December 18, 2010

Bad Company 2: Vietnam Review


Bad Com­pa­ny 2: Viet­nam is here, well at least for PC play­ers who pre­ordered it at the EA store or on Steam.  If you are like me you had this pre­or­dred weeks ago and now it is final­ly here.  Many games this year have been mas­sive dis­ap­point­ments.  Games that we had high expec­ta­tions of, most of which had high price tags, were com­plete let downs.  Need­less to say when I pre­ordered BC2:Vietnam I was con­cerned. 
I am hap­py to say that BC2: Viet­nam is superb, Activi­sion take note, this is what DLC should be.  BC2 Viet­nam boasts 5 brand new maps, 6 new vehi­cles, 15 addi­tion­al new weapons that are char­ac­ter­is­tic of the time peri­od, 60’s sound track and new voic­es to boot.  In addi­tion to this there are some oth­er weapons that are in BC2 but they are Viet­nam era mod­els.  With a price tag of 14.99 this is quite a bit of con­tent, espe­cial­ly when com­pared to the mea­gre offer­ings of Activi­sons DLC which only con­tain 5 maps and half of which are just rehash­es of pre­vi­ous releas­es on old­er titles.   I may shoot myself lat­er for say­ing this but this cur­rent offer­ing by DICE and EA could of eas­i­ly jus­ti­fied a $30.00 price tag and if they had a sin­gle-play­er cam­paign to boot it prob­a­bly could of stood as it’s own title. 
Viet­nam does not come with it’s own cam­paign… while this is dis­ap­point­ing to me in one aspect, at 14.99 I did­n’t expect one and with the amount of con­tent it had I am quite hap­py with­out it.  I should men­tion that this in an Era rarely cov­ered in games and well at that.  It would be nice to see a sin­gle-play­er cam­paign designed around Viet­nam.  It’s a sto­ry still fair­ly untouched by the game indus­try. 
The maps are a real stand­out for me in this expan­sion.  Fol­low­ing the stan­dard Bat­tle­field map lay­out the maps are designed for 3 types of game­play.  Rush, con­quest and squad death­match.  One map that real­ly stood out to me and actu­al­ly evoked some emo­tion from the dev­as­ta­tion that I saw around me was Hill 137.  If  any of you have seen Ham­burg­er Hill, the movie, this map is based off that.  If you want to read more about the bat­tle at Ham­burg­er Hill you can read about it here.  It’s actu­al­ly quite an inter­est­ing read.  The map takes you at the start, play­ing rush, depend­ing on the side you start on, in the jun­gle mov­ing up to take com­mand points.  After your team cap­tures the first set of com­mand points you move into the sec­ond stage of the map which is a mas­sive hill that has been bombed into obliv­ion.  All you see are burn­ing trees and scorched  ground.  The fires look real and  believ­able and with the gun­fire and the scream­ing of your squad-mates around you ele­vates that real­i­ty.  This is prob­a­bly my favorite map out of the ones I have played so far.  From what I can tell all of the maps will play on all three game modes.  This is dif­fer­ent from the orig­i­nal BC2 release where only some of the maps were playable in some game modes. 
Rush mode made a big stand­out to me on Viet­nam as well.  Unlike the rush mode in BC2, and this could be con­tributed to the way the maps are designed, felt much more focused.  There were cer­tain maps where you could lit­er­al­ly cre­ate a choke point in the map and the only way to break that defen­sive line is to use a mix­ture of vehi­cles, medics, assault and snipers.   This results in epic amounts of car­nage, destruc­tion and death.  With­out the prop­er com­bi­na­tion or “team­work” your team would get slaugh­tered.  That being said, it was very annoy­ing when you got placed on a bad team or one that did­n’t work well togeth­er.  It could make for some very long and frus­trat­ing rounds. 
I’ve found that much like with BC2, Viet­nam is best played with a group of friends.  I have a group of about 8 guys I play with and when we coor­di­nate togeth­er it’s about the most fun I have gam­ing peri­od.  Noth­ing beats a cohe­sive team in BC2 or Viet­nam.  You will walk all over the oth­er team if you have a well coor­di­nat­ed group of guys.  If there is one com­plaint I have about the Bad Com­pa­ny series it is that it does­n’t real­ly encour­age the team to play as a team.  Instead you just find guys walk­ing around shoot­ing what­ev­er they can see. 
The weapons are great as well in Viet­nam.  All of them feel authen­tic and real and fit with the time peri­od.  The only gun that I felt was a lit­tle over­pow­ered com­pared to the rest was the PPSH.  The gun has almost dou­ble the fire rate of any oth­er SMG and beats most the MG’s in the field as well and it’s far to accu­rate com­pared to what the tra­di­tion­al SMG should be.  I think the AK47 and the MG60 are my favorites in this expan­sion, it’s extreme­ly grat­i­fy­ing to drop some­one with both of those weapons. 
Sound fol­lows in the foot­steps of it’s pre­de­ces­sor and does not dis­ap­point.  When not play­ing with a group of peo­ple I have it blast­ing on my 1000 watt sound sys­tem and close range explo­sions and MG fire cre­ate bass that will knock pic­tures off your wall.  Gun­fire sounds superb and when you are in large fire fights with small arms fire, explo­sions, motors and scream­ing going on all around you I found that the game feel incred­i­bly immer­sive and intense.
I touched on this a lit­tle bit before but the visu­als in the game are top notch.  Hill 137 again was where they real­ly stood out.  I think this is the best look­ing map in the Bad Com­pa­ny series hands down.  I also think the game plays smoother then BC2 did.  I don’t think any new graph­ics were added per say but I think the game was opti­mized before it was released.  I can feel the dif­fer­ence between BC2 and Viet­nam.  Over­all Viet­nam looks bet­ter then it’s predaces­sor in most regards with the excep­tion of explod­ing tree’s.  When a tree gets knocked down it cre­ates a paper explo­sion.   The leaves look like thin, flat, green, pieces of paper.  This seems like some­thing they could of spent an extra day on but it’s def­i­nite­ly not a big deal. 
PC gamers will be hap­py to know that the game has got­ten released first on PC and that the game has been opti­mized for the plat­form as well.  The game plays well and does not feel like it was port­ed from a con­sole ver­sion to the PC.   If you have a decent machine, you are in for a real treat.  I run the game on medi­um set­tings using eye­fin­i­ty on 3 x 25″  mon­i­tors, AMD 965 Phe­nom X2, 8gb of ram, Radeon 5850.  The game looks fan­tas­tic even on medi­um set­tings.  I haven’t tried on High set­tings yet because eye­fin­i­ty triples the drain on my video card.  How­ev­er, being that the game feels like it runs smooth I will prob­a­bly try it out and see how it feels. 
Over­all BC2: Viet­nam is the best val­ue for your mon­ey I have seen in a long time.  You get basi­cal­ly an entire­ly new name with the excep­tion of a sin­gle-play­er cam­paign for the price of 14.99.  This is an expan­sion more than a DLC but I can’t help but won­der why DICE and EA can put out essen­tial­ly a new game for 14.99 when Activi­sion can’t even put out 5 orig­i­nal maps for the same price.  I’m not a fan of EA but EA and DICE got it right with this expan­sion.  This is one of the best DLC/Expansions of the year hands down.  If any of you are con­sid­er­ing pur­chas­ing this, buy it now, you won’t be dis­ap­point­ed. 
Final Score: 9.5/10
 

7 comments

  1. Bartholomew P. Skibbenhiems III - December 18, 2010 9:57 pm

    Sad­ly I have nev­er liked any of the Bat­tle­field games. I like more clas­sic styled fps and vehi­cles ruin it as far as being the kind of fps I like.

    Reply
  2. T8 - December 18, 2010 10:36 pm

    bart i agree with you about the vehi­cles. But the orig­i­nal bat­tle­field games were part of grow­ing up for me. The squad based games made for a blast. I think that i will be buy­ing this DLC when­ev­er funds allow for it.

    Reply
  3. rmp00n - December 19, 2010 12:00 am

    total oppo­site. The vehi­cles make it great.

    Reply
  4. rmp00n - December 20, 2010 8:55 am

    http://forums.quakecon.org/showthread.php?p=243451#post243451
    Looks like you got one.

    Reply
  5. zero_19 - December 22, 2010 9:08 am

    Down­load­ing and installing now, nice review.

    Reply
  6. ScrotusKilmystr - December 23, 2010 5:28 pm

    I dont have it on the pc but I will say revery­thing rings true for the 360 i know a con­sole! but this expan­sion is awsome!!!
    I per­son­al­ly like the uzi bet­ter than the ppsh i was able to actu­al­ly snipe some­one on the hill 137 map from 1 ridge to the next with that gun
    I will be play­ing bc on the pc now that the some one was cool and sent me it for xmas so i may be buy­ing the expan­sion in the future as well
    as for the vehi­cles they seemd to be fair­ly well bal­anced even more so in the expan­sion in one game i was able to take down 3 chop­pers with the medic class ans an m60 the tanks and boats are alit­tle hard­er but it’s an awsome exper­ince!!

    Reply
  7. PimpmasterF - December 26, 2010 8:04 pm

    BC2: Viet­nam is just freakin awe­some, unlinke BC2 where i real­ly only have one favorite map that i play on con­tin­u­ous­ly, I love all the maps in Viet­nam, its real­ly pulls you into the mul­ti play­er expe­ri­ence and Dice is a superb job with the detail. I would have hap­pi­ly paid $20–30 for it.

    Reply

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