reviews\ Dec 29, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam Review


New weapons, new maps, new vehicles, a few dozen songs, and a fresh coat of paint. These are the humble offerings of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam, a multiplayer-only expansion to DICE’s hit FPS that kicks players into the wayback machine with four maps (soon five) based on the Vietnam war. Not to be confused with a simple map pack, the expansion sits on a different menu from the rest of the multiplayer offerings, jamming a significant wedge between the regular game and the new content.

Some statistics are shared between the original and the expansion, such as the player’s rank and unlocked equipment. Fans should rest easy knowing that they aren’t going to have to work towards unlocking the 15 new weapons again if they’ve already done so in Bad Company 2. In fact, on paper, it might be hard to see why the expansion is getting so much press, especially considering that there aren’t really any actual improvements to speak of, with the only real gameplay differences coming from the previously mentioned maps, six new vehicles, and 15 new weapons.

But oh, what a difference these additions make. It’s an incredibly dense package, and the drop back to the 1960’s dramatically alters the game, even if the code remains mostly untouched. Weapons are less accurate and do less damage than their Bad Company 2 counterparts, meaning more gunfire is necessary to take down a foe. Vehicles suffer even more of a setback, with tanks that spawn less frequently and helicopters that can be shot down by small arms fire. With these mechanics plunged into the new maps, all of which are set in the jungles of Vietnam with both Rush and Conquest modes available, one important thing has changed: people spend a lot more time shooting.

There’s no doubt that DICE really put care into the new maps. Each provides a slightly different experience, and while they all take place in the same general area, there are plenty of unique set pieces to set them apart. Vantage Point, for instance, features hillier, mountainous regions than Phu Bai Valley, which has more jungles. Hill 137, on the other hand, features dark caves contrasted by a massive field devastated by napalm and mortar attacks. It is easily the strongest looking map, with some of the best visuals the series has ever seen. It’s hard not to have some sort of reaction the first time you wander out of a dark forest into a massive, burnt-out wasteland. Odds are there will be no time to admire the scenery, though, as not a second goes by where the enemy players aren’t firing blindly into the distance.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam is a much more chaotic game than either Bad Company 2 vanilla or Battlefield 1943, and provides the most frenzied combat of any Battlefield title. It feels a lot more like Vietnam, or at least, how Hollywood taught me to perceive the war. Players will spend more time hiding behind cover, planning assaults and flanks. There are no remote controlled helicopters, no motion detectors, no heat-seeking missiles. Instead, there are flamethrowers, a new weapon that can destroy foliage and decimate enemies at close range. Everything is closer, more brutal, more desperate. The game, on the whole, is much different because of it.

Yes, different. Not better, not worse, but different. Bad Company 2 Vietnam provides an experience that is, at its core, as different from regular Bad Company 2 as Battlefield 1943 is. The controls are the same, the graphics are as high-quality as they were before, and there’s little to excite those who passed on DICE’s previous efforts. For fans of the series, however, there are four new, fantastic maps to explore, new weapons to master, and, most importantly, more dog tags to collect… while listening to Flight of the Valkyries.


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