I approached Battlefield Vietnam with a bit of trepidation based on my experience with the early bug filled releases of Battlefield 1942, as well as the host of online forum critics who panned the game prior to release on the premise of a Vietnam game being nothing more than glorified and expensive expansion pack.
The game does have a number of day one bugs, especially for those of us running ATI Radeon cards, which cannot use anti-aliasing or ansiotropic filtering without severe graphical issues. However, once these features are turned to the default settings, the game runs well and looks good. Other bugs include the inability to sort servers in the network listings by ping as well as some lag issues with online play.
However, it is very much a playable game despite the technical issues, and I soon found myself able to try both the single player and online multiplayer experiences with little setup. Battlefield Vietnam is similar to Battlefield 1942 in that the included single player mode is nothing more than a training tool and substitute for the more interesting online gameplay. The included bots play the game adequately, but often show lackluster AI abilities in their standard gameplay.
I found the changes in gameplay interesting, including the reduced number of soldier classes, though each of the four included provides two separate but similar loadouts to provide sufficient choice of tactical play. My only real complaint here comes from the balance issues of having an anti-personnel weapn in the form of the M60 that tends to be more accurate than the M16s combined with the anti-vehicle LAW, making this the class used by most of those players on the US and AVRN teams.
The helicopters are a great addition to the mix, and are extremely easy to fly, even using the keyboard. The ability to hang out the side of a UH-1, firing your M16 into the jungles below while anti-air missiles streak upwards makes for some exciting play. The jets work well, though the maps often seem constraining in their size for the faster aircraft.
Overall I would highly recommend Battlefield Vietnam for anyone who enjoyed Battlefield 1942, as its not just a graphical makeover of the previous game, but offers a number of subtle gameplay differences that improves upon what came before.