[Games] Review: Battlefield – Bad Company 2: Vietnam

So when I wrote about Battlefield – Bad Company 2 the other day, I promised – in a vague sort of way – that I’d do a follow up review of the excellent premium Vietnam DLC. Well here it is…

This isn’t, of course, the first time that DICE has turned to the war-with-the-best-soundtrack for inspiration. The original Battlefield Vietnam was released on the PC back in 2004. A direct follow up to Battlefield 1942 (in the chronology of the series’ releases if not the setting) it garnered good reviews. Now though, the Hueys, the flamethrowers and Creedence Clearwater Revival are back, in the form of a premium download for Bad Company 2, that runs to about a tenner on most formats.

First things first, Vietnam is multiplayer only. There are no new campaign missions or weapons. Honestly though, who plays BC2 for the offline stuff? No, this baby is all about the player vs player side of things, and in that department it really delivers.

For your money you essentially get an all-new multiplayer experience. If this was an Activision release they’d probably call it a standalone game and charge you forty quid for the privilege of entry. It really is a complete package. It even gets its own menu, separate from the main game, with the aforementioned CCR strumming away in the background to get you in the late sixties kind of vibe. That’s typical of the amount of detail DICE has lavished on this this add-on. As is the fact that each of the five new maps is introduced with an authentic, if slightly tongue in cheek, newsreel-style voiceover. And what brilliant maps they are.

Attack of the conical hatted people

Attack of the conical hatted people

Far from being simple re-skinned retreads of BC2 maps they really do offer a different feel to the main game. The dense jungle foliage of many maps means firefights are hemmed into close quarters. Throw in the new flamethrower and things can really get up close and brutal. That feeling is heightened by the restrictions on scopes. Unlike Call of Duty Black Ops’ anachronistic take on cold war weapons loadouts, Vietnam restricts the use of scopes to a few weapons, only available to the recon class. This rebalances the gameplay, putting more emphasis on fast squad movement and lightning reactions in close quarters than on scoped assault rifle use from medium to long ranges.

It’s a welcome change of pace. It doesn’t necessarily make the game any better, there wasn’t much wrong with the balance in BC2 generally, but it does offer a different kind of challenge.

The tanks may be tiny, but they still pack a punch

The tanks may be tiny, but they still pack a punch

As well as a remarkable selection of fifteen shiny, and not so shiny, new weapons to play with there are also six new vehicles. As could be expected they fulfil almost exactly the same roles as the vehicles in BC2 itself. Tanks were still tanks forty years ago remember. Still, they fit in with the environments perfectly and – in a glorious touch – vehicle pilots can choose a musical accompaniment for their destruction once they clamber aboard. I guarantee you’ll be grinning like an idiot when you fire up the Huey for the first time and Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries blares out of the speakers.

In all Battlefield – Bad Company 2: Vietnam offers everything you could hope for in a multiplayer DLC release. Great new maps, new weapons, new vehicles and a subtly reworked gameplay dynamic. If you love the smell of napalm in the morning, it could be the best 10 pounds you spend this year.

9/10

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