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 — 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. Gameplay mechanics remain largely the same as those in Bad Company, 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 neck.
While core gameplay in Vietnam remains the same, it’s the drastic change of period that gives the game 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 has made sure each and every weapon available in the game is a testament to the wear and tear of that war. Your AK47s will have bandages holding the clips together, rocket launchers will have camouflaging and pretty much every weapon is caked in dust and rust. It’s great that DICE stopped the authenticity train before weapon jamming, a gameplay mechanic that tends to make the Far Cry 2 experience rather annoying.
Vietnam has no single player campaign, so if you’re not a multiplayer addict, 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 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 paddy fields 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, so you may find yourself stuck in the environment every now and then. Also, in some of the maps, the limitations aren’t laid out clearly so while you think you’re being clever flanking the enemy, the game thinks you’re running away from a fight. And unless you return in a matter of 10 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 the expansion. In fact, during my 10-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 rookies.
What we like
Easy for newcomers
What we don’t
Environmental clipping issues
Is multiplayer only
For an expansion pack priced at Rs 676, Battlefield Vietnam brings a healthy chunk of content to the table. Besides the four new maps, you have new vehicles and weapons to play with including a devastating Flamethrower. DICE have definitely dumbed some of the game’s mechanics down making it approachable to newcomers. Those who’re new to the franchise, Vietnam could ease you in.