New to the Conflict series, the skill advancement system in Conflict: Vietnam allows players to decide in which of nine fields their squad members will specialize, essentially giving the player more control over gameplay as they progress through the story. It is possible to build up a stealth kill team consisting entirely of snipers, a squad of heavy weapon experts that charge into every battle, or whatever mix of soldiers best fits a particular style of play.
After each mission is completed, squad members are awarded skill points for completing primary and bonus objectives, taking down enemy soldiers and vehicles, fire accuracy, and stealth kills. Points are deducted for killing civilians and friendly soldiers. These points are split amongst the four squad mates, and then spent to raise their skills in Pistol, Assault Rifle, Sniper Rifle, Machine Gun, Grenade, Shotgun, Medic, Rocket Launcher, and Booby Traps. The higher the skill, the more points it costs to raise.
Below is an overview of the nine skills, and what affect raising them has in terms of gameplay.
Though never used as a primary weapon, it's always handy to have at least moderate sidearm skill when ammo for your main weapon is running low. Increasing a character's skill in pistol gives them a steadier hand at quick targeting and more accurate aim, eventually allowing them to hit targets that would otherwise be too far away to even attempt taking a shot at.
The most commonly used, and arguably the best, weapon to have on the field, the assault rifle skill covers arms such as the AK-47 and M16A1. The higher a character's assault rifle skill, the better their accuracy. Having this skill maxed out makes the burst option available on most assault rifles deadly effective.
Corporal Bruce Lesh begins as your squad's main sniper, but any member can become equally proficient with enough skill points. The tactical advantage of being able to take down enemies from a distance is undeniable, and an effective sniper is an intimidating opponent. Increasing sniper rifle skill steadies your character's hand when going into sniper mode, improving accuracy and allowing shots to be taken quicker.
This skill covers heavier, fully automatic armaments such as the M60 LMG and M3A1 "Grease Gun". Though they can spill out an oppressive amount of bullets, their high fire rate comes at the cost of massive recoil and inaccuracy for those lacking the ability to keep them under control. Raising machine gun skill will increase a character's ability to stay on target while unloading an entire clip.
Useful for flushing out hidden enemies and getting into places where bullets can't, it is wise to have every member of your squad at least somewhat skilled at using grenades. Higher grenade skill gives better throwing distance, and makes soldiers better at knowing when to use a grenade when they're not under player control.
Perhaps the most underrated weapon on the battlefield due to its short range and slow reload time, the main advantage of the shotgun is that its spreading shot rarely misses, and at close range one shell is all it takes to down an enemy. An increased shotgun skill lessens the weapon's downfalls by both increasing range and improving the character's reload rate.
Private Harold Kahler is officially your squad's medic, but every member of your team should have at least passing knowledge in this field if you hope to make it out of the jungle alive. The medic skill decreases the time it takes to heal another character, and increases the amount of health they receive.
Necessary for destroying tanks, but also useful for dispatching gun emplacements and machine gun nests, rocket launchers can quickly defuse a difficult situation. Considering that a misplaced shot can be as deadly for your squad as the enemy, the increased accuracy that comes with an improved rocket launcher skill is vitally important.
The VC were notorious for the ingenuity and deadliness of their traps. Increasing this skill makes characters faster and more proficient at disarming traps. It also gives them a better eye for spotting well concealed trip wires and mines, so they're more likely to shout a warning when you're running unknowingly into danger. Since failure to disarm a trap can result in setting it off instead, at least one character in your squad should be highly proficient in this skill.
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