My Little Pony’s “The Runaway Rainbow” players to the left please, its time for Men of War: Vietnam. A true RTS game that shines through for those willing not to give up with rage. We had a play through 1C’s latest game and here’s what we thought.
MS Windows 7 64-bit SP1
Intel Core i7 930 @ 2.80GHz
6.00 GB Triple-Channel DDR3 @ 723MHz (8-8-8-24)
Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd. X58A-UD3R
3 X Samsung SyncMaster (6020×1200@60Hz)
2 X AMD Radeon HD 6950 CrossFire Enabled
Logitech G35 Headset
Men of War Series of games is available from Amazon, Direct2Drive, Gamersgate, Green Man Gaming and all other good online and retail stores.
For too long in the game world, there has really only been one country that is playable, the Americans. So when 1C’s Men of War: Vietnam was added to the list of games showing you war from the other side, its a welcome change from the norm. Men of War: Vietnam is the newest in the series which has again managed to deliver a fun game that involves strategy, patience and skill. While I do love large scale RTS games with resources to gather and bases to turtle in, this game has taught me to enjoy having a small squad and to try my damn hardest ensuring Pham, my Vietnamese buddy stays alive long enough to assist his comrades.
Those familiar with the series will have no trouble getting right into the game. MoW:Vietnam plays with similar controls to the previous games, albeit with its new jungle surroundings, weapons and units including the M-16, T-54, M-113, AK-47, RPG-2 to name a few. Being similar in gameplay to previous MoW games is by no means a bad thing, as fans of the series will appreciate what made the other games in the series great, continues in style with Vietnam.
Missions and scenery are varied enough to keep you looking forward to the next chapter of the story. You get to play as both the Vietnamese\Russians first time round then the Americans second time round, with 5 missions as each. At the time of writing a new patch has just been released enabling you to play as the Americans from the word get go, if you so desire. In the first mission you your team consists of a couple Russian soldiers who are in Vietnam to train the Vietcong. From the word get go you are taught that cover in the jungle is your friend. If you don’t hurry up and use it, US helicopters come and blast you away quick smart. You are also quickly taught that the game has no sympathy for you, NONE. Even on easy, you cant go through and blast your way to the end. Tactics and strategy throughout the whole game matter, which to be honest is what kept me coming back for more.
Graphically Men of War:Vietnam goes both ways. The jungle and lighting looks great, adding to the atmosphere, but the shadows, even on the best settings were a little jagged. Saying that though, most of the time I wasn’t thinking about the whether the shadows were jagged, I was asking myself “how the hell am I going to get that sniper on the hill, or pass that next river without losing half my soldiers”. Overall the game does a good job of recreating the jungle scenery of Vietnam, in fact a little too good at times. As the grenades are going off and bullets flying around your men, it can get frustrating trying to find the enemy and your soldiers through the trees and foliage. The game gives you blue outlines of your soldiers when you click off of them and red outlines of enemy once they are spotted. If they actually enabled a third color so that once you select a soldier it highlights them as say purple, a small change like that could greatly improve gameplay, without taking anything away from the games challenges.
They have some nice little graphical touches which I really liked too. As your sniper takes aim, a red cross-hair develops on the target letting you know that there is a head shot inc, when your aim is that little bit off, you see the helmet fly off the enemy as the enemy runs to cover. The map design is excellent as there is always multiple ways to attack the enemy and the game forces you to think about flanking positions rather than just running in all guns blazing. Its really what differentiates it from other RTS games out there, very quickly it lets you know that you need to think about your plan of attack or you will pay for your errors. As a result, when you finally make it through, you get that great sense of achievement.
The soundtrack was well chosen with the ques letting you know when a can of whoop ass is about to be opened up on you. The sound acting? I loved it, I am not sure if they intentionally keep it so B grade or not, but if they do they should continue with it. As we were playing co-op we were cracking up laughing waiting for the next line in anticipation. It was so bad it was great. I was using the Logitech G35 headset and set the game to 7.1 with no problems at all.
Like most RTS games today, the controls take a bit of getting used to. If you are new to the game it can definitely take a a little while to get your head around the keys and unfortunately 1C does not do much to help you there. This is probably one of the most unfortunate things going for the game. If you are a new player to the series, it has quite the hefty learning curve that could turn you off, I highly recommend pushing through the deaths as there is a great game waiting for you, but unfortunately the lack of guidance makes it tough for the newcomer. Core parts of the game such as completing the objective can be struggle as you look for a radio all over the map, only to discover that you were never going to find it, figuring out how you are meant to refuel a boat without any on screen hints. Even just finishing the objective can get frustrating at times. If they added some extra tips to the game through future patches, a lot of new comers would greatly benefit and 1C can guarantee themselves a bunch of new fans to the Men of War series.
The game has broken away form the previous games in the multiplayer department. Previously you had the co-op and multiplayer maps bundled in with the game. This time round however Co-Op is included in the game but an additional “Special Edition” purchase is needed to enable 3 additional vs multiplayer maps and 5 additional mission maps. On the one hand I can understand fans being annoyed with this as I’m usually the first to shout out loud about price gouging. On the other hand the game is well below the price of many other titles on the market, so even with the additional $5 for the Special Edition, its still a well priced game for the decent amount hours you can get out of it. I mentioned in a previous article that I would prefer publishers come out with a lower price point and allow me to purchase additional content that I want, this is pretty much what has happened so personally I don’t have a problem with the pricing.
To play co-op I logged in with my Gamespy account and joined up with my buddy. Initially he tried to host a game but due to NAT issues I couldn’t join, we switched it up with me hosting the game and there were no problems at all. Where I will definitely commend 1C is their netcode. My buddy was in the UK and I was in Australia, I have a shoddy net connection at the best of times so we were averaging around 300-400 ping. Even with the ping that high the game played flawlessly, great work on that 1C. 1C has also released a new patch which fixes some multiplayer sync issues, but in all our testing we never experienced this problem anyway.
The Co-Op is good fun, as raging on your own is one thing, but raging together is even better. The mission plays out as it does in the single player version but splits your soldiers between you and your co-op buddy, so when you start off, you get a couple of soldiers each, you plan your tactics and head out to die together. Not if but when one of you dies, you have the chance to head over to them and use your medic kit to get them up and going again. If before you get there they die off completely and you have a morphine pack on you, you can revive them back to life. If you don’t have that either then you can click the button on the top right and transfer one of your soldiers to your co-op buddy. Its definitely good fun but I think the Special Edition multiplayer is where you will get the most replay value as each fight will be different playing against a human.
Eyefinity and Other Tests
I can confirm that Alt-Tab works fine which is always good and Eyefinity resolutions worked straight out the box without an issue. Saying that though, playing the game with Eyefinity on was a little annoying as I had to sweep the mouse across 3 monitors to get from one end of the HUD to the other. The game unfortunately has not been optimised for Eyefinity. While 1C has never advertised Men of War: Vietnam as Eyefinity compatible it would be great to see it implemented in a future patch. When I spoke to 1C about it they mentioned that it is something that they could look at in the future.
The game is great and scores full marks for the halalability factor. There was nothing in the game that I came across that should stop a parent playing this with their kids or a parent purchasing this game for their kids. While it is a war game, there is nothing in the game that I could see that would stop me purchasing this for a younger audience. The game focuses on strategy and skill, not blood and gore.
As with most games there were sections that I thoroughly enjoyed and a few that could have been better, saying that though, I don’t believe anything is game breaking enough to detract from the fact that its a true RTS gamers game that you can play and enjoy immensely. If you are patient and want something that involves strategy, flanking, tactics and skill, Men of War: Vietnam will reward you with a great experience. Trust me, the game wont hold your hand or make things so easy for you that you wish you were challenged. It wants you to use strategy and to take your time doing it, even the most hardcore of you will be raging at times so you will need to use all of the above or it will make you suffer for it, then rub salt in your wounds as it laughs at you. Play the game as it should be played and it will reward you with a lot of fun and a sense of accomplishment when you finally do pass the level and kill that lone gunner that took out Pham.
If on the other hand you like pony’s on rainbows or you are looking for that game to beat on hard in 3 hours so you can get some achievements, then its best you keep walking, because Men of War: Vietnam is like your new cell mate in prison. He will beat you senseless a nd leave you bruised at times, but just remember he does it because he loves you
Muslim Gamer Score: 8.5 / 10
The game is currently available through Steam, Yuplay, Green Man Gaming, Gamersgate, Amazon and Getgames.
Edit: As there seem to be a few search queries in regars to finding the radio in Men of War:Vietnam I thought I would add a quick note here for the solution. In the mission where you meet with your informer at the start, press “o” to bring the mission objectives up and just select the next objective after the radio one and keep going. I found that even if I failed that objective, later in the game it brings up a new mission to this time “use the radio”. The red arrow will point you to the village this time, go there and its in a barrel looking thing. Click that and keep going If this doesnt work let me know so i can make it clearer if it does feel free to say thanks.
System requirements for Men of War: Vietnam:
Operating System: Windows XP(SP1), Windows Vista or Windows 7
Processor: P4 2.6GHz (Athlon 3000+)
Video card: GeForce 6600 (Radeon 1950) 128Mb
Sound card: DirectX compatible sound card
Hard disk: 3 GB free hard disk space
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