Battlefield: Bad Company was Digital Illusions' bold attempt at introducing single-player gameplay to the already solid formula of a multiplayer game. Since the game evolved, the music too developed in many ways under the hands of new composer Mikael Karlsson. Wanting a break from the modern cinematic sound of Battlefield 2142 and Battlefield 2: Modern Combat, Karlsson decided to take a more nostalgic approach featuring classically-oriented orchestral an chamber performances.
The soundtrack opens with an orchestration of the classic Battlefield theme. The first of the piece starts slowly with an original section that testifies to Karlsson's classical grace. However, it soon kicks into a rendition of the iconic theme from the franchise. The bold brass melody and edgy string ostinato remain intact, but the final sound is more enthralling than ever for one key reason: the low-fi samples are replaced with the passionate performances of experienced instrumentalists. But at 1:57, the final track is distressingly brief for what is supposed to be the main selling point of the soundtrack.
There are also three original orchestral pieces created for the game. "Prelude to a Lost Cause" deviates from the military sound in favour of rich romantic orchestration. It's a fine demonstration of Karlsson's classical finesse, but it's not quite as special as his orchestrations on Battlefield: Bad Company 2. "War Theme" is an outstanding tutti with a more narrative focus showing how war corrupts even beautiful places. "Legionnaire's Theme" conveys so much humanity with its wandering phrases and eerie suspensions, though the orchestral version is disappointingly brief at 1:13.
The rest of the soundtrack features adaptations of the four themes for chamber ensemble. The string quartet adaptation of the Battlefield theme isn't as outwardly catchy as the original, but adds a fascinating new perspective to the theme, while the performance of "Prelude to a Lost Cause" will especially appeal with its slavonic mood. "Legionnaire's Theme" is also explored further with beautifully performed piano and cello solos. The lonely and melancholy sounds of the cello are an especially striking way to end the soundtrack, once again showing that Battlefield: Bad Company is no ordinary military soundtrack.
Note that Electronic Arts originally released a different version of the soundtrack, featuring 14 rather than 10 tracks. This version includes some additional short cues, but doesn't emphasise the thematic continuity of the music as much as the suite-based second version. The original version of the soundtrack can no longer be purchased.
The most notable aspect of the soundtrack is its originality. It's a rarity that military first-person shooters inspire authentic performances from classical ensembles. Whether written for orchestra, string quartet, or solo instrumentalist, every track stands out as being beautifully written and performed. It's just a pity that there isn't more music here the individual tracks tend to be brief and there are only four themes meaning the stand-alone soundtrack might not justify its nine dollar pricetag.