Picture the scene – the sun is rising and breaking through the jungle tops, a waterfall winds its way through the valley and the wind is blowing the tall grass from side to side. Then, all of a sudden, you hear the thunder of a napalm strike, the rumble of an MK2 tank firing 20 pound shells past you and the sound of a Huey flying overhead on a missile run, blasting out Ride Of The Valkyrie. You think you’re in hell? Well, wrong, you’re in paradise. Welcome to Battlefield Bad Company 2: Vietnam, the latest DLC pack to hit the marketplace from DICE studios
Right off the bat, solo gamers stay home for this one because Battlefield Vietnam is an online only affair. Thereâ€™s no single player campaign, no bots and you canâ€™t ever run around the maps by yourself. Battlefield games are built on the roots of multiplayer games from 1942 to 2142 and everything in between. All the games are based on multiplayer at their core and this is why Vietnam is solely a multiplayer game.
What do you get for your 1200ms points? For a start you get 5 new maps (though Operation Hastings is an unlockable map, but Iâ€™ll come back to that later) and you also get 2 hours of 60â€™s soundtrack, 15 new Vietnam-era weapons, 6 new vehicles, 10 new achievements and hours and hours of multiplayer gameplay.
You play as Americans or Vietnamese and each country has the same classes to pick from which are lifted straight from the main game. These are an assault, sniper, engineer and medic. Each one has their own strengths and weaknesses, but in short the sniper is long range, the engineer is short range but packs an RPG to take out vehicles, medic is support and assault is an all-round good guy. On top of this there are 6 vehicles in the game to get to grips with like tanks, jeeps, tuktuks and also patrol boats to rage hell on the water ways. Theyâ€™re all easy to drive and get the hang of. Then thereâ€™s the Huey helicopter – getting to grips with the flight controls can be a real pain as you can only fly them in game, but once you get the hang of it, the chopper in particular opens up a wealth of new attacking options to you and your team.
So, what are the maps like? Well, they are beautiful but space-hungry, and they are well balanced. Phu Bai Valley is the best map to start with as it is a double figure 8 shape and you observe both teams racing to the front in tanks and choppers to get a foot hold on the map. This is a vehicle heavy map and lets players pick how they want to attack. The team who wins the chopper owns the skies and this gives them the upper hand in the fight, though tank gunners can soon clip their wings, so a good pilot is a must.
The other maps are well balanced. Cao Son Temple has you starting on the river bank and fighting your way into the jungle with the final stand being in a secluded temple. This map is an upward struggle for attackers, so expect lots of fire fights working your way to the flags.
The third map in the pack is Hill 137 and this map has been called the perfect flame-thrower map by DICE. This one sees the attack take place along a river bank with the attackers pushing forward with PT boats. The biggest stand out point on this map is that half way through a napalm strike is dropped and burns everything in its path. So from fighting in a lush jungle, the fighting moves to a baron dead place where the ground is scorched and burnt. This map is also full of tunnels and foxholes.
The final map in the pack is Vantage Point and this is easily the biggest of the maps in the DLC. Vantage Point is a long winding map which sees you fighting in a shallow creek before fighting across rice fields and ending in a NVA POW camp. This map also has tanks which add a layer of tactics to the gameplay.
The four maps are great fun to play, though you may get tried of them after playing them a hundred times, so letâ€™s hope DICE/EA support the game in the future and have plans to add some new maps at a later date as it is not a standalone arcade game but is a standalone game within the full game.
If you find yourself feeling bored of the same four maps in Battlefield Vietnam, try thinking out of the box. You need to think about using the skies and the rivers to your advantage instead of just running around the maps playing it like itâ€™s Halo Reach or Call Of Duty. Itâ€™s a sand box game in away, do what you want, how you want, where you want. There are thousands of ways to play and half the fun is finding them. Though rigging a jeep with dynamite and driving it straight into an enemy flag or tank to blow it up always seems to work well I think. Thatâ€™s one of the best things about Battlefield games, nothing in the game is scripted. Every game plays out different to the last and no two games are the same. From the fire fights on the river banks, to the epic dog fights above, nothing is ever the same twice and this gives the game and players a sense of camaraderie that few other multiplayer games manage.
Also, on the games release a community challenge was set by DICE to unlock a map, Operation Hastings, which will be available soon after the community manage to reach 69 million team actions each (meaning a total of 207 million team actions). Team actions are represented by player actions like: resupply, heal, revive, repair or enemy spotting. So if you have a more rogue-like approach to the game, just remember that team oriented gameplay will get you rewarded. (Since writing this review, the community challenge has been completed and the Operation Hastings map is available to all.)
When a game is built entirely for multiplayer there is always going to be a make or break point because it is based on players and not AIs, but the thrills of Battlefield Bad Company 2:Vietnam outweigh the frustrations. A must buy for all FPS fans and battlefield fans alike.
I love the smell of napalm in the morning!