This go-round I got to play the wonderful Battlefield Vietnam from EA Games.
Battlefield Vietnam is a follow-up to Battlefield 1942, both being multiplayer online games with a somewhat limited single player experience. It places players in the heart of the Vietnam conflict, offering up a wide variety of gameplay that most action gamers will fall in love with. The details, however, can sometimes be appalling. I can sum this game up in one word: Marginal, Wicked, Surreal, Frustrating, Ridiculous.
DISCLAIMER: Writing this review in my somewhat satirical fashion, I do not intend to offend any veterans out there in any way.
MARGINAL The graphics for this game are marginal. The bushes, trees, wavy grasses and water all look beautiful. The shacks, tents, and bridges go a long way to give the feel of a back-woods jungle region. The vehicles and equipment look sharp. But if you want a decent framerate,
you've got to really drop down the graphics levels. EA even tells you to do this
on their site.
F-4 Phantom II
An Actual F-4 Phantom II
Once you drop the graphics down a few notches, the gameplay of
Battlefield Vietnam increases exponentially. So, if you can handle playing the game with some goodies turned off (or down below eleven), this game not only becomes playable, but extremely fun. In my opinion, this is an acceptable tradeoff for the enjoyment I had with the game itself.
This is my Rifle, This is my Gun
I found the gameplay to be wicked, especially during multiplayer online games. While there could be better team communication and strategies going on, it turned out to be a very cool experience overall. Running around and blowing things up is one of my favorite things to do in a game, and
Battlefield Vietnam provided enough to keep me entertained for hours. Single player leaves a lot to be desired, due specifically to some A.I. issues such as enemies not being able to drive vehicles and fight well at the same time. A lot of times the bots would just stand there and not do anything. I affectionately call them "Dead Bots".
There are so many cool things that a player can do to
keep this game enjoyable. You can fly around in jets or choppers. Both of those
take a while to get the hang of, by the way. You can also drive around in jeeps
and tanks. These usually work best with one person driving and another player
using the various weapons available on the vehicle. Players can also cruise
around in boats, which give me a freaky Apocalypse Now feeling. Now where did I
leave that documentation on Kurtz? Oh, the horror, the horror, the horror of a
bad movie cliché.
Ready for Takeoff
My personal favorite vehicle which is only occasionally available is the moped. I don't know about other people, but the first vehicle I look for is the moped. Nothing (and I mean NOTHING) spells kick-my-butt-I'm-a-pansy like a moped.
Ahh...My Weiniemobile Awaits!
R. Lee Ermey (or Uncle Ronald, as he's affectionately known in my family) once told me that if he ever caught me riding around on a moped, he would stomp my guts out.
R. Lee Ermey and I Just Hanging Out
SURREAL Battlefield Vietnam had some of the most surreal audio of any game I've ever played. The soundtrack captures a lot of the angst and anxiety of the time. Sometimes you can overhear war propaganda released by the enemy over the radio systems. Whoa! Did she just call me G.I. Joe? Nope, couldn't be. In the G.I. Joe cartoon, nobody ever got killed, or even seriously injured. My G.I. Joe action figures had it a lot worse off when my dogs got ahold of them. Hehehe. Nevertheless, the war propaganda made my skin crawl the first time I heard it. Sometimes the radio voice-over would be people on our side spitting out troop positions. Sometimes you just get to hear some really cool music from the era.
The Requisite Bridge Crossing
This game gives only a feeling of warfare. I doubt seriously that it is a true reflection on the actual war itself, though, because there was no real feeling of chaos. It was all too easy to get shot, and start up again at a spawn point. If this were anywhere close to real warfare, the player should be out for the rest of the round. You know, keeping heaven packed with fresh souls. There should be a stiffer penalty for getting dead, pardon the pun. Perhaps you should have to wait for a buffer of 6 people dead on one side and then bring them back all at once to simulate a new squad getting air-lifted into combat.
Weinie Alert! Weinie Alert!
What is more frustrating than bugs? More bugs. EA needs to get a patch out. Hopefully it won't be as rushed as the game. I initially had problems with the game chugging and crashing. After drastically downsizing the graphics levels, my crashes mysteriously vanished. But that wasn't the end of the frustrations. Once I was done with the game session, and totally exited the game, my system chugged along like an old Pentium 2 with 128MB of RAM. Huh? What the? The only way I found to fix this issue was a reboot, and my system always returned to normal. I don't exactly run a slow machine. This reviewer's machine consists of an Athlon XP 2000+, 512MB OCZ PC3000 RAM, and a BFG Asylum GeForce FX 5900 Ultra. It should be more than meaty enough to handle the games I throw at it. Something is terribly wrong with the programming of
Battlefield Vietnam if this machine is reduced to a pile of rubble after it is done playing a game. Some bugs border on the ridiculous.
Locked and Loaded
Load times are absolutely ridiculous. You can read a book while one map loads up. Hey, man, Marines are dying while this is loading up! We need to get in there and blow stuff up already! Enough with the hard disk reading, and let's get on with the gaming, okay?
EA really, really wants you to keep this game and play it all the time. They want you to keep it so badly, in fact, that they don't expect you to uninstall it. Why else would they release a piece of software that you cannot uninstall from you system in any conventional way? I mean, you can try to uninstall it from their uninstaller (there's an option on the autorun screen), but that doesn't mean it will actually uninstall anything. It seems to run a progress bar, and then tells you it's done, but it didn't do anything. You can also try to uninstall it from the Add/Remove Programs applet in your Control Panel, but it runs the same progress bar application that the autorun
program runs. So, once you install it, you have to actually trick your PC into
getting rid of it by deleting the files manually, and then cleaning your
registry. Good luck with that...
It seems the reason I was unable to uninstall the game was because I have a problem reading the uninstall screen. In order to uninstall, you must de-select the items you want uninstalled. Thanks to a forum member for pointing that out to me. My apologies to EA and Battlefield Vietnam fans for the original statement in my review.
I must say that my experience with this game was overall spectacular, with a few frustrations. In the end, the gameplay overshadowed all frustrations, and this game turned out to be just plain fun. Thanks to
several of the forum members whose tweaks helped out with some of the more painful frustrations. Some people may not be so forgiving of a game that looked to be rushed to market too quickly, and is obviously lacking a patch. If you like action games, you'll love this game if you also love online multiplayer play. For a single player experience, look elsewhere. For those less risky gamers out there, and you know who you are, you may want to wait for a patch before picking up this game. I give it about 412 out of 583 stars.