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Battlefield: Bad Company 2 was one of the best multiplayer first-person shooter games to be released in 2010. The amazing sound design, the destructible environments and the intense teamwork contributed to a finely polished product that really emulated a living, changing battlefield. The range of tactical options available to each class allowed players to plan tactics and work together as a finely tuned machine. The depth of the replay factor added to the fun of the title, so when I heard that a legacy of the Battlefield series was being reborn in the framework of Bad Company 2, I was excited and salivating for what could be. While it comes with some quirks that drag the game’s cohesion down a little, it shines as an expertly-crafted expansion that introduces new weapons, maps and a refreshing revisit to the bloody rice paddies of ‘Nam.
First of all, this is a multiplayer-only expansion, and the single-player campaign of Bad Company 2 remains the same. However, the expansion makes some serious changes to the flow of combat, as well as adding lots of new content to almost justify calling a total conversion. The only things that remain the same are the interface and a few weapons that remain period-appropriate like the M1 Thompson, M870 shotgun and the M60, naturally. There are three new weapons granted to each class, but each also gets to use the M1, M870 and a great addition, the M2 flamethrower. Have lots of incendiary fun lighting buildings, foliage and people on fire with fantastic looking flame effects. The M79 break-barrel grenade launcher replaces the M203, and a new TT-33 pistol rounds out the roster. Unfortunately, the game limits the selection to these weapons, as well as removing the motion sensor, UAVs, and scopes from play. This decreases overall battlefield visibility and contributes to a greater sense of chaos; there is also significantly less cover in the new maps, mainly taking the form of trenches, flimsy huts and foliage. Some weapons are much more powerful, more accurate as well as having a greater rate of fire, making kills much quicker and less meaningful. As a result, battlefield actions are much faster, less tactical and less coordinated; the feel of the game is a bit closer to a Call of Duty-style team deathmatch than the plotting and certainty of the Battlefield series. All in all, the game reduces the scope of the battle and makes it much more frantic and close-quarters than in previous titles.
As in the original Battlefield: Vietnam, 49 licensed soundtracks have been implemented in the form of radio broadcasts when players are operating vehicles. Each track is iconic of the Vietnam War, and other players can hear the choice of music vehicle operators have chosen as they approach, adding a neat atmospheric touch to gameplay. Authentic voiceovers for Vietnamese soldiers and US troops have been added as well, but accented English is available as well if players wish it. The deformable terrain and destructible buildings return, and the maps are reminiscent of the original’s classic maps as well. Unfortunately, there are no punji sticks to impale your enemies, and there are no NVA tunnel spawn points. I suppose that is rendered unneeded by the smaller maps and the ability to spawn on teammates, but the original Vietnam had a lot of strange equipment that made it truly a unique title, if not streamlined.
The expansion was released on December 18th, 2010 for Windows and on the 21st for the PS3 and Xbox360; it has only so far been available in the form of a digital download on the respective console stores and on Steam for the PC. It changes the core game to make it much more chaotic, but with the atmosphere and all the new weapons and maps, it fits well. For the bargain-basement price of $14.99, it is definitely a must have. I guarantee that if you liked Bad Company 2, BF:BC2:Vietnam just makes the concoction that much more spicy.