Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam First Look

We soar high and sneak through the jungle with our first look at Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam.

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EA hasn't been shy about releasing regular postlaunch content updates for its Battlefield: Bad Company 2 game since the title went on sale earlier this year. Six free map packs have been released in total, tacking on additional maps at no cost and giving the already brimming online community of shooters something new to play with. Teased briefly at this year's E3, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam marks a turning point in the DLC strategy, reskinning and aging the existing multiplayer game to provide players with the same shooter experience they've come to know and love, and moving it into a different time period. EA was showing off the expansion at its TGS 2010 press conference, and we got our hands on it.

We played Conquest, a mode Battlefield fans will already be familiar with, which was set up across four consoles as part of a larger online game. For those uninitiated in the ways of war, Conquest requires teams to capture and defend flag points scattered across the playfield. Locations are held only as long as they can be defended, and it’s not uncommon to scrap for possession as teams fight it out at different spots and force players to make snap decisions on whether to stay and secure or move to cut off the enemy and claim more ground. EA reps on hand at the event confirmed that B:BC2 Vietnam will not include any single-player component and will be entirely focused on expanding online competitive and cooperative play.

Likewise, player rank and persistency will play a larger role, revealing that there will not be an unlocking process to get your hands on the biggest and baddest weapons. Rather than being staggered, all upgrades will be available from the word go to avoid offering only a small handful of guns to choose from. The development team believes it will be "the best way to play Vietnam," and as a result, future DLC will most likely follow the same design mantra to avoid the grind. Just because it's all ready and waiting to be shot doesn't mean that long-term play has fallen by the wayside. You'll continue to earn experience points for every bit of turf captured and for every kill made, with courage determining your badge and ribbon rewards in the line of duty.

Chatting numbers with the development team, we were told that the game will ship with around 15 new weapons, including Vietcong mainstay the AK-47 assault rifle; six new vehicles, of which we saw a jeep, a tank, and the Bell UH-1 Iroquois "Huey" helicopter; and four new maps, including the Phu Bai Valley, a mountainous piece of terrain with a smattering of marshy areas, thick jungle undergrowth, and well-worn dirt paths primed for roaring vehicles to negotiate. Hopping into the hotseat of a missile-laden chopper is further amped up by the inclusion of era-appropriate music, giving your explosive mayhem its own soundtrack as you perform village strafing runs and dodge gunfire from ground troops.

The lineage of this game is evident in its look and feel, but this new expansion brings with it a distinctive and recognizable setting. No pricing information has been made public yet, but keep your eyes peeled for Charlie hiding in the grass when it ships on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC late in 2010.

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