Men of War: Vietnam preview

Tim Stone

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Mikhail Morozov packed more excitement into his final five minutes than most men fit into a lifetime. Just before he was grenaded to death, he snuck past sentries, placed a Claymore mine, stole a hat, shot down a Huey with a tripod MG, and clubbed a man to death with a chicken.

Men of War: Vietnam is looking clucking excellent. The preview code might only contain four missions, but they've kept me royally entertained for the best part of a week. All the things that made MoW such a singular and stirring strategy are back, along with new equipment and challenges that only the Vietnam War could provide.

Ear collecting isn\'t permitted.

Remember how big and tough the scenarios were in the original title? Well, 1C don't appear to have retreated an inch. Before the events leading to Morozov's demise, he and three comrades had survived a convoy ambush, assaulted an observation post, pillaged an arms cache and stormed a bridge. After a quickloaded resurrection, the Russian advisor swum a river, liberated a gunboat, and fragged 27 men while searching for a can of petrol.

The fantastic thing about giant scenarios like this is that you can go back, replay them using different tactics and have just as much fun. Your men are as happy to sneak and stab their way into an enemy base as march in through the front gates cradling warm LMGs and grenade launchers. Prowling helo gunships and emplaced enemies mean brazen isn't always best, but the Rambo option is usually there, beckoning to you from a side-street like a Saigon strumpet.

Fedor\'s parrot-shooting skills were legendary.

There was always a risk Vietnam would end up feeling like a half-hearted mod. Whack in a few palm trees, the odd rattan hut and M-16, and bingo, you've got a new game. The good news is the setting and scenarios feel anything but flimsy. Following your men as they trudge across paddy fields and down jungle trails, you can almost smell the dripping vegetation and verdant earth. Pre-contact tension is ratcheted way-up by the murmur of insects, the cries of birds, and the marrowchilling growls of God-knows-what. By the time you lose your first man to a punji trap, or seize your first French bunker, the Vietnam War is already coursing through your veins like mosquito saliva.

If the scenarios I've seen are any guide, mission monotony shouldn't be an issue. Full-on napalm-laced assaults sit side-by-side with gunboat duels and nervewracking nocturnal commando raids. The only constants are the intoxicating tactical freedom, the atmosphere and the spectacular unscripted destruction.

Cover is often the difference between life and death.

If you're looking for a strategy game that lets you choreograph Platoon-style mayhem, torch hectares of stunning jungle, and kill communists with poultry, you're in for a treat.

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