UPDATED: March 13th. Vehicle Tips page added! Read it if you ever want to drive a 4WD outside the city without an air freshener that smells like shame.
Manliness. Awesomeness. The two go hand-in-hand. Not in some rainbow-loving prance-through-a-meadow way, either. It's the kind of hand-in-hand a man uses to lower his squad-mate over the edge of an enemy rooftop you've both just HALO-dropped onto so he can stab some second-storey sniper in the eye. With a grenade.
Sadly, this two-punch combo of win is lacking from most squad mates I happen to play with. And I've read one too many posts from brand new players genuinely wanting to know some very basic information on very basic game mechanics that the game doesn't want to tell anyone. So in the interests of making you all into better people, put your dainty little girl-hand in my hairy-knuckled fist and let me take you to see how a real man fights a war.
...in a video game.
I know what you're thinking, though: who the hell are you, BigGunsNeverTire, you ruggedly-handsome Australian sex god of war, to tell everyone in the entire world how to play the game? Ultimately? Well, I'm a guy who does alright. I play BC2 on PC (so some stuff I talk about will only be PC-relevant). I play a lot of Rush. I just got my 24-hours-of-game-time pin. For what it's worth, at the time of writing, I'm somewhere around #5000 for score on the leaderboards with a score-per-minute of 340, a K/D of about 1.34, and with 109 games under my belt I've got 30 Ace awards (ie: highest score in the game) and 235 dog tags, because forcibly removing a man's eyeball with a rusty butterknife makes me feel warm inside.
So without further ado:
-- THE ULTIMATE BC2 GUIDE TO BEING MANLY AND AWESOME --
-- Part 1: General Tips --
-- Part 2: Vehicle Tips --
-- Part 3: Recon -- (TBA)
-- Part 4: Engineer -- (TBA)
-- Part 5: Medic -- (TBA)
-- Part 6: Assault -- (TBA)
-- PART 1: GENERAL TIPS --
MAKE THE GAME RUN SMOOTH.
If you can. 'cause while you're busy marvelling at the splendour of your 16xAA masterpiece, some mother hubbard is going to explode your beautifully-rendered brain matter all over the nearest wall. Stuttery lag gets you killed. Tone it down.
TURN YOUR SENSITIVITY UP.
Not the express-your-feelings-through-poetry kind. The turn-around-and-unleash-hell kind. Even just 10-20% or so up from the default setting. It might feel weird at first, but you'll get used to it, and in a close firefight it'll let you turn a faster circle than the other guy who didn't turn his up. Also, from personal experience, it occasionally allows you to leap over a man's head, turn around and stab him in the spine before he can do the 180, thus ensuring he can never turn around again for the rest of his short and horribly-painful life.
EMBIGGEN YOUR FOV.
Yeah, that's right, embiggen. FOV (Field Of View) is basically the game's measurement of how tunnel-visioned you are. You know how funny it is when you run almost straight at a sniper and he can't see you at all because he's scoped-in, and then you use your repair tool to bore holes into his temples? Using the default FOV makes everyone a bit like that. By default, go to My Documents\BFBC2 and find settings.ini, then right down the bottom, "Fov=55". That 55 is the angle of vision you have. Changing that number to somewhere between 65-75 seems to be the sweet spot for most people.
USE YOUR Q KEY / SELECT BUTTON.
This is your "Communicate" button, which is your context-sensitive everything button. Over an enemy, it puts those little orange icons above their heads so your whole team can see them. Over an objective, tells your squad to attack/defend it. Over a vehicle with empty seats, calls for a pickup. Over a medic when you're hurt, calls for help. Over an assault when low on ammo, calls for bullets (the good kind). Absolutely and utterly invaluable. Use it constantly. Even when you're not playing the game. Use it on your dad. He'll shake your hand.
USE YOUR MINIMAP.
The minimap tells you everything, when combined with everyone using their Communicate buttons. Where the nearest medic is (that cross icon). Where the ammo crates are (that bullet icon). Where the enemy are (all those orange things). If your whole team is staring up the road towards the enemy base and you see orange arrows on the minimap pointing behind you, you're being flanked and some brave soul probably just died trying to stop it and called out their position with his dying breath. Don't let him die in vain: bring the thunder.
TALK TO EACHOTHER.
The spotting system isn't flawless. Sometimes you see an enemy but can't light them up for the team to see. For these situations, microphones are awesome. And for consoles, pretty much your only option. That said, the in-game voice chat is iffy at best, so if you play with regulars, get a ventrilo server or something and you're set. The ability to yell "they're heading to B!" can save the game. Short of that, if I'm not currently busy taking a bullet in the lung defending the point in question, I like to take two seconds to type out "enemy at B" or "behind A" and get the cavalry rushing in. Not that I couldn't take them all myself. Bare-handed. I just want people to come witness it.
The sound in this game is bad*. Especially if you've got it set to "War Tapes" mode under sound options and have the volume cranked. You can also get a lot of information about what's going on around you by paying attention to sounds, particularly the voices. Most of the things your own team says will just be audio cues for information already available on your minimap -- someone needs a medic, infantry spotted, etc. But, listen to the enemy voices. Kill a lone enemy, but hear "we got a man down over here!" from somewhere nearby? You know there's at least one more around. Building you suspect an enemy might be in? Throw a grenade. If you hear "granada!", either the building is full of Russians, or someone inside is singing that Allan Sherman song. In either case you should storm inside and brutally murder absolutely everyone you find.
SQUAD = EXPERIENCE.
Even if you're the least team-focused person in the world, consider this: you get bonus points for everything you do in the game that involves your squad. Everything. Resupplying your squad while standing near a point your squad is defending while assisting a kill on an enemy is worth a ridiculous number of points (20 per-tick per-person for a squad resupply, 20 per-tick for squad defend order, 20 for squad kill assist), as opposed to the 50 you get for running off on your own and killing one guy. Your squad mates are walking, talking experience-point vending machines. Hang out together.
IF YOU'RE THE LAST SQUAD MEMBER ALIVE, STAY ALIVE.
As a squad member, you are a mobile spawn point for 3 other people. The trip to the defenders' base is a long and treacherous affair riddled with sniper fire and stationary weapon emplacements, and the less time you have to spend charging through that hell, the more time you get to spend turning the defenders into works of modern art. It takes 10 seconds for reinforcements to spawn right to your side. Hide for those 10 seconds. Find somewhere behind cover and don't move, don't shoot unless you're directly threatened, don't run out and try and plant the charge on that MCOM Station because you think the coast is clear.
PICK UP OTHER KITS.
You've just survived a fight, but you're low on ammo and health and your team are off doing whatever it is they do while you're busy being awesome. If there's a dead assault or medic nearby, pick up their stuff and drop their ammo/medkit. Then pick your own stuff back up and wait 3 seconds. You're now fully loaded, fully healed, and you'll also get points for resupplying anyone who wanders back this way in the near future, too. For extra man-points, kill an enemy medic and use his own defibrilators to revive a friendly he just killed, or stab an engineer repairing a tank and then use his own rocket launcher to blow the thing up. Then walk away from the resulting explosion in slow-motion.
USE YOUR KNIFE.
Melee combat. One of the manliest courses of action possible in BC2. As a general rule, if you get the jump on a single enemy soldier at close range, you want to knife him. A press of the middle mouse button (or Y, or Triangle) from a range of up to about 10ft will cause you to spring forward and plant the knife in some vital organ or another, instantly killing him and doing so without necessarily alerting all his friends. This goes doubly for getting the jump on a scoped sniper, or someone manning an emplacement, since they're generally immobile and oh-so-easy to stab. It's pretty buggy, however, and you'll sometimes stab a guy multiple times before it registers, during which time he might try to stab you back. These circle-fights are one of those times where improved sensitivity comes in very handy.
KILL MEDICS FIRST.
There's nothing worse than going to all the effort of running in and tearing open three men like a human can-opener, only to watch in deathcam as their medic runs up and revives them all. If you get the opportunity, try and kill medics first to stop them effectively negating the impact of any killing you've just done, especially if you're on defense. You can usually spot them by their big, tripod-fitted machinegun, and more readily visible, their hat. White hat for American medics, red beret for Russian. Snipers, I'm looking at you.
HELP DEFEND THE OBJECTIVES.
If you're on defense, and the charge gets armed, get there and disarm it. Unless you're involved in a direct fire fight, just do it. Don't be blind about it though -- keep your eyes open, because somebody planted that charge and is almost certainly perched to shoot anyone trying to touch it. If you're nearby and it only just got armed, do a lap of the building. If you get there and there's already 2 or 3 people disarming it, don't get on the crate: just cover them from a small distance away. 2-3 people is generally enough meat to survive being blown away by bullets before it disarms, but you'll just be adding to the cleanup job if someone drops one well-placed explosive on you all.
HELP ATTACK THE OBJECTIVES.
A good percentage of the enemy team is going to be rushing for that little flashing box the second the charge gets armed, leaving the safety of their cover and probably not looking in your direction. If ever there was a time to grow big manly balls and run headlong into the enemy lines, this is it. The defenders have no alternative but to run up and get touchy-feely with the station: it's the perfect ambush. Find a spot with line-of-sight to the box and blow away everyone who comes near. Explosives work best. Smoke grenades and motion sensors work wonders if you want to stay close. And to disarm it, they pretty much have to stand still for a few seconds, in a place you know they're going to be -- snipers, what more could you ask for?
SHORT, CONTROLLED BURSTS.
Just like in Aliens. That movie was awesome. If you haven't watched it, get your The Notebook-watching rosepetal-scented eyeballs the hell off my sentence, princess, and go iron your squad mate's shirt or something. Anyway. Bullets spread apart further from where you're pointing the longer you hold down the trigger. Assuming your sights are actually over the enemy, this is a bad thing. To counteract it, and actually kill people, fire a few rounds, release the trigger, then fire again. Repeat. That quarter-second breather you give your weapon between bursts will significantly increase your enemies' desire to fall down and suck dirt. Oh, and unless you're using a shotgun, or have one of the accuracy upgrades, always use your iron sights to aim before you fire. Even at close range; trust me.
IF YOU HEAR BEEPING, THEY KNOW WHERE YOU ARE.
Beep. Beep beep. If you've never played Recon, or played Recon but never actually thrown your motion sensor before (which is entirely possible from what I've seen), this sound might be unfamiliar to you. It's the sound of a magical device those men in the swamp-thing costumes throw out which lets them know exactly where you are, what you're doing and which way you're facing, for a reasonable length of time. It beeps when there's enemies nearby. If you use your minimap (see how this all ties together?), a friendly motion sensor will show a white pulsing circle, and will show up any enemies within it as orange arrows. If you hear the beep but don't see the circle, that beeping is you, because it means an enemy has thrown a motion sensor at your feet and his entire team are coming to murder you and everything you've ever loved. Find a new hiding spot, and get ready for a fight.