Hey guys and girls and welcome back! This is probably going to be my last blog before Christmas, so I’m going to finish what I started with Bad Company 2: Vietnam! It is definitely worthy of my time to review, anyway.
As you guessed from my first impressions of the game, it was a pretty exciting release! With EA being a rival company to Activision’s Call of Duty, you’re always going to be hoping for a pretty good game from both sides, just for the competition. So EAs answer to the constant production of Call of Duty games was Bad Company (part of the Battlefield franchise), back in June 2008. It was a very different style of first person shooter; it felt realistic, fire fights were intense, you had a lot of freedom, the maps were well designed and large, yet not too large, the graphics were impressive, the team play was outstanding (as you would expect from EAs Battlefield games) and the sound effects were incredible, creating that all important and unique atmosphere that Bad Company is now known for.
Take all of these points, improve them by two times the awesomeness that they already were, and you have Bad Company 2. Released in March 2010, the second instalment in the Bad Company series was a massive expansion on the game’s predecessor. It was more of the same but with massive improvements in regards to the graphics, feel of realism, freedom, intense fire fights and the awesome atmosphere – it did nothing less than impress, and still does. With the Bad Company franchise seeming to be getting better and making further progress, it is a massive threat to the Call of Duty franchise we know at the moment; the release of Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops didn’t impress as much as the releases of Call of Duty 4 and World at War, so Infinity Ward and Treyarch compared to EA DICE (Digital Illusions CE, developers of BC) are taking a step in the wrong direction.
So, then came the release of BC: Vietnam. Again, they did nothing but tweak the game for the good. With BC’s knack of creating a thrilling war environment and atmosphere, a Vietnam based game was a pretty good choice, because they must have known they would be able to score big with it when the original Battlefield: Vietnam, released back in March 2004, was a such a big success. In my opinion, they got it spot on with their Vietnam add-on. What I like about this add-on the most is that it doesn’t feel like an add-on at all, it feels like a stand-alone game. EA DICE re-recorded most of the sounds especially for the Vietnam era, and with the sound playing such an important role in the BC series, it made the game feel completely different from Bad Company 2 and it created a very authentic atmosphere. BC: Vietnam presented a good amount of new weaponry, bringing in the original M16 model and the AK47 back, along with a few other weapons in their standard issue. DICE have also made the flame thrower available in Vietnam, although it’s not as much of a noob weapon as you would first think. The flame thrower takes a certain amount of skill to use, and it’s mainly used for a tactical trench clear-out, to make way for your team to get to their objective safely; you can’t just run around spraying it everywhere, as you would just get popped in the head... it’s pretty awesome! (The use of the flame thrower, not getting popped in the head) As you would expect from a game being set in the 60s, ACOG scopes and red dot sights are not featured in the game, which is a great thing; you no longer have medics sniping you from the other side of the map, let us leave that to the snipers! DICE also changed the general colours that masked the terrain around you, swapping the yellows and paradise greens of the deserts, for the reds, browns and deep greens of the punishing jungle to effectively set the scene.
One of the last notable things to mention in the major change list is that of the re-introduction of the Huey transport helicopter! Oh and how much fun this chopper is. It’s only featured in one of the four maps for the time being; but with the Vietnam add-on already being a massive success, it’s easy to see that there’s a big chance of there being more maps developed, on top of the one map DICE are already due to release when the world reaches 69 million squad actions; hopefully the Huey may feature more in the future. I was worried that the Huey would be too overpowered, but it’s not; sure it’s overpowered to some extent, but it’s a Huey for Christ’s sake! It helps out the attacking team a lot and it plays a vital role in the assault on your objectives, whilst keeping the balance of the battle. Of course the other additions are the old style US Army Jeep, Patrol Boats and the era-relevant tanks... equipped with flame throwers! F*ck yeah! Ideal for clearing out dense jungle, exposing potential hiding places.
It’s clear to see that EA DICE have worked hard on this expansion, and have not just released any old thing just to make them money. DICE wanted to please fans, both new and old, giving them an add-on that not only stretches the play-time of Bad Company 2, but also gives you an amazing and fun experience as you go! So hats off to DICE on doing an awesome job!
|Image courtesy of IGN.com|
So the game play is pretty much what you would expect from EA DICE. In case you’re not familiar with the Battlefield game play, it’s immense, involved and intense! The game modes force you, in a kind and gentle way, to work with your team; making around 6-8 squad slots available, fitting 4 soldiers in each one. This enables you to stick with your squad, and spawn on them when you’re felled by an enemy. Your squad members are shown as green markers on your mini map, and their names above their heads are also green to separate them from the other squads that are on your side, who are shown in blue. So it’s made as clear as possible as to what you’re supposed to be doing and who you’re supposed to be hanging with, and it kind of gives you that push to work together and drive for your objective; if you decide to be a lone wolf in this game, then the sniper class is the one for you. However, a lot of servers only allow there to be two snipers per team, which I think is a great rule, as too many snipers can get too frustrating and make the game imbalanced.
With the team play and the objective based game types, the Vietnam add-on is hectic, in a really good way. The four maps that have been released with the game are very well designed, and even though these maps are large, they also have choke points dotted around here and there; you more often than not experience a kind of a movie scene scenario. For instance, I have found myself sat defending an objective with my M60 LMG propped over the sand bag; it’s the calm before the storm. All I can hear are the sounds of the leaves rustling in the trees, the river running close by and the gentle and muffled thudding of boots hitting the ground, as your squad are getting into position around you. I’m looking over towards a ridge, dressed with a scattered tree line; seconds later, before I have a chance to properly admire the scenery, around 15 opposing soldiers appear on the horizon and come pelting down the hill at full sprint, firing as they go. Tracer bullets and debris from explosions fly past your face as you’re pouring it off on your enemy; cutting down trees around them as they go... it’s pretty insane!
|Image courtesy of IGN.com|
There are only minor faults with the game, but it’s pretty much been a trend throughout the battlefield franchise. You will, once in a while, come across segments of terrain that will get you kind of stuck in the mud so to speak, and send your solider surfing out of control for a few seconds until you regain your feet; it’s pretty annoying, but as I said, it rarely happens. I’ve played BC: Vietnam a lot since the game’s release, and the bug has only happened to me twice. There are also very minor texture errors on some maps, some object skins are stretched and some are quite blurred, but I only notice these because I’m such a graphics snob; you probably won’t even notice it, besides, it’s not even that evident enough for it to cast any bad shadows over the game. The stability of the game is pretty solid, there are no major glitches, and the dedicated servers work well and they seem to be quite reliable. However, in the server search list within the game, it tends to display inaccurate pings to the gamer due to the base server you’re connected to in the first instance, so at times it is a bit of a pain to find a server in your general region with a good ping below 60. I myself tend to look at the server names to see if it’s being hosted in the country I live in, or a country that is close to me. Those are pretty much all of the errors that come to mind.
|Image courtesy of IGN.com|
To conclude, just because of the sorts of scenarios and general game play features I have mentioned in this post, with the all important team work added on, I would personally buy an EA DICE game over an Infinity Ward or a Treyarch game any day. For me, the Battlefield franchise, especially the Bad Company releases, have a lot more to offer in terms of the experience you have online. Call of Duty is becoming too casual, and when sized up against the massive efforts that are put into the Battlefield multiplayer experience, Call of Duty really does feel like a simple, lazy, disappointment of a game. Of course, Call of Duty will suit the gamers who don’t have a lot of time to play games in general, but if you have just that little more time to spare in your gaming life, Battlefield seems to be the way forward. However, whilst Battlefield and Call of Duty are completely different styles of FPS games, it will be interesting to see what both franchises have to say with their next releases in the near future – in my opinion, I do think EA DICE have the upper hand at the moment, whereas, as I’ve already mentioned, IW and Treyarch are taking a general step in the wrong direction.
I would definitely advise you to give this game a try, it is great fun and it will have you gaming for hours whilst blowing your mind! Battlefield Bad Company 2: Vietnam is available now as Downloadable Content on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 for around £9.99.
Thanks for reading, folks, and I will be returning to you with more blog posts after the festive period. So I hope you have a Merry Christmas, and I should be back before New Year, but if not, have a very Happy New Year!
TTFN and take care,