Battlefield Bad Company 2: Vietnam – review

Xbox 360/PS3/PC; £9.99; cert 18+; DICE/EA

This downloadable add-on for Battlefield Bad Company 2 (which requires a copy of the original game) moves DICE’s perhaps unfashionable but nevertheless critically acclaimed military first-person shooter into the Vietnam war which, following Call of Duty: Black Ops, seems to be in vogue this year. The results are impressive: Battlefield Bad Company 2: Vietnam eschews the more peripheral elements of the franchise (such as a somewhat half-hearted story mode) in favour of large-scale, generally squad-based, online-only action.

For Battlefield enthusiasts (a not inconsiderable bunch), the salient points are thus: Vietnam contains five multiplayer maps, 15 Vietnam-era weapons and six new vehicles. There are also ten new achievements/trophies to win. Put so starkly, that doesn’t sound like a massive deal, but luckily, all the elements have been executed with DICE’s usual obsessive attention to detail, and everything positively drips with atmospheric detail. All the multiplayer game modes from the full game – Conquest, Rush, Squad Rush and Squad Deathmatch – are included. As are all the character classes – engineer, assault, recon and medic.

The maps are fantastic: large, authentic-looking and highly deformable so that, for example, if you choose to wield the new flamethrower, you can set vast swathes of vegetation on fire. The flamethrower, in particular, should prove a great draw – it’s devastating at close range (although it pays to sneak up on enemies from behind when you use it). The vehicles include tanks, jeeps and the classic Huey helicopter, plentifully supplied with fixed guns: chopper-dogfights, in typical Battlefield fashion, are more or less guaranteed to take place. There’s also a hilarious tuk-tuk-type vehicle, useful for getting to far-flung parts of the map, and a patrol boat, which is vulnerable but swift.

The most interesting game modes are Rush and Squad Rush, as they cause the map to grow in size as each session progresses: you start off with the objective of defending or destroying a communications station (depending whether you’re American or Vietcong), and then further objectives are introduced depending on what happens. Vietnam works hard to keep proceedings intense, which is impressive given the size of the maps. So the ability to respawn on one of your squad-mates is more important than ever.

Battlefield Bad Company 2: Vietnam plays beautifully to the strengths of the franchise: it lets you play how you want (whether that involves flying choppers, sniping, causing mayhem with a flamethrower or fixing tanks for others to drive), nurtures firefights which, if anything, are even more intense than those of the original game and is positively drenched in authentic Vietnam-era ambience (jump in a Huey, for example, and Ride of the Valkyries will blare out). The Battlefield games are very much designed for the cognoscenti, and those in the know will rush to download Vietnam.

• Game reviewed on Xbox 360.

Rating: 4/5 © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds