Men of Valor Xbox Review

May 31, 2010 by  
Filed under Retro Content, Retro Reviews, Xbox

Upon inspecting Men of Valor for the first time, it instantly became apparent to us that the game is quite similar to Medal of Honor (although set during the Vietnam war), which isn’t surprising as the team behind it (2015) were responsible for the critically acclaimed Medal of Honor: Allied Assault on the PC. Unsurprisingly Men of Valor stays true to the period and is set over four major operations of the Vietnam war.

Men of Valor does quite a good job at telling a meaningful story about a serious subject. The material is given some substance as Dean Shepard (our main character) exchanges letters with his family members. This method is successful at making the African American character seem isolated. Cut-scenes also provide us with frequent reminders that the soldiers care about one another and buddy deaths are never easily forgotten. All this said and the loading screens go and spoil it all, by rolling out a huge number of statistics that make lost lives seem trivial and nothing but digits.

The game begins quiet enough as you make your way towards training camp to pick up the ropes of the game. Afterwards a placid game of football soon becomes a frightening turn of events as the Vietnamese suddenly shells your base in an attack of big and pretty explosions. Then it’s off into the jungle as the game starts good and proper. The jungle environments are convincing and put the Japanese jungles of Medal of Honor: Rising Sun to shame, which in comparison look like a low budget movie set made of the cheapest of plastic. Valor’s grassy grounds and trees are believable enough and make for ample cover, but other then this the game is never visually startling but always respectable.

The campaign sees you participating in various missions over a total of 13 levels. The game fortunately retains its pace whether you are destroying major targets or defending a landing zone for a friendly incoming Huey helicopter. Cinematic scripting also assures that there is often a lot going on around you, making things all the more heart pumping and exciting.

Even on the easiest of difficulties Men of Valor is a fairly good challenge, it’s a game that is rather frustrating and demands realism, which is a far cry from tall cybernetic soldiers with recharging energy shields. During a run in with the Vietnamese soldiers you always must resort to the sanctuary of cover and proceed to take precision shots (short bursts are even possible for better accuracy) by employing the helpful Rainbow Six style lean mechanic as in a matter of seconds you can quite easily be diced up by enemy bullets. If you do take some hits, which you will, you can heal your wounds to a certain extent by bandaging yourself, which is a nice idea – whilst finding canteens and medi kits restore lost energy that cannot be recovered by the bandaging method.

AI comrades do accompany you for a large portion of the game, but seldom do they make things easier as they seem rather ineffective at dealing out death and leave most of the opposing forces for you to tend with, which is valued from a gameplay perspective of course. They do add to the war experience with their overall presence though, which is a good thing.

Men of Valor can also be played cooperatively through the campaign with another player, which is a most welcome addition. This is supported by plenty more multiplayer options for both offline as well as online gaming. Offline the game can be played by up to two players, whilst online can handle up to a total of twelve. The game offers varied and enjoyable multiplayer modes, including everything from customary death matches to team-based missions.

Men of Valor is a top quality shooter with big budget like set pieces. This is only derided by the fact that the genre has been done better elsewhere, perhaps Halo has just spoiled us. In spite of this Men of Valor can quite easily coexist as an enjoyable and authentic experience with a touch of humanity. Well worth a look for any shooter fan.

8/10

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