Men of Valor Xbox
Developed by 2015
Release Date: Out Now
Price : £39.99
The title 'Men of Valor' may be a new one but anyone who knows their war based FPS games will know that developers 2015 are anything but strangers to the genre. It was, after all, 2015 who were responsible for the superb Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. Men of Valor isn't set in the ever popular World War II period though, instead it's set in the rather less popular, for a variety of moral reasons, Vietnam War. Previous Vietnam War games have tended not to be that great but 2015 have created something worthwhile in Men of Valor although it's fair to say right from the top that it's not in the same league as MoH: Allied Assault.
Men of Valor, like Medal of Honor: Allied Assault and Call of Duty is a linear experience where you'll follow the plot rigidly from start to finish. This is no bad thing though and just as in the aforementioned games you'll have on foot moments and those times when you're in a vehicle such as a riverboat or Huey helicopter. Once you've finished with the single-player game (which is around 12-18 hours long, depending on the difficulty level you play at) you might be interested in the multiplayer options. Impressively the game offers System Link and Xbox Live play. The Xbox Live options include the usual suspects such as deathmatch and capture the flag etc., for up to 12 players. If you don't want to go online though you can play a 2 player co-operative mode and go through the whole game with a friend which is a feature that's always welcome in a console FPS. Overall the multiplayer options are satisfactory for both on and offline play.
The all important AI in the game is fairly good and there are three difficulty levels for you to choose from. At times though it can be difficult to determine where a bullet is being fired from. Even at the beginning of some missions it's tricky because as soon as you assume control of your character you start to take hits and you'll need to find cover immediately. Should you take a hit you'll notice that you have to hold the B button to bandage your wounds to limit the damage. You'll find canteens and other useful items by searching the dead. The controls are pretty much standard stuff for a Xbox FPS and if you've played any other FPS on the Xbox you'll have no problem in feeling comfortable with the control scheme in Men of Valor. If you hold the left trigger though you'll have more accurate control of your crosshair which allows you to pick off rivals with greater accuracy which is a nice touch.
Graphically Men of Valor is a mixed bag. The game manages to capture the dense foliage of the jungle like terrain very well and other terrains in the game have been created in a very believable fashion. The character animations can be a bit ropey at times but this is more noticeable in the cutscenes rather than in the main game itself. The frame rate in the cutscenes (which mostly use the in-game graphics) is also a bit suspect at times but during the actual game play itself the frame rate remained fine.
Unlike Half Life 2, FPS games are usually fairly inadequate for deaf gamers and sadly the same can be said of Men of Valor. Cutscenes are not subtitled and comments you'll receive from your fellow soldiers are also not subtitled. Objectives are shown in text although sometimes what's given in text compared to what's said verbally is a lot less informative. The objectives can be recalled at any time by pressing the back button. Thankfully the tutorial is delivered via text which of course is useful. Loading screens will give famous quotes and these are in text. At the beginning of a mission you might have a letter which is read out and naturally the letter is visible and can be easily read. You'll also get to read the letter to your parents notifying them of your death if you're killed in action. Some objectives require you to follow someone and if you hold down the right thumbstick it will show you the name of each soldier (the text appears in large white letters on the soldiers themselves) which is of course very useful. Overall though it's not completely deaf gamer friendly and it is disappointing although it's not quite as bad as some FPS games out there.
In many ways Men of Valor is a good FPS that will definitely appeal to fans of the genre. Most would have expected something more from 2015 though but there's nothing here to make it a must have game. Rather disappointingly the game is not as deaf gamer friendly as it should be and this also detracts from the experience. Considering everything about the game, it's a good and solid FPS experience that whilst it has elements that could have been better it still manages to keep you interested in, dare I say, a Medal of Honor kind of way. Had the game been more deaf gamer friendly it would have been our Vietnam War game of choice although if you're prepared to put up with the subtitling and captioning omissions you'll still enjoy what the game has to offer.
Game Rating: 7.2/10
The best Vietnam War based game to date but it should have been a lot more deaf gamer friendly.
It's a shame the game isn't as deaf friendly as it could have been. FPS enthusiasts will probably manage to get through the game but it's markedly tougher for deaf gamers.