 7 enemies in a single round in a tank, Medical Ops for 5 squad revives in a round or the Ace pin for being the best player in a round. These are only a few examples as there are 48 to collect in all. Your pins progress can be accessed from your multiplayer stats menu within the game. These are usually greyed out until you obtain them where you get 100 or 200 points awarded to your combat score depending on which pin you collect.
Insignias are probably the best pins to collect as they are more challenging and they can add as much as 10000 points to your combat score once they are obtained. A lot of these achievements will take a very long time to collect but they are very rewarding. Examples include the Distinguished Anti-Vehicle Combat Insignia where you have to destroy a total of 500 vehicles online, Conquest Good Conduct where you have to capture a total of 100 flags and Elite Service Duty for completing 120 hours of online game play . Progress on these can also be seen from the stats menu.
Dog tags are awarded every time you knife an enemy with a melee attack. Their dog tag appears on the screen and it will add to your total of tags collected. If you collect multiple enemy dog tags they will be shown in numerical order (with the player's name listed next to it) at the top of your dog tag list much like a Hall of Fame. Dog tags are mostly collected for bragging rights rather than improving your score.
Each time you play online and increase your combat score you are one step closer to your next rank or level up. Ranks range from 0-50 and are described in the form of a soldier rank with a number such as Major III and Colonel II to name a couple. Ranks tie into the colour of your dog tag where lower level ranked players have bronze tags, middle ranked players have silver tags and higher ranked players have gold tags. Naturally, taking a gold dog tag from an experienced player would be considered a greater achievement than taking a bronze tag from a newbie.
The durability of the game is vast if you are attempting to collect all achievements for the game. I've been playing for nearly a year now and I've only just reached level 45 and probably collected as much as 90% of all achievements online. You also have a challenge on your hands to eventually earn platinum stars for all weapons in the game by reaching a total of 1000 kills with that weapon. You can imagine how long that will take considering how many different weapons there are!
Vietnam is an add-on pack that was brought out for the game in the form of downloadable content that cost in the region of £10. The game features great music from the Vietnam era and a much older vintage style of game play which is set during the Vietnam war. The gameplay differs slightly from BC2 as it is a bit easier to play and kill enemies and easier to get used to. A separate set of achievments are added to the game once you install this expansion pack. If you've never played this expansion pack before then it is probably not worth getting anymore as there are not enough people playing the game nowadays to warrant it's price tag.
What amazed me most about this game is the gameplay. Put aside the amazing graphics and attention to detail, this is by far one of the most addictive 3PS games on the market. Once Battlefield 3 was released, the amount of players taking part in BC2 went down considerably but after a few months the majority of those players returned to the game because its simply better! Whilst Battlefield 3 is a good game and has a lot of great features and improvements, it is a very difficult game in comparison and EA have taken some of the fun out of the series. There are too many boundaries in Battlefield 3 and no fun spots to discover. You can't jump into trees and you can't find many high vantage sniper locations anywhere. The destructive element that was so popular in BC2 is lacking somewhat. It seems they have focused the game on close quarter combat and tried to copy the style of Call Of Duty which BC2 is nothing like in comparison.
You can get the game for as low as £12.95 now on the Internet which is an absolute steel at this price. I would certainly recommend it, especially if you have only just started playing the Battlefield series with B3 as you will be pleasantly surprised. At peak times there are as much as 4000 players online on the PS3 so plenty of action to get into. Rather than become a dying breed, BC2 has held it's own and is likely to still be popular a few years down the line.
If I were to make any improvements to this game then I would have added a server list to the multi-player menu (something which B3 improved on) as you can often join a game without knowing how many players are present and they can contain very few players. This is not always a bad thing if you fancy a long tactical battle but I feel we should have been given the choice. During these situations, if other players realise the round is rather dead and prefer more action then they may quit the match leaving you on your own with one or two squad members and nobody to kill. What makes this worse is that the game never evens up the numbers, it will usually fill an entire squad of 4 players first (on a death match) before allowing enemy squads to join unless a clan of players join as a squad on the off chance.
If you do decide to buy the game, be sure to purchase a new copy as you need a unique un-used VIP code to download all the maps which will likely be already used with a 2nd hand copy. Due to the violence and bad language, this game would not be suitable for children despite the fact that there are some very young players online, particularly from America.
I can still see myself playing this game for years to come. I've played both old and new Battlefield and COD games and this is second to none! Highly recommended.