Conflict: Vietnam

A fumbled opportunity to present the true horrors of a War largely treated as taboo on console gaming.

Others from this series:

Conflict: Desert Storm

It’s hard to know where to start when criticizing Conflict: Vietnam.

It sucks and there are a few monumental reasons why but I think the part that stings the most is that the game itself starts off strong. The first hour of this game is enjoyable.

The story kicks in like pretty much every single Vietnam movie or cinematic sequence ever, following a brand new, wet-behind-the-ears private off a chopper and on to base. Here you are introduced to all of your typical soldier stereotypes; Your battle hardened, no nonsense squad leader, the guy that only two weeks left of duty and the crazy fuckin’ southern guy.

Of course, you’d be hard pressed to find any American war movie without those character archetypes. However, silver screen aside, for the Vietnam war, those stereotypes exposed a very real and ugly truth about the nation at the time. The majority of Americans seeing combat were: the very young (new recruit), the very poor (southern man) and African Americans (in this case our, “Two weeks left of active duty” character.)

After the introduction of characters and a small flex on a rock n’ roll soundtrack that characterized and commented on the culture back home at the time, all hope for a good game quickly dissipates.

Conflict: Vietnam is a huge swing and a miss. It’s hard to figure out what contributes the most to the games complete un-playability. Could it be the downright dumb button scheme that overly complicates just about every minor action? Could it be the insanely stupid, A.I. that are supposed to act as your squad mates? Or the muddy, ugly and difficult to navigate maps that all look the same? The absolute awful dialogue? Or the fact that whether you accomplish anything or die face down in a pool of blood and mud, it feels no different because the writer’s couldn’t get you to invest in this story if their own lives depended on it?

Probably a combination of all of that.

If I could only choose one flaw that left me frustrated time after time, it would have to be the lack of any help from your supposedly, “artificially intelligent” squad mates. If I normal was stuck in a jungle, with a machine gun, on the other side of the world, with guys so dangerously stupid and useless – I would kill the entire squad. Anyone this dumb should be put out of their misery. The game’s AI is so bad, it invents new ways to get the player constantly ambushed and killed. Its like the game’s artificial intelligence was programmed by a potato that hates Americans.

There are more ways to destroy this game but it’s not even really worth it. I recommend avoiding this one even if it is dirt cheap.


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