The new Vietnam expansion for Battlefield Bad Company 2 will be bringing the same gritty warfare to the Bad Company 2 universe that the first one did for the original Bad Company when it is made available for download on December 18th. To get gamers pumped up for some 1960's anti-communist action, publisher EA had us in to play some multiplayer matches on the new maps that will be a part of the downloadable content created by developer EA DICE.
For the uninitiated, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam takes the unique military shooter gameplay of Bad Company 2 and sets it in the Vietnam war, the conflict between the U.S. and North Vietnam that defined the decade of the 1960's for millions of people around the world. Weapons, vehicles and other equipment is all modeled after the real-life counterparts employed during the era, while the gameplay sticks closely to what Bad Company fans have come to expect from the game's multiplayer mode. The same sort of individual progression is built in, with players able to unlock weapons and special player upgrades, and gains and stats will carry over from one game to the other.
The weapons and vehicles are almost all American and Russian made hardware of the period, though there are some vintage WWII firearms to be had. Like in other Bad Company games, there are slow but powerful main battle tanks and smaller, faster vehicles like jeeps and tuktuks. Air combat is mostly an air-to-ground affair, with American Hueys capable of holding passengers and door gunners to complement their fixed rocket launchers. One nice touch is the ability to listen to period music in the vehicles like Creedence Clearwater Revival or Jimi Hendrix. But for authenticity (at least in a cinematic sense) you can also listen to Ride of the Valkyries like they did in Apocalypse Now.
Here's a breakdown of the maps we got to play:
When EA DICE released Battlefield 1943, they included a special community-based bonus that could be unlocked not by individuals, but by the entire respective communities of PS3 and Xbox 360 gamers playing online. Once the players reached a collective 43 million kills on each platform (it ended up only taking a couple of days) the Coral Sea map was unlocked. A similar promotion is planned for Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam. Once players reach 69 million team actions – performing support actions such as revives, heals, repairs, resupplies and so on – the Operation Hastings map will be unlocked for all players on the platform that achieves it.
The map itself, which is based on a similar map from the original Bad Company Vietnam, is quite large and features plenty of vehicle action, including helicopters. A series of islands are connected by bridges that can be blown up, potentially re-routing the flow of the action. In Rush or Conquest mode it fosters really large scale engagements fought over small objective areas that are littered with cover. The developers at EA DICE think it's one of the most balanced multiplayer maps they've ever created, according to product manager Kevin O'Leary.
There are two basic halves to the Hill 137 map, that you'll experience in both Rush and Conquest games. The first part is a hilly section with dug-in bunkers hidden in a lush jungle set along a waterfront. But once the attackers move on past the second objective in Rush mode, they'll find themselves working their way up a long slope of what was once jungle spotted with bunkers but is now a napalm-leveled wasteland covered in burning embers and still burning hotspots. It's a bit of a shock when you first see it, and a sober reminder of what an intense and brutal war the Vietnam conflict was.
The map entitled Vantage Point is most recognizable for the prominent hill in the middle of it, which is buttressed by the high walls of a terraced rice paddy on one side. While the paddies are impossible to climb up, those coming down or finding perches along one of the multiple terraces will find clear shots at the other teams main spawn points. Tanks are a big part of this map, but the single road up and over the hill makes for a dangerous choke point for those larger vehicles to traverse. Holding that hilltop is crucial to maintaining an advantage in conquest mode, since whatever team holds it has the superior “vantage point” to observe the other sides movements and to rain down hell upon them.
Phu Bai Valley
This is a very large, and flat map, featuring wide marshy areas with little cover, pock-marked by small villages and hooches that can be easily torn apart by larger gunfire. Destroying that cover is crucial, since snipers are a major problem in the wide-open spaces.
Cao Son Temple
This is a smaller, more contained map set alongside a body of water and features an ancient ruined temple in the middle for Conquest matches. With the dense jungle foliage everywhere, there are plenty of places to hide and blend in, but the extended waterfront makes for large killing zone by any team that controls it with the well-armed river boats. Their dual 50 cals can shred the jungle with ease, making the stone temple a crucial cover point. Controlling it is once again crucial to controlling the battle on this map.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam will be available for download on December 18th for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.