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Battlefield Bad Company 2: Vietnam Review


  • Battlefield Bad Company 2: Vietnam Review

    In the mood for a grittier, more fiery Battlefield game? Try the latest Battlefield add-on: BFBC2 Vietnam !

    For those of you new to the series, Battlefield Bad Company 2 Vietnam is the latest installment of the hugely successful Battlefield (BF) franchise developed by DICE. All Battlefield games are first person shooters with an emphasis on online, team-based multiplayer battles involving infantry and vehicles.

    Players get to choose to play one of several classes (e.g. assault, recon, engineer) and get to customize the kit (which rifle to carry, what attachment to bring). More recent BF games feature weapon unlocks and persistent player statistics.

    Built in VOIP facilitates communication between team players, making Battlefield a game that requires cooperation for success. Squad play (where each team is broken into squads) is a recurring theme in all BF games. Some BF titles feature commanders, which would talk to their squad leaders, which would in turn relay orders to their squad. Tactical Gamer encourages the use of a microphone for all Battlefield titles. Note that VOIP for BFBC2 (including Vietnam) is broken for the PC – Tactical Gamer uses Teamspeak to allow communication.

    The Battlefield series is a genre setting online multiplayer experience unmatched by any other game in my opinion.
    • Battlefield 1942 was the first game with the Battlefield title and it came out in 2002. It introduced the conquest game mode (think capture the flag). It was set in World War II and featured authentic vehicles and weapons. The game received very positive reviews. Alas, it was out when I was not actively gaming.

    • Battlefield 2 was released in 2005 and is one of the most popular online FPS games today. It is set in the modern day. BF2 is known for its openness and has resulted in many community created mods (modifications). Tactical Gamer hosts one of the best BF2 Project Reality mod servers. BF2 has set the bar so high that it may be considered the best title ever made by DICE.

    • Battlefield 2142 is set in an futuristic ice age. This is a hugely popular game with Tactical Gamer. This is also the Battlefield game that introduced me to Tactical Gamer, which makes it the best one in my book. If destroying infantry with hover tanks and Walkers (think Mechs) sounds like fun, give this title a try.

    • Bad Company 2 came out in 2010 and has sold over 5 million copies so far. The game features excellent graphics, a destructible environment, a wide variety of weapons and vehicles, and a new game mode called rush. However, it is not considered a true BF title by some PC players due to the lack of command structure (no squad leaders and no commander) and no working VOIP. It has been criticized as being consolified and being too run-and-gun. I think that BFBC2 is the best online shooter today, especially when played on the TG servers. Tactical Gamer hosts two BC2 servers: one hybrid BC2 rush/conquest server, and one Vietnam server.

    • Battlefield 3 is due out sometime in 2011 (fingers crossed).

    Charlie don't surf !

    Vietnam is an expansion for Battlefield Bad Company 2 (BFBC2). It requires BFBC2 to play. Vietnam features five new maps, eight new skins, six new vehicles, new guns, sounds, music, and an awesome 60’s feel. It is more than BFBC2 with new vehicles in a new setting. The game has a new feel to it that really sets it apart, both from BFBC2 and from other online shooters.

    I have to give credit to DICE for Vietnam. They did not focus on adding a bunch of new guns, vehicles, or skins. They created a game whose main component is the 60’s era Vietnam atmosphere. This game gives me hope that BF3 will be a worthy successor to BF2.

    So what does Vietnam offer that BFBC2 does not already have? It is certainly not the guns (there are fewer guns in Vietnam) and not the vehicles (which are absolutely awesome by the way). It is not just the addition of some great new maps. More than anything, Vietnam offers a new atmosphere. The news that are broadcast during map start and finish sound so authentic that I would not be surprised if they were actual Vietnam war footage. The soldiers and vehicles look grimy, with peace signs spray painted on tanks and cigarette packs stuck on helmets.

    The new expansion feels a bit less run-and-gun than BFBC2. The guns seem to hit harder, and there is more open ground to cover. While the maps are not as wide as Heavy Metal, ignoring cover will get you dead fast. It’s my kind of game.


    The Pibbers (river boats) have what I consider the best vehicle gun in the BF franchise. The dual 50 cal machine guns will lay waste to infantry almost as well as the BF2142 APC mortar. The boats are lightly armored and the crew quite exposed, making the boat rely on the gunners for protection which is historically accurate (hey I Wikipedia’d it).

    SHARK Huey
    Vietnam brings the Huey helocopter into the game. It is fun to fly, fun to gun, and hard to take down. Much more maneuverable than anything in vanilla BFBC2, with two side mounted machineguns for gunners and a rocket pods for the pilot, the Huey is a dangerous vehicle to have against you. Any infantry weapon is capable of damaging the helo. However it takes a lot of rounds from an LMG to take it down.

    Several other vehicles make a debut in Vietnam: we have two tanks with flame thrower add-ons, two jeeps with mounted machine guns, and even a tuk tuk which has no mounted guns and comes in a pretty white color.

    The maps (with one exception) are great. The terrain is varied and mostly favors longer range engagements than the stock BFBC2 maps, much to my delight. Of course, there is plenty of room for CQB, especially in the trenches (hello flamethrower).

    Vietnam was released with four maps. DICE set it up so that the fifth map unlocked after each community (PC, XBOX, PS3) scored X million teamwork points. The fifth map is Operation Hastings and is the best of the bunch in my opinion. PC players were the first to unlock it (proving that we are the best teamplayers). All maps feature both conquest and rush.

    Hamburger Hill
    Hamburger Hill is a burned hellish landscape that makes me shudder. The trees (or what’s left of them) throw off cinders when they are shot. There are pools of what must be burning napalm on the ground. It feels more like Doom than BF.

    The weapon selection is appropriate to the era. While some of the guns appear in vanilla BFBC2, they have a much different feel in Vietnam. The M-16 is fully automatic. The M-14 is absolutely amazing, both in feel and in effect. The gun selection is much more sparse, limited to 15 guns The sniper rifles are the only ones with scopes. Red dot? Not this time.

    All of the tools have been made to look different: the repair tool is a blow torch and the defib is an adrenaline syringe.

    There are no motion detectors, and with the removal of 3D spotting (as per the TG Vietnam server), one has to rely on vision and friendly comms (yes!).

    In many respects, Vietnam is much like BFBC2. The four kits are unchanged. The ranks carry over form BFBC2 and the Vietnam guns unlock immediately. The same game modes, including rush and conquest, are available.

    What are the downsides of BFBC2 Vietnam? For one thing, you cannot fly the F4s that scream overhead. And VOIP has not been fixed. Basically, the game inherits all the flaws of BFBC2.

    Unfortunately, expansions like this have historically had a short and more limited lifespan (remember BF2 spec ops?). With so few maps, I worry that Vietnam will not last. To top it off, servers are either all vanilla or all Vietnam. Get it while you can - it is too good of a game too miss out on.

    Huey Fire

    • sc1ence
      sc1ence commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for the review, I am off to steam to grab it. :)

    • E-Male
      E-Male commented
      Editing a comment
      Excellent review, Bleedingknee. You convey the main accomplishments of the Vietnam expansion and provide great visuals.

      The Vietnam maps represent the best example of what online FPS games can accomplish -- excellent visual and sound design, balanced weapons, varied maps, tight hit boxes, powerful yet vulnerable vehicles, and, most important of all, the absence of goofy tech toys like recon balls.

      The Vietnam maps demand intelligence from its players, instead of giving short cuts for teamwork and situation awareness, such as recon balls.

      If only DICE had the sense to allow fully modifiable games so we could reduce the goofy features of Bad Company 2 so it reflected the excellence of the V maps.

      It is also exceedingly unfortunate that DICE limited the client-base of the Vietnam maps and ensured its marginalization as an additional product by failing to fully integrate it into the existing Bad Company 2 customer base.

      As it is, they have probably doomed the best online FPS game to a very short life cycle. Hopefully the design lessons will benefit newer titles.

    • DaddyOfThree
      DaddyOfThree commented
      Editing a comment
      Great right up BleedingKnee.... the key to good team/squad communications is getting on TeamSpeak.
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