VIP Map Pack 7 represents the two of the first true new maps as part of the VIP program on Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and after just 24 hours, really seems to have brought interest back into the game. Through the course of the VIP program, DICE has been releasing ports of existing maps in different formats, which has definitely been a cause for excitement when the maps finally hit, but still at the end of the day, the excitement tended to be short lived since they were essentially the same old maps. Then there were the maps that never got their ports that everyone waited for, like Valparaiso and Isla Inocentes on Conquest or especially Panama Canal and Laguna Alta on Rush.
Any disappointment in not gaining new game modes for those uber-popular maps has immediately dissipated, as VIP Map Pack 7 was an unannounced cherry on top of our Battlefield pie, and really came out of nowhere at the end as a little bonus to get fans pumped up for the upcoming Vietnam expansion, which by the way, has finally been dated for December 21st. Cold War and Heavy Metal represent the two newest maps to the game play rotation and should be recognized as if you actually played through the campaign. They don’t look to be direct ports of the levels, but rather look to have been built upon the same foundation.
While one would think that is the best news of the entire Map Pack… wait, there’s more! Unlike other companies that like to double dip on the maps they make, DICE has listened to the fans and redesigned two of the most popular maps from the original Bad Company game, Oasis and Harvest Day, and release them to fit the beefed up style of play that is Bad Company 2. If I may editorialize for a moment here, people like to complain about the VIP program in regards to having bought the game used, but fail to realize they would pay much more in the form of map packs had DICE decided to charge for them and gone that route. In this case (and maybe not the case of other “project $10 games”), it has definitely worked in the favor of gamers. But I digress.
So the patch that came out for this Map Pack was about 1.64gb and was available the day before the Map Pack released. Being the Battlefield junkie that I am and knowing that DICE is located in Sweden, a good 6-7 time zones ahead of me, I found myself waking up extra early on the morning the maps were to be released, hoping to get in a few games before I had to ship myself off to work. Just when I was about to give up, they hit around 8:15AM EST and I was able to get one round of Conquest in on Oasis:
The first thing that entered my mind is just how amazing the scenery was. The map feels a lot like Arica Harbor on Conquest, with tons of buildings to mill through and and different levels of action (upper and lower street levels). What is completely different about this map is the fact that there are vehicles present, and quite a few different ones. First you have a centrally located tank that spawns right outside of the B flag. This is up for grabs and my team didn’t seem too interested in it. There is also a Humvee on the American side of the map and a jet ski on the side of the Russians. It certainly makes for a unique way to bebop around the map, as there was a point in time where my team had lost all three flags and one of my random squad mates was smart enough to notice the jet ski and flank all the way to the American side of the map. I really, really enjoyed the game play here, and I think DICE picked a great section of the map to set it up for Conquest. I am a big fan of tank mines, and as a matter of fact I have more kills with tank mines then any other weapon, but this is not going to be a good tank mine map. As you can see, I did get lucky and took one for the team, but overall, I think other forms of anti-vehicular strategies are in order. I probably would have been better off using anything but the PP-2000, but it is the last engineer gun I have to platinum, so I am grinding. I think this will very quickly become “that map” that everyone wants to start on and play a lot with Conquest moving forward.
Oasis on Rush is a whole different ball game, and it is very easy to see why this is THE map of the four that had all the fanboys abuzz. I was not one of them, as my experience with the original Bad Company multiplayer was extremely limited, and I don’t think I ever actually played this map there. I do remember it from the campaign, though. This map is pretty intense, huge, and a whole lot of other fun adjectives. Comparing it to other Bad Company 2 maps already in rotation, this map is plays a lot like Laguna Presa on Rush, where it is pretty huge and there are a number of directions the attacking squad can come from. There are tons of vehicles, including an Apache located at the first base. There are five sets of MCOM’s, and I don’t believe any of them are in destructible locations. On defense, the map is pretty balanced, as there are a few sets of anti-air weaponry that can rip through the Apache pretty quickly. There are also a few SAM or KORN turrets to balance out the tanks coming from each direction. I love this map and can see why long time fans of the series have been pretty stoked for it to be added to the rotation. It is definitely one of the more challenging maps, and I have a feeling that as I get more used to it with my crew, we’ll figure out all the tricks of getting it done. As it stands, we ended up coming up short on the last set of MCOM’s.
Harvest Day is a map that I do sort of remember from the first Bad Company, and what an amazing and interesting addition to the rotation. The map is huge, bigger than any other map in the game and there are just so many different strategies to consider when attacking or defending. The attacking team gets a few tanks and other vehicles to start and there are a bunch of different directions you can attack from. For the most part, the opening to the first base is pretty vast, and the defending team will likely see you coming from a mile away (which may be literal and not just cliche). This is definitely a great map for tracer darts, as you will likely see in the videos. It is also one of the first times that I have recommended to my cohorts that it may be time to bring out smoke on tanks, because the other team was flinging in the tracers fast and furious. Once you do get past the first set of MCOM’s, the real challenge begins. Try to preserve those T-90′s, because the attacking team is without armor the rest of the way, while the defenders pick up a Bradley. It’s a good distance to the second pair of MCOM’s, but you can flank from a pretty wide array of angles. When defending, I actually felt like we were going on the attack, as sitting back and waiting for the other team to push up became a bit cumbersome. While I haven’t had to defend the last set of MCOM’s, they proved to be quite the challenge to attack, as the defenders very literally gain the high ground and you have to make your way to the top of a hill where both MCOM’s are located. It can be done, but the entire map is very challenging from every which way, which I think is awesome. This is where I really decided to break out my old reliable, the SCAR-L, because there tends to be a decent amount of range when in gun fights. This is a great map for all classes. Aesthetically, the map is beautiful, with lots of fall foliage that kind of reminds me of Isla Inocentes.
Cold War is a whole ‘nother beast. This is the first present day level of the campaign, though you attack from the opposite direction from which your squad approaches on the level. I know that once we got to the last set of MCOM’s, I saw the boat I remember from the introduction of the game. This is a wintery map and introduces a new vehicle to the game, and as you can see in the attacking video, everyone in the game was kind of like “holy shit, what is that!?!” It is a truck in which multiple players can jump on for a ride, though I don’t know how useful it is or if it is a glorified death trap DICE through in as a cold joke of doom! I found this map pretty easy to defend, as like on Port Valdez, you parachute in at the start of the level. Unlike Port Valdez, you face a pretty narrow opening to escape from, and my team really mowed down on guys as they dropped down. However, once we went on attack, my team had no problem getting through, so I don’t know what our opposition was doing. There are MCOM’s in destructible buildings, but if you can take them down, you really deserve it. This map is pretty compact, so it plays much faster than most Rush maps. The buildings are pretty dense and smoke really works to the advantage of the attackers as you try to approach. Other than that one random truck, there are no vehicles on the map. Even though you are sure to see a lot of people trying to on the first set of MCOM’s on both attack and defense, this is not going to be a very good sniping map. I really think the key to winning is pushing the assault and constantly moving forward. For me, this is definitely a map I will break out my assault class.
I saved Heavy Metal for last because… quite frankly… HOLY SHIT. This map is absolutely ridiculous in scale and long time fans of the battlefield series are going to be STOKED. There are multiple helicopters on both ends of the map, and each flag is located 500 or more meters from each other. This is definitely a vehicle map, and there are tons of vehicles to choose from. In a game that I did not record, I decided to run from one spawn point all the way to the other (seeing if I could actually make it) and it took me forever. Think Atacama Desert, only twice as long and twice as wide, and that may be an understatement. Because of the scale of this map in a 12 vs 12 format, there are only 200 tickets for each side, and surprisingly, they burn pretty quickly. There are also anti-air guns in each base, as well as positioned in the camp at flag B, making it a base worthy of controlling. Words simply can not fairly and accurately describe just how huge this map is, and I am definitely glad I have the video to put it into words for me. Snipers will have a ton of fun on this map trying to get long distance headshots, and it will likely be a map in which you won’t even care if your team is sniping or you are being sniped. If you take a dome shot on this map, you truly deserve it. Considering how huge the map is, it is really not going to matter if you’re stuck spawning on a sniper. You’ll have a long way to huff it either way. Just watch out for those windmills when you are in the air, because they well spin you around and knock you down.
This is a great way to close out the VIP Program for Bad Company 2, and definitely has me questioning how the hell I am going to finish Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Fable 3 any time soon. It is bringing a ton of people that I have been playing with back from Call Of Duty: Black Ops and Halo: Reach as well, which is always a good thing. With the Ultimate Edition of the game now available, there have been some pretty awesome deals on the core game as it was originally released, as you can probably pick it up new with VIP code for around $29.99 or less. I have even seen some awesome deals on the Ultimate Edition for $39.99, which will come complete with Onslaught mode and a few early unlockables for the multiplayer, on top of a game that right now will likely end up being my game of the year (but that is still very much up for debate in this crazy head of mine). Considering the amount of time I have invested into the game, it probably should be. Vietnam is set to drop a few days before Christmas, so look forward to seeing a completely wrap up of the next addition to Bad Company 2 as it becomes available.