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Battlefield: Vietnam Review

It's 'nam man, we head to the battlefield.


Review by Tracy Bosworth
Published 2nd April 2004

Battlefield: Vietnam

  • Developer: Digital Illusions
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Release Date: 19th March 2004

What is with the human race that makes us so obsessed with war? There must be hundreds of war based movies out there dating back from the black and white classics to the latest blockbusters such as Pearl Harbour and who could forget Casualties of War which starred Sean Penn as the rogue sergeant leading US soldiers astray through the Vietnam War? Naturally the video games followed the movies and we now have many games based on various wars from WWI, WWII and of course, Vietnam. Now, following its predecessor Battlefield 1942, Battlefield Vietnam takes us straight into the thick of the action of the Vietnam War.

Battlefield Vietnam can be played either in single player mode or multiplayer over the internet which is obviously how the game was intended. With that in mind, let’s start with the games multiplayer mode which combines close team work with strategic game play and complete freedom.

Battlefield Vietnam allows you to play with up to 63 other players split into two teams which, in conquest mode are basically either the US or US allies or North Vietnam and its allies. Once you have chosen your side you then choose a spawn point on a map and are then dropped into the action in order to help your team battle for various control points.

From this point you’re virtually free to do whatever you want to do, orders are sometimes given by other team mates but you certainly don’t have to follow them. Wondering around solitary on foot can be a dangerous but fulfilling task, especially when you wonder upon an unsuspecting enemy and take him out, knowing you did it all by yourself! If the singular approach is not your cup of tea you can run around with a group of team mates as they infiltrate enemy lines and take over strategic control points but the best of the action comes with the games vehicles.

Vehicles are available to anyone playing the game and range from tanks, helicopters, boats, cars and scooters. Using vehicles obviously gets you from A to B quicker than on foot and what’s more, you can pile into vehicles with your team mates so whilst one player is controlling the steering, others are controlling the guns! Barging through an enemy base with several team mates in a jeep, shooting anything that moves and generally causing havoc is an example of how intense and fast the action takes place with great emphasis on team work and strategy.

Although the conquest mode is by far the most popular (and better) way to play Battlefield Vietnam the game does offer other modes of multiplayer gaming including Capture the Flag and Evolution where two historically linked maps are linked together and scores from the first map are carried onto the next.

All of the action takes place on a variety of terrains from urban city environments, mass water areas forcing more airborne missions and the obvious dense vegetation often associated with the Vietnam War. All areas have their advantages and disadvantages and all offer a different playing experience, the dense vegetation for example allows players to hide almost invisible in the long grass, on the banks of the rivers and in forest type settings which, although offers you and your enemies more of a challenge, can be frustrating when you keep getting killed from ‘round about’ the same area but you have no idea what or where they are.

The games controls are easy to get to grips with, players are armed with a variety of weapons from machine guns to grenades and all are easily accessible from a scrolling menu allowing quick and easy access. Vehicles are also easy to control once you get the hang of it and can be viewed in either 1st or 3rd person perspectives. You can change the view according to your preferences or whatever makes things easier for you.

Despite the great multiplayer experience that this game provides there are still some problems with the overall game play, some of which are present in most online games but some are unique to Battlefield Vietnam. Firstly certain players simply go on the game to annoy others and the have themselves a great time killing everyone. This can become a major problem sometimes as genuine players begin to get fed up and leave the game making it less and less enjoyable. Thankfully though the game does feature a good punk buster system which seems to be able to eliminate trouble makers and return the game to its former self. Another problem with the game however is that the US teams are far more superior to the others in terms or equipment and vehicles, some may argue however that this adds to the realism of the game rather than causes problems but it is highly annoying when you join a game only to find that the US team has no spaces left forcing you to join the team destined to lose! My biggest complaint however comes from the extremely long loading times in between games which almost makes you not want to bother waiting and simply go back to the game later on.

Allowing players to get to grips with how the game works before exposing yourself to real players, Battlefield Vietnam offers a single player mode pitting you against soldier bots in various missions. As mentioned earlier, Battlefield Vietnam is primary a multiplayer game and this is reflected in the poor single player mode, enemy AI is practically non existent and the game on the whole is boring and lacks depth.

One of the best things about Battlefield Vietnam is its sound with an outstanding soundtrack featuring actual hits from the 60’s and 70’s which can even be played in vehicles controlled by the players reminding me of the numerous movies that have featured the very same hits played by the American soldiers during the war. The game also manages sound effects well from the vehicle engine noises to the explosions and gunfire. Graphics in Battlefield Vietnam have also been re-vamped with highly detailed terrain, vehicles and weapons. Lush environments help to feed the games realism value along with detailed and nicely animated character models.

To close then, Battlefield Vietnam is a highly addictive, fast paced and fun war game which should appeal to anyone who liked Battlefield 1942, war games in general or team based game play. The bad points about the game are outweighed by the good and although Vietnam will not make the impact on the gaming world that its predecessor did, it should still make you smile.

Review Score: 8/10

Please note, this review was scored using our old system. For more information please see our review policy.

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