Battlefield developers DICE have released their first major expansion pack for Battlefield Bad Company 2 in the form of Vietnam. It is an multiplayer-only expansion pack that contains four unlocked maps, and one locked map which will unlock when a version of the game passes 69,000,000 team play actions. Each platform's unlock map is unique to the platform and is not a collective total, so we won't be seeing the final map for several months.
The easiest way to look at this expansion pack is as a remake of the original Battlefield Vietnam, but with the destruction elements made possible by DICE's Frostbite Engine. Since this is an expansion pack, a direct comparison to the original game isn't truly fair; the original game contained twelve maps, plus mod support, but cost $39.99 upon release, while Vietnam is just $14.99. There are fifteen classic weapons and six vehicles, all accurate to the time period. The Vietnamese and US forces also wear correct uniforms, so Vietnam is fairly faithful to real events.
Since this expansion introduces an upgraded game engine, Frostbite v1.5, the expansion has been slightly improved from the base game. There are fewer graphical issues, and explosions look much bolder and more active. The most obvious improvement is with fire effects. This is brought quickly to a gamer's attention by the flamethrower. Its flame animation is realistic, with random flares and smoke effects. There is also an improvement in anti-aliasing as the game looks a lot less ridged.
Gameplay is, at its core, the same as in Bad Company 2, but set in the jungles of Vietnam. There are a few issues. The first is that it seems bullets do not drop for a very long distance. For some unknown reason I can kill with or be killed by the TT33 from the distance of a sniper rifle. It is a lot harder to do, but the fact that it is possible is an issue, as there should be no way to hit someone with a bullet shot from a pistol at that distance. The other issue is just a basic failure of collision physics. It is very easy to get stuck in a rock. This isn't actually too much of an issue (as it is very easy to get unstuck), just annoying. Still, I hope that these issues get patched fairly soon.
DICE created brand new voice recordings that seem to make it so you won't hear the same blood-curdling scream too often. Also, the game features eight in-game radio stations featuring over 60 classics like Rise of the Valkyries. Altogether the audio blends together to make it seem as if you really are fighting in Vietnam.
Overall, DICE has recreated the Battlefield Vietnam experience in this modern gaming age. Vietnam is completely faithful to the quality of a standard known by all which embodies the majority of the Battlefield franchise's titles. This expansion pack is well worth the purchase and is complete bliss to play. It definitely makes a wonderful gift for yourself or someone else this holiday season.