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Battlefield Vietnam Hands-On Preview

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In the game, players have to choose the US or North Vietnamese side. You’re a GI or Charlie. There are two “special” forces that have added benefits.

The classes of soldiers remain unchanged from infantry, support engineer, sniper, heavy weapons and medic. Green Berets (US special forces) can release medical kits to US soldiers while Viet Cong (NVA special forces) use flair guns and drop Bouncing Betty mines.

Let me state before I go any further that BFV is like BF1942, it’s not meant to be a hardcore simulation. It is hardcore when defining gameplay, but the model of planes and boats are not meant to be exact to the detail like LOMAC or any other hardcore sim. This is all about ease of play and serious fun.

One of the first things I tried in the game was flying the planes. F-4 Phantoms and MiG-21’s are now standard fighters in BFV replacing the P-51’s and Zero’s. Both sides are outfitted with rear aspect IR missiles. Just line up behind your opponents jet, wait for the tone and appropriate visual lock-on cue and fire. The missiles fire in pairs with the appropriate delay before another set is ready for launched. This is not hardcore dogfighting, just simple and challenging.

Battlefield: Vietnam

Helicopters are another new addition to the series. They posed a bit of a challenge to physics in the game so the team designed a flight model specifically made for choppers. Controlling them was not difficult and should take the average gamer only a few second to figure out. Helicopters have many roles in the game from troop transport to attack choppers for air assault. Something first used in a Battlefield: Secret Weapons of WWII was the use of moving spawn points. Helicopters are now used in this role for the US side. I don’t recall if the NVA had this ability but I know the US side does.

Fast attack boats are new too. Although when I played BFV they should be called slow moving boats because they were anything but fast. When the team asked for feedback, one of the issues I suggested taking another look at was increasing the speed of the PT and patrol boats. They were almost useless for attacks because they are so slow. More like a slow moving, floating target on the river. I suspect this issue will be addressed before the product hits beta. The version I played was pre-alpha.

A slew of lingering issues people did not like in Battlefield 1942 have been worked on extensively. AI has become much better about releasing a driving or gun position when ordered to do so. You can now fire your weapon from the passenger seat of vehicles. Each class of soldier is now given 2 choices of a weapon including shotguns for the infantry on the US side. Explosions are now present instead of the simple gray smoke. Secondary explosions are also modeled in BV. With the massively increased level of somewhat transparent foliage, hiding out and “sniping” are going to reach a new level of popularity. You can hide, aim and fire while concealed in the dense foliage of over and under growth.

There are some changes that need to continue to evolve from BF1942. Symmetric Multiprocessing Support (SMP) would be a welcome addition for those with dual processor machines, especially for dedicated servers. I inquired about support for Hyper-Threading and 64-bit support but comments were that those features, while important, are not at the top of the list.

Map sizes seemed bigger. In BF1942, I am not satisfied with the distance that can be rendered at a time. When your flying, too much of the terrain is just “gray blobs” out in the distance. The team knows this but it can affect the balance of the gameplay if one person with a very high system can “see” more than another player with a slower machine. I understand that but for single player games or for those with dedicated servers, there might be a way to increase the distance at which objects are rendered and not adversely affect gameplay. I think and hope the BFV team will give some thought to how they might make this possible.

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