Battlefield has always been a game about flags, ever since the beginning. In this multiplayer DLC for Bad Company 2, it's the flags that illustrate the pack's fundamental, though by no means show-stopping, imbalance. On the US side, raise a flag at a control point and it's a pristine, pressed version of the stars and stripes - probably ironed by a girl who's as 'merican as apple pie. Join the North Vietnamese Army and the ragged, torn standard looks like someone fished it out of the costume box for Oliver! the musical.
In Bad Company 2: Vietnam, the Americans get all the cool gear. They're the ones wheeling around the sky in heavily armed Hueys, blasting out Fortunate Son as they rain down ordnance.
Meanwhile, if you're unfortunate enough to be plonked in the NVA, you're probably hiding in a bush, attempting to soil yourself as quietly as possible so as not to arouse airborne attention. It's simply not as much fun being the baddies in Vietnam.
At least everyone - regardless of army or class - gets to play with the excellent flamethrower. No element of Battlefield does a better job of introducing blind panic than that sheet of flame. We fancy we caught actual fear in the face of the last soldier who sprinted towards us while being chased by a wall of fire.
The weapons and vehicles are only half the story, of course. While five maps in the pack is a generous offering, it's the quality and variety of the environments that's the key to whether this is worth the cash. Of the five there's only one genuine dud. Phu Bai Valley is an indistinct, formless and aesthetically muddy mess, made even worse if you play it in Rush mode with its arbitrary barriers.
The other four, however, are some of the best Battlefield maps we've seen. There's the huge bridge bisecting the Operation Hastings map, the scorched earth aftermath of a napalm strike in Hill 137, and the facsimile of the village from the opening of Apocalypse Now in Cao Son Temple.
Add in the squad features from BFBC2 and you have the definitive vehicular combat experience, classic levels and an iconic setting all for just over a tenner. Rock and roll.
Quality at a deeply tempting price
- Four genuinely classic maps
- Theming is perfect
- Americans have more fun
- Phu Bai Valley sucks