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Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam Review

Review; Dec. 28, 2010; Channels: Video Games; By Kyle James Hovanec
War is hell, but this expansion is heaven

OK, DICE and EA, I give. What’s your game? With the release of Battlefield 1943, all of the free (for VIP members) Bad Company 2 content and now a full expansion Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam, there has to be something up. Modern console FPSs simply don’t offer you this much content for such a reasonable asking price. I’ve been around the bush, played my fair share of FPSs, and I know for a fact that the Call of Duty’s and Halo’s don’t offer this much content per dollar. Why are you so generous, EA? I repeat: What’s your game?

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam Screenshots
Click the image to view screenshots

Whatever the reason, it doesn’t really matter. The player will ultimately be the one to benefit, since Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam is probably the best expansion for a console FPS that I’ve ever played. For the asking price of $14.99, players get a total of four maps (five if the community can work together and unlock it), a slew of all-new weapons and vehicles, and all the familiar game modes of the core Bad Company 2 experience. Conquest, Rush, Squad Rush, and Team Deathmatch are here and accounted for, but this time, the game plays slightly different. Being set in the Vietnam War era means era-appropriate weaponry. Fancy M16s with 4x scopes have been replaced with old iron sight M16s and Uzi submachine guns replace the fancy SCARs and mini XM8s which populated Bad Company 2. This significantly changes the playing field as the fancy red dot sights and acog scopes are no longer available. No more hitting enemies halfway across the map with heavy machine guns or sniping with SMGs. It now is much harder to hit enemies from a distance with anything but an assault rifle or sniper. Bad Company 2 veterans might feel disappointed at the lack of long range warfare, but for everyone else, this was the perfect way to rebalance the game play and the starting point for new players. Each class is even more focused than it was before and forces players to focus more on their specific class and its strengths and weaknesses. While there are no gadgets or new weapons to unlock in the Vietnam expansion, all of the experience you gain during matches transfers over to Bad Company 2, where those points can be used to unlock new weapons and perks.

This brings up one of the most significant new weapon additions: the flamethrower. More than just a new weapon, the flamethrower is a powerful room clearer, and in certain matches, it can become an integral weapon used for defense. There were matches in which just one flamethrower could hold off an entire squad of attackers. It almost feels like its own character class rather than a new weapon, it’s that powerful. 

As with every recent Battlefield entry, the Frostbite engine is still here, and all of the destructive mayhem is still intact -- only this time it's straw huts, rice paddies, and dense jungles being bombed and burned to the ground. Each map ranges from dense and thick jungles to bombed-out villages. They provide more than just mere aesthetics with a variety of hiding spots, tunnels, and trenches to set up ambushes and hold off invading enemy forces. Deathmatches in an overgrown jungle provide a tense and exciting change of pace from the snowy vistas of Bad Company 2 or the tropical islands of 1943.

It’s also the little touches that make this expansion so great. Era-appropriate music plays on the menu screen and during the loading screens. It’s a neat change of pace to have a 1970’s news caster give a detailed report of a match you just played accompanied with Shaft-esque style funky background music. Even the vehicles have their own radio which plays different '70s music. If this sounds boring just wait until you blow up a group of enemies in a tank listening to “Fortunate Son.” You can’t do that in Halo.

Bad Company 2 Vietnam is one of the best console expansions I’ve ever played for an FPS. The amount of maps and new vehicle weapons could have easily been sold as a retail release but instead are turned into a downloadable title for the price of most map packs for other FPSs. There are enough modes and new weapons and vehicles to play around with to keep you playing for a long time. Along with the rock-solid Bad Company 2 game play, there’s rebalancing to make it less harsh on newcomers and keep veterans on their toes. This is a master crafted expansion. Dice and EA have once again raised the FPS bar so high that other efforts look amateurish by comparison. Thanks for the good times Halo Reach; I’ll see you again Black Ops; but for now, I’d rather spend some time in Vietnam.

Comments

Review Score
9.0

Mature

Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.

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