Review: Battlefield: Bad Company 2: Vietnam

GOOD MORNING VIETNAM

Developer: EA Digital Illusions CE
Genre: First Person Shooter
Platform(s): PlayStation 3 [PlayStation Network] & Xbox 360 [Xbox Live Arcade]
Release Date: December 21, 2010
Rating: 9.8

Earlier this year, DICE made the breakthrough they’d been awaiting for a while, as Bad Company 2, the eighth title in the Battlefield series, gained worldwide acclaim and mainstream success. It offered to a console-playing audience large-scale, tactical multiplayer that had great emphasis on teamwork and infantry/vehicle combination, and for me it remains the greatest title of 2010. The Vietnam expansion however, instead of adding new weapons and vehicles to the fray, takes the whole scene back forty years to the height of the Vietnamese conflict. While it is in part a remake of 2004’s Battlefield Vietnam, it takes full advantage of the Frostbite Engine and Bad Company 2’s gameplay to create a brilliantly intense and staggeringly believable jungle warfare experience.

For 1200 Microsoft Points, £10 or $15, the Vietnam pack holds 4 maps (with a fifth on its way after a 1943-style community challenge is completed), 14 new guns and a host of vehicles, but after an hour or so, players will realise there is so much more to this expansion. DICE have not simply added extra environments and weapons to the mix, but the experience is wholly anew.

Not actually a good morning, is it?

What players will notice first is that combat in general has changed from what was usually mid-range and long-range engagement to a much more visceral, close-quarters feel. This is due to a total removal of all sights and scopes of non-Recon weaponry, and maps challenging players to fight their way through muddy, burnt-out trenches and claustrophobic caves to reach their objectives. Forget uselessly sniping on the attacking team, the emphasis is now clearly to push forwards, no matter what lies ahead. To complement this, small tweaks have been made, such as a slight decrease in health and the recharge rate for the Medic’s revive ability, and an increase in the effectiveness of short range weapons (I finally found great success with the shotgun, without having to use the 12-Gauge slugs).

The Vietnam war, through films, books and music has become massively romanticised over the last forty years, and it’s through films like Apocalypse Now and Forrest Gump that many of its most prominent stereotypes were born. As such, DICE spares not a single cliché and reference in the atmosphere of the expansion. Two hours worth of soundtrack have been added – a welcome change to Bad Company 2’s minimal, if not boring music – meaning loading screens are a lot more pleasing to the ears, tank advances can be given an extra kick by blasting out Fortunate Son over the speakers, and the legendary helicopter scene with ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ from Apocalypse Now can be recreated.

Bad Company 2: Vietnam is truly an explosive and entertaining experience.

Every gun you’ve ever seen in a ‘Nam film is also here, be it from the classic M16A1, to the ‘Pig’ M60 or the AK-47, and the sound team have once again done a fantastic job mastering the SFX for the guns. Also, entirely new character models have been added (one, I noticed, looks suspiciously similar to Joker from Full Metal Jacket), as have totally new voice samples. Everything in Vietnam, with the exception of the shotgun and a few other rifles, is totally new, and by no means is this just Bad Company 2 in a jungle.

Battlefield’s style of multiplayer has remained popular for eight years now, and when they’re pushing out expansions of this quality for games that are already as superb as Bad Company 2, it should be no surprise. For just a quarter of the launch price of the game, players receive 5 maps of what is almost a new game altogether, and if you’ve been as addicted since March like I have, this is a tour of duty you’ll want to take.

Reviewed by failboatskipper – January 14, 2011

Graphics
Textures, light effects and gun details are fantastic. The glow of an M-COM station exploding and the rust on the corners of your M16 are truly impressive.
 
Sound
Using Dolby’s technology to the limit as they do, the Bad Company games have the best shooter sound effects in any game, hands down. The 60s themed soundtrack is also a brilliant touch.
 
Fun
If you like team games, you can’t do better than Battlefield, and Bad Company 2 masters the mechanics of an explosive, rewarding and balanced shooter.
 
Final Score

 

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