As Quagmire has been quick to point out in an episode of Family Guy, there is absolutely no excuse for any game, film or anything in between that features Vietnam to not include “Fortunate Son” on the soundtrack. Creedance Clearwater Revival’s magnum opus is still in my head to this day whenever I think about the time I spent (virtually) in the ‘Nam, and despite the radios in Battlefield: Bad Company 2’s expansion playing a grand total of 49 songs of the era, I’m hard pressed to name another. Still, at least the shooting action would still be the same, right? Well, yes and no. But please, come with me to a decade past as we visit the jungles of South East Asia to find out.
The main thing that Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam did!
The main thing that Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam did is rob me of one of my most cherished 100% completions. I’m beginning to think it’s a conspiracy, as Bethesda did exactly the same thing with Skyrim: two months after I finished it 100%, they released DLC that ruined it. Bloody developers giving the public what they want and expanding popular games. Anyway, with the shift back in time for the Vietnam expansion in Bad Company 2, all new weapons and vehicles were introduced, and so the learning curve was to begin again. Having got used to fancy devices like motion detectors and tanks with thermal scopes, it was back to a simpler time when your best friend could well be an assault rifle seemingly held together with string, or a Huey helicopter that handled like a double decker bus in the sky. As for the tanks, well, don’t get me started.
In fact, do get me started. I loved the tanks in regular Battlefield: Bad Company 2, spending a truly ridiculous amount of time in them and getting an unhealthy amount of kills in them too. In fact, I was inspired to look up my stats, and it tells me that I have spent 238 hours in tanks, and got 10,400 kills with them. And these stats haven’t been updated in a number of years, despite me still playing. Anyway, what happened when we went back to Vietnam was that the tanks seemed to have had a major nerf, with even a direct hit from the cannon barely seeming to slow down the foot soldiers filling my poor chariot with RPG missiles. They couldn’t drive up hills or through fences half the time, and honestly they just felt a bit wet. Still, it was as good fun as ever running people over in them, so it’s not all bad.
Differences through past and now
The big difference this time around was the helicopter. Yes, helicopter singular, as there was only one type and it was reserved for the Americans, unless some enterprising Viet Cong sneaky peaky skullduggery took place, in which case all bets were off. The problem was the way the helicopter handled once you got it airborne. In the words of one the pilots in one of the Matrix movies, as she tried to fly the ship through the tunnels, “She’s got a fat ass!”, and the same applies here. Forget the sneaky circle strafing of the Apache in the modern multiplayer; here you struggled to fly in a straight line and line up a shot from the rockets that hit anything other than “that one field, just over there!”. This also was the Huey’s biggest weakness; while your rockets could kill people and blow tanks up if there was a Z in the month, it only took one well-aimed tank shell to put you out of your misery, and I for one used to love shooting the helicopter out of the air. I even got to be fairly good at it with the RPG – a skill I never really mastered in the main game.
So, the expansion brought with it, at the beginning, four maps, six new vehicles, and 15 new weapons – including three for each subclass (Assault, Engineer, Sniper (or Recon) and Medic) and three that could be used by any class, such as the new pistol. The flamethrower is also worthy of special mention, as if there was ever a weapon more designed to put the willies up the opposing team it’s a gun that fires 30 foot sheets of flame. Hiding in the undergrowth won’t help you now, Mr Sniper!
The other standout vehicle for me was the PBR boat, which was armed to the teeth. Sitting in the middle of the river, dealing death with huge mounted machine guns was also pretty cool. The only issue is that if you were alone in the vehicle, you couldn’t drive and shoot at the same time, so you were a bit of a sitting duck. Getting a boat with a few buddies, all microphoned up, was a recipe for fun, especially when one of the spawns required you to cross the river to try and escape being spawn killed. The fifth map, Operation Hastings, was set to be released when the global squad actions in the expansion reached some ridiculous number of revives or resupplies, but instead DICE decided to give it early as a new year’s gift to the player base. Obviously, getting an extra 25% of maps for nowt was very appreciated by the fans, and the game received another shot in the arm from it.
So, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam can be called a success. I enjoyed playing it, and appreciated the change to a simpler time when guns were inaccurate and you seemed to have more of a chance if you were surprised. Seriously, unless you were treading on the enemy’s bunions, trying to keep your gun on the target was a thankless task – especially the small engineer machine guns. The tanks were hard to drive and even harder to keep going, the helicopter sucked, and all in all it was a much harder game to play than vanilla BFBC2. Maybe it was that that drove me to keep playing?
Still, these are my memories of going back to the ‘Nam, what about you guys? Did you play this way back in 2010? Let us know in the comments