Monday, April 14, 2008

Men of Valor

It was a Sunday and it was Tet and it was raining.

Last Sunday I was hyped up to play the last eight hours or so of my leased equipment in War Rock Philippines.

Unfortunately, it rained like it was June.

Imagine my chagrin when I first laid anti-personnel mines and immediately noticed it took about three seconds for the animation to show up on screen! Sighing, I rounded a corner, saw a fellow engineer and filled his chest with 5.56s. Problem is, he was still up --- and then 5 --- FIVE!!! --- seconds later, his death registered on the screen as text. The lag was so great I never did see his body crumple to the ground as I was running away before I learned of his death.

And then things got ugly for me. I kept dying. First-person shooter hell I tell you. Doomed.

"@#%$ wifi!"I cursed. I exited from the game, dug up one of my old games and inserted its CD in my PC.

Men of Valor is a game set in the Vietnam War. As with any other first-person shooter PC game, it does have its pros and cons. To summarize:


  • This game offers REALLY intense gameplay! Uphill combat, fighting from foxholes, and river ambushes offer nearly unparalleled firefights.
  • Combat chatter. I know it has the phrase emblazoned all over its box but the gimmick really immerses you in the game. Viet Cong soldiers also sound like Viet Cong soldiers (even though I do not know what they mean haha!)
  • Jungle fighting!
  • Varied gameplay --- gun down Charlie from choppers, crawl in tunnels, man emplacements, and fight in foxholes.
  • Good effects. Concussion blur, fire, explosions, debris --- the game can run all these decently.
  • Squad-based combat. You'll rarely fight alone.
  • Old weapons! If you like realistic, decades-old rifles, you'll dig this.

  • Some combat chatter are reused time and again.
  • Some audio effects are not so convincing. The ingame M16 doesn't have the same sound as the real M16 I fired years back.
  • In long-range firefights, I noticed some VC reinforcements make a beeline for locations where other Charlies that preceded them got shot down. (They WILL engage and gun you down if you get in the way however.)
  • This is the most annoying --- you have to hear "Dear Mr. and Mrs. Shepard" everytime you die. You have to push ALT to skip the letter and the succeeding screen to go back to the game each time you die. Either I missed it, or there is no mention of how to do quick loads in the instruction manual. Major bummer.
  • Relatively speaking, the game is heavy on the PC resources; I can run Doom 3 with higher settings than this one. I suppose it must be the sheer amount of vegetation.
  • Team AI --- you'll rarely fight alone that's true, but man, the "options" in Gradius fire way faster than these guys. They don't get stuck but they're slow on the trigger and their detection's a bit shabby. Nothing serious though but annoying in protracted firefights nevertheless.
  • Old weapons! If you don't like realistic, decades-old rifles, you'll dig a grave for this.

Well, what do you know?! It's alive! I went online for a bit and found no less than six players duking it out! I quickly quit though; my connection was killing me in War Rock to begin with. (I killed two but I don't know what's with that "34" --- even if there's no respawn invincibility, getting killed 34 times in one minute nineteen seconds is well nigh impossible in a medium-sized map with nooks and crannies.)

Quiet night. Too quiet.

This swamp's tranquility is shattered by mortar rounds. I find it odd my weapon didn't blur. Programmer oversight?

Defending a hill from a Viet Cong attack. This reminds me about that movie about Firebase Gloria.

The water effects are none too shabby. The game is not as optimized as I would have liked it though; I had to lower several eye candies before this game could run decently for me.

Start of the Tet offensive. Here US marines scramble to battle stations as a full-fledged NVA assault begins. Fun.

City fighting the morning after the Tet offensive.