Vietcong 2 PC DVD-ROM
Published by 2K Games
Developed by Pterodon
Release Date: Out Now
Vietcong 2, an introduction.
Just over two and a half years ago we reviewed Vietcong, a war based FPS that focused on the war in Vietnam rather than the tried and tested World War II scenario. With this change of scene came a few changes. Instead of having to cope with the usual urban environments, the action was jungle based and having to contend with enemies you could barely see due to the foliage made for an original, and difficult, new experience. Whilst jungle warfare is present in Vietcong 2, it only makes up a small part of the game.
What's the game about?
Vietcong 2 allows you to see both sides of the 1968 Tet Offensive and is set in and around the city of Hue. The Tet Offensive was an attack by the North Vietnamese Army and the Vietcong (National Liberation Front) on the US forces during the cease fire period that accompanied the Vietnamese Luna New Year 'Tet' celebrations. Whilst the Tet Offensive may not have been successful, it gave the US a bloody nose to nurse. The game offers two campaigns. In the first campaign you'll play as Captain Daniel Boone, a 32 year old US Army captain and in the second campaign you'll play as Mai Van Minh, a 22 year sergeant in the Vietcong. There are four difficulty levels for the campaigns ranging from Easy, which allows unlimited quicksaves, to Vietnam, which has no HUD and doesn't let you quicksave at all. Needless to say the Vietnam difficulty setting is not something I would recommend on your first play through. Online play provides a co-op mode (for up to 8 players), capture the flag, deathmatch and team deathmatch modes and assault mode and rather impressively up to 64 plays can take part. Vehicles can also be driven in the multiplayer modes.
What's good about the game?
Those of you who like a more realistic take on your war based FPS games will appreciate how challenging Vietcong 2 can be when played on the more challenging difficulty modes. This isn't a game where you can simply run towards your enemy with all guns blazing because you'll end up looking like a human colander in no time. Thinking about your attacks is definitely required here and as well as your own movements, you'll also have to order several fellow soldiers around too, although the control you have over them isn't as impressive as games such as the Rainbow Six games and Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30. The AI of your companions is generally OK but sometimes they do needlessly put themselves in danger, which can be a little annoying. The enemy AI is also quite good and on the Vietnam difficulty mode in particular, they will make mincemeat out of you if you don't watch your back at all times.
What's not so good about the game?
Compared to the FPS games released over the last year or two Vietcong 2 doesn't keep pace with them in regards to graphics. To be blunt the game looks several years old, which isn't necessarily a bad thing but even with the less than stellar graphics, the game doesn't manage to keep a steady frame rate. The disappointing aspect of the game is the brevity of the campaigns. The two campaigns together won't take you more than a couple of evenings to work your way through. In fact the VC campaign only consists of a few missions and is much shorter than the US campaign. Those who were looking for more jungle based warfare might also be disappointed with the amount of urban warfare in the game, although the VC campaign does provide a small amount of jungle warfare for you to participate in.
How does it look?
As we remarked earlier, Vietcong 2 doesn't look the best. The facial details are up to scratch though and actually look quite impressive. Other areas of the game don't fare as well. Character models look quite basic by today's standards and the character animations can simply be classified as adequate. The various environments that you fight in don't look that great to be honest, which is rather disappointing. The game has performance issues too and it's not the easiest thing in the world when you are trying to shoot enemies when the frame rate is quite unstable. For a game that doesn't look that great the system requirements are monstrous and it's a fair bet that most PC gamers won't have the specifications to have a smooth experience with the game.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
Vietcong 2 does have subtitles but they are disabled by default, so make sure you enable them before proceeding to play a new game. The subtitles in the main game are placed on the left side of the screen which is not ideal as you tend to miss a lot of what's being said in the thick of the action. A more central position would have been preferable. There aren't any subtitles for peripheral conversations so if you walk into a room where people are chatting with each other, but not to you, you won't be aware of what's being said. Tutorial messages are displayed in text, as are your objectives. You can hold down the Tab key to recall the objectives at any point. You're also notified in text when new objectives have been issued which is useful. There aren't any captions in the game which means you won't be notified of nearby enemies that hearing gamers will be aware of.
Given the FPS games we've seen in recent times such as Far Cry, several Tom Clancy titles and Half-Life 2, it was always going to be difficult for Vietcong 2 to be something outstanding. However whilst the game is quite good, it's far from being anything special and is surely going to get lost in the deluge of games that arrive just in time for Christmas. The poor performance of the game engine wouldn't be so bad apart from the fact the game doesn't look that great and the brevity of the campaigns does little to add appeal to the game. Still if you enjoyed the first game, you'll probably find Vietcong 2 worthwhile even though most of the game is in an urban setting as opposed to a jungle setting. Those who were expecting something special will doubtless be disappointed though.
Overall Game Rating: 6.5/10
Deaf Gamers Classification:
(Click the letter or here for details)
Vietcong 2 is essentially a good FPS. However, its single player campaigns are too short and most of the game sees you playing in an urban setting rather than in the jungle surroundings, which after all is what the series is well known for.