Battlefield Vietnam Reader Review
Diary of a Vietcong Sniper: Day 1. Road to Ho Chi Minh City.
I'm lying there in the undergrowth, watching virtual human beings tottering to and fro in the distance, the crosshairs of my rifle sight playing across all the juicy blood-filled bits they're flapping about. They're totally oblivious to my existence but with just one single muscle spasm they will flap no more. I'm feeling safe, I'm feeling comfortable and a mantra flows through my mind again and again. "Just one tweak of my finger and friend, it's all over for you."
As I bask in my superiority I fail to notice an F4 Phantom flying overhead, dropping a payload of liquid fire that will ultimately consume me and the various jungle creatures I've been sharing my temporary habitat with.
As expected, the fireball engulfs me and I am reborn some distance away along with two members of my squad. Once again I slink into the jungle almost silently, and definitely unseen, to take up a position not far from where I was before. My two team-mates grab a noisy and cumbersome jeep and race off over the hilly terrain almost flipping the thing, and fishtailing on the sandy roads as they drive hell for leather to rejoin the fight. I leave them be and resume my one-man stand.
My 15 comrades and I are almost fighting a lost cause. The enemy are better-armed but are disorganised and think they have nothing to lose. On several occasions I've had a chance to observe their tactics. The crazy fools will all run towards a helicopter, and if someone beats them to the pilot's seat, they will open fire. Yes, open fire, on their own men! We may have a great deal to lose but we have not resorted to these tactics yet, and have enough determination and passion to make sure that we prevail.
Soon enough, once again my crosshairs dance. I spot two enemy helicopters in the distance, the low air-chopping noise of the blades drowned out by the caterwaul of some hideous western music, a sound that pulls at my nerves and breaks my concentration, but not enough to stop me putting a bullet through a careless enemy's head as they swivel their machine guns around searching the tree cover below, probably looking for me. One of the helicopters is carrying a crate - a bad sign, meaning that if they deploy it, more like them will come and probably sweep the jungle. I cannot possibly allow that to happen. I radio for reinforcements and request booby traps. At least if they land and try to stalk us through the jungle we will have left some nasty surprises for them.
Diary of an American G.I: Day 1. Road to Ho Chi Minh City.
Dear Mom, having a lovely time. Miss your apple pie and homemade ice cream. The slop they give us here is barely enough to keep me thinking, but with the help of Uncle Sam, my M16 and Creedence Clearwater Revival I can get through this and be back home real soon. Weather's real nice and the leeches don't bite if you drink a couple of bottles of rotgut or burn 'em off with a cigar butt.
I killed my first enemies yesterday. Two soldiers drove across my path on a beaten-up old scooter. I shouldered my M16 and got one before he could open fire, the other guy hit a hump in the road and went off into a tree, blowing the scooter (and himself) sky high.
I remember Pop telling me about the war, good old Dubbleyou-Dubbleyou-Two. He told me that people would go crazy and sit in their jeeps, staring into space with the expression of rank fear on their faces. I've seen that too, and I almost wanted to put them out of their misery. It's kill or be killed out here, and there's no time to sit around catching flies in your mouth, you gotta keep mobile. He also told me that people would wait patiently for magic aeroplanes to appear, and would not budge from their position until one came, and if anyone dared to get into the magic plane before they did, they'd pop 'im in the back. I saw that too and couldn't believe it' I'd always believed that Pop had a piece of shrapnel in his head!
Managed to hitch a chopper ride yesterday thinking I was safe, but sitting up on that side saddle seat looking down at the jungle and the creepy ruins I could feel hidden eyes boring into me. Sure enough my buddy Jed caught a bullet between his eyes and pitched forward as dead as a chunk of lead. Weird thing was; I could've sworn I saw him later on driving a tank.
Later we're going into the valley to try and clear out the basin. I've heard horrible talk about what will be waiting for us. Enemies popping out of the ground to put a knife in your back, trees rigged with C4 charges on trip wires, damned poisonous punji stakes or worst of all, those damned bouncing betties waiting to rip your guts out and blow you into two halves, one heading west, the other east.
Say hello to my Gerbil for me?
Diary of a manic games player: Oxford, 2004
I find it very difficult to believe that there will be a game that will be published this year that I will spend more time on than Battlefield Vietnam. Perhaps Half Life 2, Perhaps Halo 2. Perhaps neither. I've been playing Battlefield 1942 for well over a year now with no signs of stopping. Battlefield Vietnam takes exactly the same game essence, distils it and makes it far more potent. Though (as you've read above) some of the elements that annoy, frustrate and infuriate still occur (mostly because a multiplayer game as important and as popular as this will always attract its fair share of morons intent on ruining the experience for everyone), for the most part DICE / EA have addressed the more annoying issues. There is less emphasis on a single player merrily chuntering between spawn points to capture flags, then moving on - now you are more or less forced to play as a team which let's face it, is how it should be. The more team members you call upon to capture a spawn point or hold one, the better. Try and do this single-handedly and the enemy will turn you into a crispy critter faster than you can order Domino's Pizza online.
The important question that everyone's bound to ask about this game (those that haven't rushed out and bought this forthwith) is "How easy are those choppers to fly?" Desert Combat veterans will undoubtedly be wondering if their skills are transferable and for the most part they are. The simple answer to getting good in 'em though is practice, practice and more practice. I've been flying 'em for about a week now and they're a lot more forgiving than DC's but hella nasty once they start to pitch over backwards/sideways. Players will spend a lot of time tweaking their control set-ups to find the perfect balance.
BF1942 veterans will be pretty much able to leap into a game, sort out what's going on and get started quite easily. Action is seriously more frantic than BF1942's, no looking around and admiring the scenery, soldier! You've got work to do. At times I could've cried at how enigmatic the new user interface seems to be, but once you're used to it I'm sure you'll know exactly what to do to pick the side/class you want to be.
I have a feeling that this game will seriously polarise opinion on the Battlefield franchise. Some will say that it doesn't do enough to warrant being little more than a spit and polish of the original game; others like me will take the product as a standalone and judge it on its own merits. It does tidy up a lot of really annoying aspects of Battlefield 1942 but leaves others still glaringly obvious. Graphically it's good but not quite groundbreakingly stunning (much in the same way BF1942 could never really be called graphically stunning), but the graphics do the job very well of conveying the hell that must've been the Vietnam War. Sounds (surprisingly) are utterly fantastic and I can well imagine anyone playing this quietly humming Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" to themselves at inopportune moments. The in-vehicle "radio play lists" are also a welcome addition, almost giving BF a flavour of the GTA series. Jump in a tank, whack on some tunes and take out the enemy to the strains of some classic late 60s / early 70s sounds.
I'm really hoping the first patch sorts out a few of the issues with regards to performance and tweaking. Other than that, I can't fault this game but you really will need a monster of a PC to get the most out of it.
10 / 10