By Duncan Voice
Since the release of Bad Company 2 early last year (reviewed here), developer DICE have supported their popular modern day shooter with regular free updates. Focusing on realistic, tactical play rather than kill streaks and remote control cars, it quickly established itself as one of the best, if not the best, of the online shooters. Battlefield: Bad Company 2: Vietnam is the first paid expansion for the title, taking the action from war-torn towns and deserts to lush, Asian jungles.
Fundamentally, everything still feels the same. Players who work together will dominate those who prefer to go it alone, and all the classes remain as they were before. Sprinting no longer feels sluggish, whilst reloading is a few fractions of a seconds quicker. Thanks to the intimacy of the new maps, this slightly quicker pace brings a level of intensity to the battles only rarely seen in their modern day counterparts.
Those who prefer to unhelpfully play as the Recon class and snipe their way to the top of the leaderboard will find themselves stifled for parts of each game, with maps ranging from wide open spaces to tiny locales littered with flora and fauna. They encourage thoughtful selection of class, and thankfully keep the powerful flamethrower from becoming overpowered.
Instead of assuming all gamers need guns that one might see during some modern day warfare or black operations, Bad Company 2: Vietnam’s guns are all authentic to the period and feel like they could fall to pieces during periods of sustained fire. No one gun feels much better than another and it’s testament to developer DICE that a gun is chosen because of the way it handles, rather than because it was a high level unlock.
In my previous review for Bad Company 2, I mentioned an explosive sequence that could have easily have been a scripted set piece. In Battlefield: Bad Company 2: Vietnam, there was a similar moment that was so cinematic, it felt like a scene from Full Metal Jacket. Knee deep in a paddy field desperately trying to defend the last point from capture, my squad and I worked in perfect synchronicity, whittling down the enemy numbers as they charged towards us. Soldiers were systematically cut down in a wave of bullets, tanks fell victim to our expert engineer and the helicopter flying around to the tune of Ride of the Valkyries eventually came crashing down a few feet in front of us.
The soundtrack is, you guessed it, authentic to the period. It features 49 tracks, ranging from Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival (look it up, you’ll be glad you did) to some very psychedelic, almost Jimi Hendrix-like songs. Thankfully Surfin’ Bird neglects to make an appearance.
You could pay £10 for five re-skinned maps, or you could pay the same for an authentic gaming Vietnam experience. If you’re a fan of Battlefield, this is utterly essential.
9 OUT OF 10
All images © 2010 Electronic Arts Inc. All Rights Reserved