The briefing screen to Phu Bai Valley, one of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam's five new maps, informs that the all-important mission objective is for US forces to stop NVA rice shipments. There's even a liberal sprinkling of propaganda, as the American announcer declares that these actions won't damage the food supplies of the civilian population. Ha!
Of course, Bad Company 2 - Vietnam or no Vietnam - is really about you and a bevy of mates running around like headless chickens trying to blow up various M-COM stations. Or not blow up, as the case may be. But it's Nam, baby! So now you're thundering over levels in a sparkly new (old) Huey, with Creedence Clearwater Revival's Fortunate Son (the current de facto choice to represent the Vietnam War in any video game) blasting out, but you're still complaining that your mate Dave is doing an absolute crap job on the turret.
Bad Company 2: Vietnam tows the middle-line between a DLC map pack and a full-blown expansion, adding five maps, new weapons and vehicles, and an entire aesthetic do-over for the princely sum of 1200 Microsoft Points/£9.99 on PSN. In our current climate of being nickel and dimed for any scrap of bonus content, it's a refreshing change for consumers to be getting so much for so little. Or maybe it's just DICE seeking redemption after demanding 480 MSP for some trumped-up palette swaps - we'll simply never know.
As far as the jungle shift affects the rhythm of play, Vietnam's five maps are generally packed with noticeably denser areas than Bad Company 2's finest. Vietnam competently works its lush, verdant environments, but DICE is also consciously crafting an entirely different action-packed mood to other, equally green Bad Company 2 levels such as Valpariso and Oasis. Vietnam thus demands a slight adjustment to common tactics, and a slight boost to weapon damage makes you prioritise assault rifles and the new flamethrower over the game's selection of SMG's (it's a lot harder to play engineer in general) and shotguns. It's not a radical repositioning of tactics, mind - shooting enemies in the face still gets the job done.
One major source of disappointment, across all five maps, is in the lack of Bad Company's signature destruction. Ducking down behind an impenetrable wood shack feels oddly bizarre after becoming accustomed to Bad Company 2's perilous environments, and while the solid structures help keep firefights action-packed it does feel like an unwanted departure from one of the series' finest accomplishments.
15 weapons are provided, though most of these are re-skinned variants of established Bad Company 2 weapons. The Vietnam M60 handles exactly like the Bad Company 2 M60, despite minor changes, though each weapon now sports a fashionably dirty look. Barrels are wrapped with soggy, dirty tape and guns sport custom paintjobs underneath their thick coatings of grime. It is all 100 per cent how I imagine the Vietnam War was actually like after watching Good Morning Vietnam, The Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now.