Battlefield 1942 was one of the sleeper hits of 2002. With no hype at all, a demo crept on to the Internet and from there a major contender for Counterstrike's crown had surfaced. Battlefield 1942 as you probably know went on to be a raging success and with two expansions now available DICE thought it was time to move on. Not only have they moved on to a completely new stand alone game, but they have changed wars to the Vietnam conflict. With the game only a week away we check out what's going to be different in this brand new Battlefield game.
Battlefield 1942 was a success for a few reasons. The fact that it had a large number of players in the one server at once (up to 64) definitely contributed but perhaps it was more the fact that players could easily switch from being an on foot soldier, to flying a plane, driving a tank or commandeering numerous other vehicles. BattleField Vietnam is set to expand on this and the new war has allowed DICE to introduce new weapons and vehicles to the engagements.
For the most part, the gameplay for Battlefield Vietnam will probably remain the same. In the original game, for those of you who haven't played it, there was a ticket system. Each team had a certain number of tickets and each time someone restarted after their character was killed, one ticket was used. There was also numerous points to capture around the battlefield and the more points you held the quicker the other teams tickets would start to deplete and a rapid rate.
This new game mode seemed to work and it was definitely the most popular out of the ones available which included deathmatch and capture the flag. This mode is known as conquest and will be featured again in Battlefield Vietnam, as well as an expanded version of this. In the new mode the alternate map will reload after a period of time but the counters will not be reset making the use of strategy in the first map and even more important component of the battle. The server can also create custom battles which will even allow you to have the Vietcong fight the Vietcong or the US forces against US forces. This could lead to some very close battles being fought on servers around the globe.
In Battlefield 1942 the maps were quite open and there wasn't many places to camp or hide. With the change to the Vietnam war this mechanic will most likely totally change and stealth will become a key factor due to the fact that some battles will be set in dense jungle land, with large amounts of cover. The one thing the Vietcong had up their sleeve in the Vietnam war was the art of surprise attacks by hiding in various places in the jungle. This will translate to the game and will be an advantage if used correctly for the Vietcong armies.
Where Battlefield 1942 featured the Japanese, Germans, British and Americans, Battlefield Vietnam will feature only the US forces and North Vietnamese Army. Each team has a variety of unique weapons and the developers have recreated some of the most vicious and violent weapons used in the war. One such weapon is the Bouncing Betty which, when used as a mine and triggered, bounces up to about chest height and explodes. Of course standard weapons such as machine guns, pistols, shotgun etc are included but the unique and interesting weapons will probably be the ones most people will be interested in trying out upon the games release mid March.
It's hard to have a game in the same vein as Battlefield 1942 without vehicles and this is why Battlefield Vietnam contains over twenty of them. With the twenty or so years passing since the end of World War II and the start of the Vietnam conflict, technology changed as did strategies and as did the weapons. Players will have access to a variety of powerful military vehicles no matter which side they choose. The famous helicopters which were used to deploy troops deep in the jungles will be useful when playing as the US forces, along with fighter jets, tanks, jeeps and even Naval vessels. The naval vessels are nothing like the aircraft carrier and frigates that were featured in Battlefield 1942, and are more adept for quick runs up a river to take down enemies Whereas in Battlefield 1942 you were using weapons such as machine guns on the planes, you now have access to heat seeking missiles which will completely change the way games are played. The NVA aren't left out of the battles either with vehicles such as the MIG-21 fighter jet, military helicopters, tanks and cannons. In an interesting strategic point, it appears the NVA does not have access to naval vessels.
I briefly went hands on with the game and came away with the following impressions. We only got to see two maps, a significant portion of one and a very small time with another but definitely were impressed by what we saw. The game somewhat plays like Battlefield 1942 but the strategy is definitely different. I took a few helicopters on the US side for a spin and it will take you some time to adjust to the physics of the chopper. Many a time I ended up planting them in a ball of flames on the ground, and then tried again before finally mastering it. Most of the other vehicles handle well like the BF1942 vehicles, the jets are really easy to fly from the get go. Obviously the game has changed somewhat since BF1942 but they have kept the core components and the game is still really fun to play. We did notice a significant amount of foliage in the game but this is to be expected given the fact the game is set in the jungles of Vietnam. After a brief time with the game I came away quite impressed.
The interface has changed in some ways. You still use the "F" keys to give commands such as "roger" and "negative" but rather then using graphical icons which may have been confusing to some players. This makes it even easier to give commands to other team mates and lets face it, to win a game of Battlefield you need to work as a team capturing points and holding points so anything which makes this easier is a bonus. Other then that the interface somewhat remains the same. You still choose your point to start at (as long as your team holds one) and you still try to capture the other teams points forcing them to lose the battle. It worked well in BF1942 and it works well in Vietnam, so why change it.
Visually the game is looking superb with some nice graphical effects on show. The character models have changed due to the change of the war but also seem more detailed. Each time has a variety of weapons as mentioned before and the levels, structures and vehicles definitely fit the time period the game is set in. On the sound side of things, EA have officially licensed some tracks from the era to add authenticity to the game.
Battlefield Vietnam is set to ship quite soon and many people are probably anticipating this game as their next purchase. Having played through a bit of the multiplayer side of the game it is clear that it should live up to the expectations of most players and may replace BF1942 as the game of choice for the Battlefield fans. Battlefield Vietnam is expected to be available in Australia in two weeks time.