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Posted on Nov 21, 2004 in Electronic Games

Men of Valor – Game Review (PC)

Armchair General

SOUND

For the most part, the sound in the game is a triumph. Rifles and machine guns make very satisfying noises as you loose off a few rounds, and the sound of bullets thudding into your enemies or the surrounding environment gave me no cause for complaint. I did get a little disorientated at one stage whilst I was stood next to one of my squadmates as he was firing a burst from an M60 heavy machine gun. I could see the empty shell casings flying from his weapon, but the sound that was coming from his gun, just a few feet away from my head, didn’t seem to be loud enough and I had a problem working out if the sound was supposed to be him firing or not. Then again, having said this, if it had been a real-world situation, my character would have been instantly deafened, so I guess it’s a trade-off between realism and playability.

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Stereo effects are masterful. In the very first mission, as you stroll around your base camp, Jet fighters occasionally scream overhead – instinctively you look up, you just can’t help it, they sound so loud and so close, but I only caught a glimpse of one once, it was flying over so fast. The sound of armoured vehicles and choppers whirling overhead sounded pretty real to me, so I have no complaints here.

The ambient noise in the game is terrific. If you get a chance during the fighting to just stop and listen, you can hear birds chattering in the trees, the distant sound of helicopters cruising over the jungle, frogs croaking in the rivers and creeks and insects buzzing around near you. This can be particularly alarming if you are wearing headphones, because occasionally it sounds as if one of those insects is right there flapping away next to your ear. More than once, in my state of hyper-alertness, expecting an imminent ambush, it made me jump. Actually, I might owe Uncle Sam a few cents for the cost of the rifle rounds I expended when this happened.

If you are caught in the jungle during a storm, the constant pitter-patter of raindrops on leaves is almost soothing, until thunder rumbles menacingly overhead. It’s easy to get caught up in the feel of the place just by listening to what’s going on around you.

I found the music to be something of a distraction, but this is a common complaint from me when I play anything, so take this with a pinch of salt. Other players might not have a problem with it. Personally, I found that it took something away from my involvement in the game, it made me aware that I was suddenly in a movie and not fighting for my life in East Asia after all, so in the end, I turned it off. I like to be totally engrossed in what I’m doing!

For many players however, one of the most important things to know concerns the in-game speech. Younger players and/or those who are easily offended should be very clear that there is a lot, and I mean a LOT of "cursing" and colloquial, even foul language used by your squadmates and others as your tour of duty progresses. I for one am not in the least bit offended by such talk, and in fact, for this reviewer, it added to the overall sense of "being" in Vietnam. Listening to my squadmates making jokes or calling enemy solders names as they gunned them down merely added to the experience for me, but a lot of people out there might be very offended. One thing that did upset me a little, was that no-one ever said "Fire in the hole!" when I threw a grenade. Having watched so many Vietnam movies, I thought this was odd…(!)

MULTIPLAYER

There are a number of Multiplayer modes and maps to choose from, but the Multiplayer community doesn’t appear to be flourishing massively right now – it may be too early given the recent release date of Men of Valor, or this may be related to the fact that a patch has been required to correct some multiplayer issues. I understand that there are very few servers out there with MOV playing on them, and even fewer players. In addition, having visited a couple of game forums I’m led to believe that players with the UK version of the game are having additional problems to their US counterparts. I was unable to give the Multiplayer option a real spin due to the paucity of my Dial-Up connection (Broadband is needed as a bare minimum) but nevertheless, having checked out the Multiplayer maps independently, they seem to be solidly built.

The various modes for Multiplayer include the standard Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch options, plus a Recover the Documents variation on the usual "capture the flag" game where your team has to recover and hold important documents for long enough so they can be retrieved from the battlefield. There is also a Search and Destroy option whereby teams must recover pieces of mortar equipment before their opponents can do the same thing.

Furthermore, when entering a Multiplayer game, you can select what sort of character you will appear as – this determines the type of weapons available to you.

Multiplayer Selection Screen - US

Selecting your character

Multiplayer Selection Screen - VC

Or you can play as the VC

I am unaware of any serious modifications under development, but no doubt if the game picks up a large enough fanbase, this will happen at some point in the future.

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