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Posted on Nov 21, 2004 in Electronic Games

Men of Valor – Game Review (PC)

Armchair General

GRAPHICS

To be honest, I found the graphics to be something of a curate’s egg – good in parts.

Having made sure that I had the most up to date drivers for my graphics card, AND having patched the game up to version 1.2, I was somewhat disappointed to observe a number of graphical "glitches" in some of the textures that were being displayed from time to time. Occasionally, bits of vegetation, armour plate or skin would become opaque or white in colour, which was rather distracting at times. I am hoping that future patches will correct this problem.

In addition, I found the direct sources of lighting to be crude and obvious. During a night mission, shafts of light from spotlights arrayed on a bridge were too rigidly defined for my liking, with no diffusion. It just didn’t look right, and I would have expected a lot more from a game since the likes of Far Cry and Doom 3.

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The water effects are quite nice to look at, but I would be lying if I said I hadn’t seen better. Yes, the water looks nice and shiny and reflective, and ripples quite convincingly, but it’s been done so much better in older FPS games and was a little bit of a letdown for this reviewer.

Water

Tailing the squad through a streambed

Weapon models appear to be accurate with adequate loading and firing effects. Although not in Call of Duty league, the image of bullets from my M14 thudding into a wooden shack stuck in my mind as being pretty convincing.

One very impressive effect occurs when being subjected to artillery or mortar fire. The screen not only shakes to demonstrate the concussion of the explosions around you, but your vision also becomes blurred and your movements slow down. It’s an excellent representation of the terror of being caught up amongst detonating high explosive.

There’s a toggle option to turn off any blood or gore effects. If you leave the blood option switched on, there’s always a convincing spray of claret whenever you hit an opponent. Unlike some games though, there are no pools of blood on the floor when someone hits the floor, so it’s not gratuitous in any way, and if you think it is, you can turn it off.

The 3d modelling of your squadmates and enemy soldiers is adequate and gave me no particular cause for complaint, but at the same time, they are nothing special.

Where the graphics score major points however is with the general environment. Vegetation is displayed in abundance and always looks convincing (glitches aside). During your tour of duty you will fight through dense jungle, grassy villages, plantations, paddy fields and swamps. You will even discover burned-out crash sites with charred and shattered treetrunks stretching up into the sky, dense mud swilling around your feet as you battle your way through the rain to reach your objective. It all appears totally authentic.

It’s not just the vegetation either – local fauna is well represented with birds and insects flying around you all the time. During the night, Fireflies will congregate around vehicle headlamps and as you progress through any jungle mission, an occasional flight of birds will startle you as they fly out from under a tree. In yet another brilliant way of increasing the interactivity within the game, you should be very wary if this happens – it usually means that enemy soldiers are approaching your position. I soon developed the reflex action of dropping to the ground the instant I saw any birds leaving the area in a hurry – it either meant an imminent ambush or an artillery strike, either way, it wasn’t good news.

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