Guest Author - James Shea
A spinoff of the WW2 tactics game "Men of War", "Men of War: Vietnam" naturally takes the gameplay established in MoW and brings it to the jungles of the Vietnam War.
The first thing noticeable about MoW:V is how few features it has compared to the original game. There are two game modes: cooperative online multiplayer and a single-player campaign (and only the Viet-Cong campaign is unlocked at the start, at that). Without even getting into the specifics of gameplay, the fact that there's so little content bodes ill for the game as a whole.
The game uses Men of War's interface, which is a love-it-or-hate-it proposition to say the least. MoW is notable for being both highly detailed and highly confusing, with a bunch of options that the player has to deal with in real time. The difficulty that players might have with its gameplay is magnified by the fact that MoW:V naturally takes place in a lot of jungles, where characters and enemies are hard to see. Managing fields of fire, throwing grenades, and telling individual soldiers to kneel or go prone is bad enough when you CAN see what's going on, but in MoW:V it's just awful.
Navigating the gameplay in this game is an exercise in frustration, especially when the player is given less troops than the enemy to encourage sneaking and tactics. The foliage makes it hard to see where your troops are, but the AI certainly doesn't have that problem. It's possible to tell troops to take cover, but the cover system isn't quite designed for, say, sitting behind objects and shooting over them or something along those lines. It's poorly designed and poorly implemented; in MoW it was kind of frustrating, but in Vietnam it's intolerable.
The multiplayer co-op is a bit better than the campaigns, but isn't enough to be worth it. Because it's players versus AI, the AI issues of being able to see everything are still in play and still frustrating. The few additions to the game like helicopters don't really add enough to make up for the huge amount of content and gameplay that were lost. The game overall seems pretty pointless; they don't do enough with the Vietnam setting to make it worth it, and the gameplay still seems locked in the WW2 mindset. Overall, even fans of MoW will want to stay away. 3/10.
Buy Men of War: Vietnam from Amazon.com