Conflict: Vietnam is the newest game in the Vietnam War genre and it also happens to be the best one when stacked against Shellshock: Nam ‘67, a game I recently reviewed. This isn’t to say Conflict: Vietnam is the end all of Vietnam War games. No, in fact, the genre has a long way to go on the console world in order to equal the types of quality World War II and modern combat games there are out there.

Conflict: Vietnam at least brings a story and cutscenes that don’t overdo things like swear words and the atrocities that happened during the war. It also brings a good game to the table that is undone by a horrid save system that I will get into later. Let’s get on with the scores.

You mean Vietnam was really a jungle area? Heck, you wouldn’t know it if you played Shellshock, but you would here. The character and environmental graphics are good here, although they are not spectacular. The camera also seems to not be as smooth as it could be as you are running around a level.

The guns have some nice graphical effects, but the coolness of them is drowned out by the fact that when you go into aim mode (via pushing in the right analog stick) it takes up a huge part of the screen and it’s hard to pick out the enemies and where they are in order to shoot them.

The trees in the jungle do a good job of hiding you, but you will find that lying in the prone position is probably all the cover you’re going to need in this game. This game doesn’t throw spectacular graphics at you, but it certainly brings serviceable graphics to the table.

The sound and music in this game are pretty darn good. The soldiers you talk to and the sounds of war are pretty spot on from my perspective. Yes, the soldiers to swear, but not to the level where it feels overused in my opinion. Right when you start in the base camp you can hear the sounds of the military and the Vietcong fighting each other just outside the relatively weak walls. When you get out to the field you feel as if you are actually in a war. You hear the sounds of grenades go off by you and the whole experience is pretty intense.

When you pick up the other three members of your squad you have a lot of personality behind those men. The voiceovers themselves are well done and they act as if they’re part of the military and don’t overdo their lines. The music in the game is mostly licensed. You have songs by such bands as Jefferson Airplane, the Rolling Stones and Canned Heat.

The control in Conflict: Vietnam is very loose and it is obvious this game is probably better played via the computer version than the Xbox version. You have the usual controls of moving with the left analog stick, turning the camera with the right, firing your weapon with the R trigger, etc. The additions are such things as the command section (L trigger + B) and switching who you control between the medic, heavy gunner, a sniper and a heavy assault person.

Where the game goes wrong in the controls is the camera which is a little too stilted and jittery in movement and the fact that you have autoaim no matter what. I can understand the need for it since the first-person mode for aiming makes it very difficult to even know where the enemy is coming from. In regular third-person mode your soldier will auto aim if you swerve the aiming icon anywhere near an enemy. From my understanding you have manual control in the PC version of this game.

Overall the controls are good, they just aren’t stupendous like many World War II battle games are.

Unlike Shellshock, which ran 13 missions, Conflict: Vietnam has 14 missions, but they are far longer missions. There is a problem with the fact that there are longer missions though: the save system. You are given the opportunity to save twice during a mission. When you save is totally up to your discretion, but in many cases you have no idea how much longer you have to complete the mission which makes this a big guessing game. Honestly they should have allowed you to save anywhere, allowed more saves per mission or have a checkpoint setup ala Halo where it automatically saves the game for you.

After the initial stage you are a squad of 4 people: a medic (who you started off as), a heavy gunner, a sniper and a heavy assault specialist. You can choose to be any of these four and you can command the whole team via simple commands by pressing the L trigger and another button which is the command. In most cases the team runs well via the AI and the smartest thing you can do is lay prone when you are under heavy fire. It is the best cover you have available since the environment itself does not help you much. The negative part of being prone is that you move a lot slower and it can be a little tougher to get your whole team into upright position in order to move quickly to the next area.

The storyline and camaraderie between the squad is takes shape via the cutscenes between every mission. You will also find that one soldier is certainly a better fit in a situation than another soldier and it is nice they give you the liberty of changing who you control in order to get the job done.

This game isn’t going to win any awards and doesn’t even begin to stand up to the greatness of the Medal of Honor series or the many other top-notch World War II games out there. However it does give you a good run through and is certainly more enjoyable to play than Shellshock.

This is another game that once you go through the game you’ll be done with it. You do have multiplayer options in this game, although it is only split-screen and I really didn’t get a chance to play it. Obviously, much like other war games, this game just screams for Xbox Live support. I can understand why it isn’t there though because this is not an FPS set in a war, it’s a third-person action game set in a war. My question is when are they going to come out with a nice FPS Vietnam game?

Conflict: Vietnam isn’t a horrendous game, but it certainly isn’t going to set the world on fire either. There are far better war games out there than this, although none of them are set in the Vietnam era. Instead you are stuck with World War II battles, but maybe the world isn’t quite ready for a Vietnam simulation…who knows. This is a good rental if you’re in the market for a Vietnam set game, but I wouldn’t recommend buying it when there are far better choices out there for your $40.