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Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam Review

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam pack shot
Developer:DICE
Publisher:Electronic Arts
Genre:First Person Shooter
Platform:Xbox 360
Official Site:http://www.battlefieldbadcompany2.com/vietnam
Release Date:December 21st, 2010 (UK)
Reviewer:Andy Hemphill (Bandit)
 

I loved Bad Company 2. For me it was game of the year. Balancing a decent singleplayer campaign with a thrilling, addictive and varied multiplayer experience, the game covered all the angles, and is one I still spin-up week on week, when others have fallen to the dusty end of my game case shelf.

So, the announcement of a Vietnam expansion for the game was not something I was too excited about - the game was already awesome, and I was fully expecting an DLC add-on to be a half-arsed attempt to grab my cash and deliver very little.

Thankfully, I was wrong. Retailing at 1200 Microsoft points (£12 in real money), the expansion offers a whole load of new content, all wrapped up in a presentation that makes you smile every time you boot the game.

The core of the expansion are the five new maps, all of which are playable on the conquest or rush game modes. The maps themselves have a very distinct feel to the Bad Company 2 maps, as the focus is more on width than height.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam screenshot 1 Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam screenshot 2 Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam screenshot 3 Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam screenshot 4

This is a vague way of describing things, so for an example - take Arica Harbour, one of my favourite BC2 maps - it's a commando raid into an enemy encampment, and features battles in crowded streets, lots of sniping from high-rise buildings and a battle on a bridge. In Vietnam, on the Hill 137 map, the area you play in is four times wider than Arica Harbour, and covered in dense foliage, small huts and smaller hills.

This presents far more opportunity for outflanking the objectives in one of the two or three period vehicles, or for sniping from a hilltop far out on the right, and the rewards for a savvy gamer who does this can be huge - as the majority of gamers still rush right up the middle. The maps are all very well designed, and offer a good variety in the action, ranging from an amphibious assault to clearing foxholes and blowing up an abandoned temple, and can be tackled in the various dozens of ways DICE's games are known for.

They maps also look aesthetically pleasing, and are well rendered and designed. A few of them have the MCOM points (this time around the objectives are old ham radio units) a little close together, and quite often favour the attacking team.

This is especially telling in the early areas of the maps, when the Americans, for example, can have both charges armed and in place before even the swiftest Korean solider rolls up. But on the whole the maps are some of the best in the series, especially when combined with the weapons and vehicles on offer.

You've probably seen Apocalypse Now, and if you haven't, you should, because this next bit will make more sense. Ride of the Valkyries, playing through a radio, inside a UH-1 Huey helicopter. Things just got epic.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam screenshot 5 Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam screenshot 6 Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam screenshot 7 Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam screenshot 8

Yes, the developers have clearly got their tongued wedged firmly in their cheeks, as BFBC2 Vietnam is stuffed full of 60s references, from the TV news-style commentator who censors the news when the Americans lose, to the compass and paper map-style presentation of the loading screen, to the soundtrack, which features the Rolling Stones and other 60s staples, doing what they do best - ripping it up.

The fact that these tracks can be picked for your helicopter, tank or jeep in-game only adds to the fun, as roaring down a dirt track with the Stones blaring out only makes things more epic. As well as the five new maps, there are six new vehicles, and 15 new weapons to play with, including my personal favourite, the M79 "blooper" grenade launcher and, most importantly, a flamethrower.

Fire is a big part of Vietnam, and the developers have coded the blazing mechanic very well indeed. Most of the jungle flora can be set alight, and the flamethrowers make an ideal weapon for clearing the myriad boltholes and huts which dot the landscape.

Of course, the fact that you can bolt a flamethrower onto your tank doesn't hurt either. There doesn't appear to be an experience system for the expansion, as when I launched I had full access to all the weapons and customisations (magnum ammo et al).

This is a good thing in my opinion, as I really didn't fancy unlocking everything all over again. While some of the weapons seem overpowered, whereas in real life they're very inaccurate (I'm looking at you, AK47) there's a good variety of new toys to play with, and the period touches - binoculars and a radio rather than a laser designator - bring the world to life.

Summary

While gameplay wise it's pretty much the same. Though the weapons, maps and vehicles change, the addictive nature of Bad Company's multiplayer continues to shine through, and the addition of Vietnam's new guns and maps, and sheer character, makes a great game even greater - and well worth £12 of anyone's money.

The bottom line
8.5 / 10

Good stuff

  • Great character
  • Good maps, weapons and vehicles
  • Rocking soundtrack

Not so good stuff

  • Similar gameplay
  • Map design too compact at points


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