Men of War: Vietnam (PC)

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

The Men of War series has been a boon for fans of tactical combat, with missions that value strategy over brute force. In fact, brute force rarely ever works, so you need to think ahead if you want your squads to survive. This is an expansion release, but it functions as a stand alone experience, so even those without previous installments can jump in. In Men of War: Vietnam, you’re in control of a small squad of soldiers tasked with various objectives. The first half of the game involves a team of North Vietnamese and Russian forces en route to Cambodia, while the second half puts you in charge of a unit of American soldiers. Let me be up front about one thing, this game is brutal in terms of difficulty. I will say it rarely feels cheap, but the fact that you’re asked to engage in stealth when the game’s mechanics aren’t geared for that can lead to frustration. But if you plan around that, make careful decisions, and have a little luck, you can persevere.

As far as the game’s harsh challenges, I am always pleased to find a game that has faith in the players, so doesn’t hold their hand through the battles. You’ll need to learn as you progress and be mindful of what tactics are effective. In a few missions I found that I was able to execute the stealth approach quite well, but then when I revisited the same level with the same techniques, I was spotted and an alert was sounded. So there are some inconsistent moments in regards to stealth, but otherwise the mechanics work like a charm once you know how to put them to use. But even once you’ve gotten a handle on things, prepare to fail often and learn from your mistakes. The game offers a robust interface that can be overwhelming at first, but it is worth investing some time to pick up all the details and that will pay off on the battlefield. So don’t be scared off by the depth of tactics and need for critical strategy, as this game is very rewarding to progress in.

While you’ll only find ten missions in this campaign, each one is fully realized and offers a wealth of options. You’ll want to go back and replay missions multiple times, to discover more efficient or more fun paths to completion. But to me, the best element is that you can experience all ten missions alone or in co-op sessions. So if you’re stuck, perhaps bringing in a friend (or three) will tip the tide of battle in your favor. This can help offset the challenge somewhat, as you command a smaller squad and be more precise with multi-front approaches. I mean, it is always more fun to play games with your friends, so having the option here adds a lot of value to this release. So if you enjoy tactical combat games with an emphasis on pinpoint strategies, give Men of War: Vietnam a shot. Oh and don’t feel bad if you find yourself playing on easy, we all understand.

Video: How does it look?

This game looks beautiful, but in order to witness the full scope you’ll need a pretty powerful machine. But even with middle of the road settings, the visuals really shine. The attention to detail is remarkable, especially in regard to the vehicles, soldiers, and weapons. This level of fine detail is beyond impressive and adds a deep realism that few could match. The locale of Vietnam looks just it should, so the atmosphere is all in place as well. This is simply a visually dynamic game that shows a level of detail that is rare, to say the least.

Audio: How does it sound?

I found the sound design to effective and unintrusive. The music flows with the in-game events, which helps set the mood and keep you engrossed in the experience. The various sound effects are also well handled, but again they kind of blend in and so you might not take notice. This is a compliment however, as the sound effects add so much to the atmosphere, you’ll be focused on the game world, not the actual things you hear. The voice work is passable, but not the audio’s highlight. Across the board however, the sound design is rock solid and well executed.

Supplements: What are the extras?


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