Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Yeah, I Was In The Shit

DICE and EA takes us deep in the jungles of Vietnam in this downloadable expansion pack for Bad Company 2.
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: January 7, 2011
"The Shit" was a colloquialism for being out in the field during the Vietnam War, as Bill Murray reminded us in "Rushmore." Men who spent time in "The Shit" developed The Thousand Yard Stare, which, as Joker found out in "Full Metal Jacket", isn't something you could fake. Combat in the 'Nam was often sudden and surprising, making every moment in the field one of heightened tension, fraying soldier's nerves to the snapping point. Really, while this is a terrible situation for real life human beings, it makes for a terrific setting for a multiplayer shooter. "The Shit" could also be a colloquialism for the palette DICE chose for this new $15 Vietnam expansion to Battlefield: Bad Company 2, which takes place in a world heavily bathed in shades of brown and muddy green. Does this slightly pricey new content breathe some life back into the BC2 community? We hopped back in after a long hiatus to find out.


There is a decent haul of new content to take in, including five new maps, 15 Vietnam-era weapons and six vehicles. While all of this content is not integrated with the vanilla content during gameplay, the experience you accumulate counts in both modes, so if you are a veteran at all of BC2 multiplayer, all the Vietnam content will be unlocked from the get-to. If you haven't played much before, it doesn't take too much to unlock the other guns. Each class has three new guns, though some are variants on models featured in the vanilla game, and the crown jewel of the new arsenal, the flamethrower, is available to every class. There are no attachments like sights this time around, and while every class still has the same abilities, some of the equipment has been slightly changed (Engineers repair with a blowtorch instead of a wrench, etc…). The five maps are all based in the jungle (I would have really liked a Saigon or other city level, but they ignored urban combat this time around) and offer a nice variety of experiences. Hill 137 is visually stunning, with the napalm-scorched earth honeycombed with tunnels and trenches making for intense encounters. Cao Son Temple features thick jungles that eventually give way to a maze-like temple, while Phu Bai Village is flat, but littered with tiny huts and rice paddies. Vantage Point is a sprawling level that goes from beaches to forested hills, and finally Operation Hastings brings back a favorite map from DICE's earlier standalone product Battlefield: Vietnam. The six vehicles feature a pair of era-specific tanks, a pair of jeeps, a crazy little trike/minitruck and the famous UH-1 Huey helicopter. Helicopters are iconic in Vietnam lore, and the Huey is a fun toy with it's devastating firepower in the right hands, but in the end it doesn't play a prominent role in any of the maps, partly because it is much easier to take down with normal gunfire, so without a really skilled pilot you won't be in the air long. Vehicles are one of the memorable bullet points in the BC2 resume, but in this expansion they are marginalized, rarely playing a crucial role to turn the tide of battle. Sadly, there is virtually no vehicle-on-vehicle combat to found in Vietnam, as when there are vehicles present, they tend to all be on one side, and rarely is there more than a single tank on a map (at least in Rush mode).

We all had a great time mucking around in the jungles, although this is not an experience likely to be very friendly to new players. I hadn't played the game since the spring, and the first few rounds I found myself getting shredded every few seconds, and the other team seemed to be composed entirely of level 50 players who must have been playing the last 10 months nonstop. The dense jungle areas and monochromatic color scheme means it can be difficult to spot enemies at a distance, especially if you don't have a snazzy giant TV. Once we all got going though, I fell back into a groove. Guns are definitely less precise this time around, and sometimes it felt like I was putting 20 bullets into a guy before he died. Of course, he may have been sitting in a pile of medpacks wearing body armor, so you just never know. This expansion might not bring any new tricks to the field with the exception of the difficult to use flamethrower (in fact it is definitely more bare-bones than vanilla), but it does add a significant amount of content into the mix. All 5 maps are playable in all 4 game types, and they do vary a bit between the Rush and Conquest versions so it will likely take a few nights of playing before you see everything. Vietnam is definitely worth your time if you still crave BC2 or are looking for a reason to go back (like me). It won't replace the original game, and it makes me sad that there isn't an option to have a game cycle through both Vietnam and vanilla maps, but it will provide a pleasant distraction and, it should be noted, offer you a great soundtrack with over two hours of 60s rock and classical music like "Ride of the Valkyries". Report for duty, soldiers!

Trophy Tips - Not much to offer here, the game has nine Bronze trophies and a single Silver trophy, most of which are awarded for getting enough kills with each weapon and vehicle, as well as winning on all five. Extremely underwhelming. Platinum Difficulty- N/A
The Verdict
8.0

A nice diversion that breathes new life into an older title, certainly worth the $15 asking price for those still playing regularly. It is a shame they didn't at least dabble with taking the levels out of the jungle and into the city though.

7.5Graphics:

This was never the prettiest game to begin with, and the drab palette doesn't make things any better. I wish the jungle were more lush. Someone should have licensed the tree technology from Alan Wake.

9.5Sound:

The battlefield sounds amazing, with bullets ringing out, American and Vietnamese voices chattering away, the sweet "thump" of grenade launchers providing bass, all while awesome Acid Rock tunes waft through the background.

8.5Control:

Generic FPS controls for the most part, although I continued to be impressed how easy they make the helicopter controls. I have to dock points for not letting us remap the controls. An egregious oversight these days.

8.0Gameplay:

The flamethrower adds an interesting twist to the mix, but the paucity of vehicles is mystifying for a series that is best know for the fluidness and fun of their vehicular combat. Otherwise this is the same Battlefield you've been playing since 1942.