Poor Vietcong 2, you would have fared so much better in the quiet months of August. Instead, your publisher chose to release you in the fall, surrounded by the release of mega-shooters like Quake 4, Call of Duty 2, and F.E.A.R, all games that will take up more shelf-space. While they sit in the new release section, with flashy stickers all over their boxes screaming ďbuy me!Ē at best youíre sitting on the bottom shelf, tucked away, nearly alone except for a copy of the latest hunting game to keep you company (that will probably outsell you).
This guy really hates trailers.
If you canít figure out what Vietcong 2 is about based on the title alone, you probably shouldn’t read this review. For the sake of providing an accurate and detailed review, Iíll fill you in anyways. Vietcong 2 is set during the Vietnam War. Whatís specifically unique about Vietcong 2 is that it allows you to not only strap on the boots of an American soldier, but it also lets you play as the Vietnamese. Not many other games allow you to play as the enemy, so this could be considered an achievement or advancement. When it comes down to it, thereís really no difference between the two plotlines outside of the locations you battle in and the facial features of the people youíre shooting at.
Yeah, that looks like my kind of establishment…
There really isnít all that much to say about this game. Itís a very average shooter. It doesnít do any particular thing right, but it doesnít do anything particularly wrong, either. The biggest problem it does have is disorganization. It feels like the developers had a lot of ideas, like squad-based combat, but didn’t know how to execute them properly. During the single-player campaigns, youíre often accompanied by a large squad. Half the time theyíre not doing anything at all except getting in your way. This is a particular problem with Vietcong 2 because itís a sequel, so it shouldnít feel like it is lacking direction.
The whole game just feels half-empty (in a pessimistic sort of way). It wants to be atmospheric and absorbing, to challenge your thinking and leave you wanting more, but the game is all too easy to turn off. Thereís no sense of emergency or any feeling of foreboding. It feels like youíre going to work when you load it up, which is the exact opposite of the feeling I should have when I start up a game, even if I have to review it. Vietcong 2 is missing some important cog in its machine, and if itís ever found, this could turn into a better game.
Nice red knickers.
There are some good elements. Killing Vietnamese soldiers is genuinely entertaining at times. These moments are far too infrequent, but some scenes, like an early one in the American campaign that has you picking off Vietnamese soldiers from a balcony, was a lot of fun. Itís just unfortunate that the five minutes leading up to this sequence was incredibly bland. The game is also marred by a few small glitches and bugs (like a Vietnamese soldier falling through the wall of a building and landing in an outside courtyard when I killed him) that detract from the overall experience and destroy any sense of realism.
“So Charlie, what’s it like being a Vietcong soldier then?”
Vietcong 2ís expansive multiplayer features are probably its most redeemable factors. If you donít feel like relying on the slightly average AI, you can load up the game with a bunch of buddies in a co-op mode that more than satisfies. If you prefer killing other humans, you can play online against up to 64 people, though large servers are hard to come by because of this games limited popularity. If the game does take off, youíre going to find an immersive, pleasing online experience that makes up for a lot of the single player faults.
Vietcong 2 doesnít really shine graphically. The engine is the same one the developers used for the original game as far as I can tell, and though itís been used before in the past, it still runs pretty terribly on my hardware without most of the graphical options turned down. With the effects turned all up, the game looks pretty good, but itís nothing really special or jaw-dropping. As for the sound effects, I have to say that the gunshots sounded really realistic. The voice acting isnít all that bad either.
It really looks like he’s enjoying that gun.
There really isnít all that much to say about Vietcong 2. Itís not a particularly rewarding experience and itís nothing that you should run out and buy. Itís not awful and I canít really say that you shouldnít pick it up or avoid it. Itís hard to review a game like this, even with my years of experience, because nothing, good or bad, really stands out. This is a strictly average game that isnít going to enhance or blight your collection. Buy it or donít buy it, either way you wonít be pleased or disappointed.
Five out of ten