Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 threw out a little of the scale of the main Battlefield series, making smaller maps that didn't contain the planes that offered some of the most fun experiences in Battlefield 2. But what it gained was better level design which more consistently delivered great, tense firefights.
That was because of Rush mode. Originally introduced in the first Bad Company, Rush splits the teams into Attackers and Defenders. The attackers, who have a limited number of respawns, are trying to destroy a consecutive series of locations on the map while the defenders, who have unlimited respawns, are attempting to prevent them till a timer runs out.
By dividing the purpose of the teams up like this, and by setting the action on tighter, more linear maps, Bad Company 2 funnels everyone towards chokepoints and specific dramatic moments. It leads to desperate pushes, tense standoffs, and last-second destructions or bomb defusals, all of which are more exciting than Battlefield's standard Conquest mode, in which point captures can be achieved and undone and re-done several times over the course of a match with little significance.
The smaller maps also allowed Bad Company to introduce greater destruction to its levels. It's not Rainbow Six Siege, but tanks make more sense in a world where every wall can be destroyed, and there's still a great thrill in parachuting from the roof of a building as you hear the creak signalling its imminent collapse.
Bad Company also, of course, had a singleplayer mode, unlike the main Battlefield series at that time. Despite spending hundreds of hours with the game, I've never played it. All my time was spent inching my way along the coast of Valparaiso, and it's still my favourite Battlefield map - better than Wake Island, or Gulf of Oman - today.