Friday, January 14, 2011

Bad Company Vietnam Impressions

After holding out as long as possible, I finally caved and bought this pack...thing. I'm glad I did because as people have been saying, it's excellent.

First thing you notice is the presentation, which is top notch. The game makes good use of licensed (if a bit overplayed) 'Nam era music. The menus are slick and the intro to each level is done in a very authentic style. There are 5 maps and a few new guns. Not really as many as I would have hoped, but for 1200 points you're already getting a fair bit. The WW2 era weapons from BC 2 like the thompson and m1911 weapons are also available for use which is cool.

So how does it play? Well quite a bit differently from regular BC 2. There are no scopes except on sniper rifles, no motion sensors or tracer darts and no annoying fucking UAVs. So in a word, awesome. DICE is really proving that less is more by going back to their roots a bit. It really got me thinking about what makes these games enjoyable to begin with.

I think there is a point where you definitely reach diminishing returns when you keep adding crap to your game. Not only does it get exponentially harder to balance things, it's also confusing for new players and can be frustrating for experienced players. It is super annoying to not know how or why you died, and when you have motion sensors, mortars, shotgun slugs and all other crazy shit flying around anything is bound to happen. Keep things simple. A weak fast firing gun, a strong slow firing gun, a shotgun for up close, etc. We don't need 50 variations on the same gun when there's almost always 1 or 2 that render the rest obsolete.

Speaking of balance, it seems DICE has absolutely no idea how to balance anything that flies. In Battlefield 2, planes were ungodly nightmares raining death on all below them. In BC Vietnam the choppers are more like flying fart boxes. There are no AA guns or tracer missiles, but your rifles and machine guns do a really good job of taking them down. Luckily tanks seem decently balanced. Blowing them up with rockets isn't as hard as normal BC 2 which is a good thing. They get a flamethrower alternate fire which is hilarious and much more useful for taking out those little cocksuckers that try to plant C4 on you.

Overall I am very impressed with this expansion. Maybe in time I will grow to hate it, afterall familiarity breeds contempt (Just ask Jaison). But for now I think it is a very good addition that mixes things up in all the right ways. Plus I like to run around the map pretending I am Forrest Gump.

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