Instead of being set from a bird’s eye perspective, players view the soldiers down on the ground in a more third person role. The squads exact cover positions are selected in a fashion similar to that of Full Spectrum Warrior. There is no base building as expected in strategy games; instead players control the troops as they move through set paths on the skirmishes, encountering enemy forces and planning the most effective strategic approach to each situation. There are several different troops, including infantry and snipers. There are also vehicles such as tanks and helicopters.
The game is a lot more in-depth than other RTS titles in its unit control. The player controls each troops weapons, ammo and stance, and must be aware of each soldier’s health and cover during each battle. This can become quite a challenge when you reach stages with big battles. Trying to allow each troop to get behind cover can become a nightmare, yet without it they are doomed. That said, the battles are intensive and fun to plan and carry out.
There are two fairly long campaigns in the game (one for the US and one for North Vietnam), which each feature five large missions. These skirmishes vary between all-out attack, stealth and defensive missions. The story is not the best in the world, but it’s not what made the game fun. In fact, I barely even paid attention to the generally uninteresting plot.
Men of War does have some fairly intuitive elements. The thick brush, often surrounding paths can be used to hide troops, useful to avoid large enemy patrols or vehicles. Combat is very realistic, and both friendly and enemy troops have very little health and can sponge but a few bullets. The game does not have a tutorial, which is a huge issue. It’s a tough game as it is, even from the first mission, but not being told how to do things only increases the already steep learning curve that will leave players feeling exasperated from the off. On top of this, some of the commands are poorly hotkeyed, most notably the camera positioning.
Men of War does feature multiplayer, albeit a very buggy and frustrating representation. There is severe server issue connecting to games, and players will be lucky joining one in twenty attempts. This has led to an online community that is small and limited, and offers little to the games longevity.
Visually, the game looks quite beautiful. In places, the Vietnamese landscape looks lush, and destructible buildings add a lot of depth to the gameplay. As for the sound, the effects are great. The explosions provide just the “boom” you would expect, and the gunshots are fairly realistic. The awesome soundtrack makes up for the generally poor, sometimes laughable voice acting throughout.
Men of War: Vietnam offers strategy fans with a unique experience set in an unoriginal environment. Believe me when I say the game will be a challenge, even on the early levels. Without knowledge of tactics and previous RTS experience, it is likely players will become irritated with the difficulty of the game. Experienced players should give Men of War: Vietnam a shot though. Its lush locations and destructible environment give the game a distinctive feel that many gamers are looking for. Players of the old PC series ‘Commandos’ will love what 1CC have created.
Very difficult gameplay is not aided by the lack of a tutorial. However, battles are intense and fun.
The world looks lush and destructable buildings add depth.
Poor voice acting, but a great rock-and-roll soundtrack and good war effects.