Battlefield Vietnam Review
Battlefield Vietnam packs more dramatic moments in its gameplay than most any multiplayer-focused action game in the past few years.
Battlefield Vietnam is one of the most anticipated games of the year. But the question is, can it emerge from beneath the shadow of its illustrious predecessor, Battlefield 1942, as well as megapopular user-made mods such as Desert Combat? While a jaded gamer might label Battlefield Vietnam nothing more than an elaborate update, that's taking a very cynical and shortsighted view. The truth is that Battlefield Vietnam is more than just a new collection of maps and weapons; it's a superbly designed multiplayer action game that incorporates the lessons learned from 1942 and mates them with better technology. And yet, it must be said that Battlefield Vietnam just doesn't feel as groundbreaking as Battlefield 1942 did for its time, when it successfully combined first-person shooting action with vehicular combat on a relatively large scale. Be that as it may, hardcore Battlefield fans and new players alike will probably agree that Battlefield Vietnam is a great, often thrilling action game.
For those unfamiliar with the basics of the game, Battlefield Vietnam is a multiplayer-focused shooter that allows you to fight the battles of the Vietnam War against computer-controlled bots or up to 63 other players. In the conquest mode, which is the primary mode of play here just as in Battlefield 1942, players divide up into two teams, one for the US and its Vietnamese allies and the other for the North Vietnamese and its Vietcong allies. You're then dropped into a gigantic map and must battle for strategic control points. In addition to running around on foot with a variety of weapons, you can jump into an assortment of vehicles, including jeeps, tanks, helicopters, jets, and more. Often, multiple players can jump into the same vehicle; for example, one player can pilot the helicopter while two players handle the side-mounted machine guns and two others sit back and shoot out the side with their own weapons. It can make for a wildly exciting experience as the two teams slug it out in a tug-of-war struggle, and a team's fortunes can change in a heartbeat depending on the skill and coordination level between players.
The first thing that strikes you about Battlefield Vietnam isn't the graphics; it's the music. From the opening movie to the loading screens, you're immediately exposed to a soundtrack that's packed with the classic Vietnam War protest songs, including Edwin Starr's "War," Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son," The Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird," and others. You may not recognize the names, but you'll definitely recognize the music from countless movies, commercials, and the radio. The soundtrack itself would be worthy of a big-budget Hollywood movie, and it permeates throughout the game.
The 14 different scenarios in Battlefield Vietnam are inspired by some of the most famous battles of the war, including the Ia Drang Valley (depicted in the movie We Were Soldiers), Hue during the Tet Offensive, and the Siege of Khe Sanh. There are also lesser-known battles, such as Operation Hastings (an early Marine Corps battle) and Operation Flaming Dart (Air Force bombing raids). The game itself comes with about 12 different maps, because two urban maps--Hue and Quang Tri--are used twice. There are some variations in the recycled versions of those two maps, but it's disappointing whenever developers reuse levels in the same game. Not only does it feel like we're getting less, but it can make for needless confusion in multiplay.
In general, though, the levels themselves feature a fine variety of terrain and gameplay styles. For example, Operation Flaming Dart is all about aerial combat, as the two forces start separated by a large body of water. Flaming Dart also requires the US force to destroy three NVA radio towers in order to succeed, which is a nice departure from the standard conquest gameplay mode, where the goal is simply to conquer all the control points. Meanwhile, the Ia Drang level is all about helicopter operations, given that it's inspired by the air cavalry's battle in Vietnam's central highlands. On that map, the US forces start with a single control point surrounded by communist control points and come under withering fire almost immediately. But the US forces have a distant base where they can jump in helicopters and jets to provide tremendous amounts of air support and mobility. Vietnam was not just a jungle war; urban combat is represented by the Hue and Quang Tri maps, and they feel very similar in style to the urban levels in Battlefield 1942.
The maps themselves benefit from a greater level of detail not possible in Battlefield 1942. No longer is the terrain wide open and sparely decorated. There's a lot more character to the land, not just in terms of geography, but in vegetation as well. Now there are steep ravines and valleys, dry riverbeds, and hills and small mountains. All of these help to break up the sight lines, giving a much more natural feel to the game. This also prevents snipers from camping on top of the highest peak and dominating from that vantage point, like they tend to do in Battlefield 1942. The terrain is much more of an obstacle in Battlefield Vietnam, but you can use it to your advantage. You can use the lush vegetation to hide from enemy air units or maneuver in the steep terrain where armor and other vehicles can't follow. On the other hand, the environments are immune to the effects of the battle; tank shells and napalm drops do nothing to affect the lush surroundings, which perhaps is predictable but is still somewhat disappointing given the surface level of realism. Nevertheless, it's clear that the levels and graphics in Battlefield Vietnam are much more advanced than they were in Battlefield 1942.
- Player Reviews: 160
- Game Universe:
- Battlefield 1942 (XBOX, PC),
- Battlefield 2: Modern Combat (X360, PS2, XBOX, PSP),
- Battlefield: Bad Company (X360, PS3),
- Battlefield 2142 (PC, MAC),
- Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (X360, PS3, PC, IP),
- Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Ultimate Edition (PS3, X360),
- Battlefield 1942 Deluxe Edition (PC, MAC),
- Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam (X360, PS3, PC),
- Battlefield 3 (PC, X360, PS3, WIIU),
- Battlefield 3: Back to Karkand (PS3, X360, PC)
- Online Modes:
Competitive, Team Oriented
- Number of Players: