DICE may have nearly perfected squad combat with Battlefield: Bad Company 2’s multiplayer, but they’ve definitely taken a page out of the Modern Warfare series for their latest multiplayer-only expansion, Vietnam.As is pretty evident in the name, the action has now shifted to Vietnam during the seventies. You either play as an American or a Vietnamese soldier in the two versus modes made popular by the Bad Company series – Rush and Conquest. In Conquest, each team has to capture a certain amount of flags and then hold on to them for as long as possible while in Rush you’ll have to bomb enemy M-Com Stations. It’s standard stuff for anyone who’s played the previous Bad Company games. Other gameplay mechanics too remain the same, so Medics will be able to resurrect you from the dead, Engineers will fix your battered tank and Snipers will as always be a pain in the butt.
While core gameplay in Vietnam remains the same, it’s the drastic change of period that gives Vietnam its vibrant personality. For starters, there are no red dot sights in the game so you either hone your iron sight skills or move in closer for the kill. This invariably makes infantry combat a lot more claustrophobic and intense. Tweaking weapons to reflect the times is also a very nice touch and DICE have made sure each and every weapon available in the game are a testament to the wear and tear of that war. Your AK47s will have bandages holding the clips together, rocket launchers will have straws in a bid to camouflage them and pretty much every weapon is caked in dust and rust. I’m just glad DICE stopped the authenticity train before weapon jamming, a gameplay mechanic that made my Far Cry 2 experience rather annoying.
Army of Two
Vietnam has no single player campaign so if you’re not a multiplayer kind of guy, avoid it completely. It ships with around four maps, each of which offer both Rush and Conquest modes. Maps themselves are rather well designed and are graphically superior to the ones seen in Bad Company 2. From dense jungles where death awaits you at every shrubbery to a burning hill where snipers reign down pain ever so often, to the open rice paddies where a chopper could pick you off in seconds, Vietnam’s maps are a sight to behold. On the flip side there are quite a few clipping issues present in the game so I did find myself getting stuck in the environment every now and then. Also in some of the maps, the limitations aren’t laid out too clear so while you think you’re being all clever and stuff flanking the enemy, the game thinks you’re running away from a fight. And unless you return in a matter of ten seconds, you’ll die a rather stupid and unnecessary death.
Since most of the maps present in this game are relatively smaller in scope, the dependency on vehicles has reduced drastically in this expansion as well. In fact during my ten odd hours with the game I never really made use of any of the land, sea or aerial vehicles available. It’s this focus on infantry combat that made me think, “Could this be DICE’s ode to the Modern Warfare series?” If so, it’s a mighty fine one allowing newcomers to enjoy the game without feeling like complete noobs.
For an expansion pack priced at $15 (Rs. 676), Battlefield Vietnam brings a healthy chunk of content to the table. Besides the four new maps, you have a bunch of new vehicles and weapons to play with including a devastating Flamethrower than can well, burn stuff. DICE have definitely dumbed some of the game’s mechanics down making it approachable to newcomers so if BFBC2 seemed kind of daunting, Vietnam could ease you in.
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