Men of Valor Profile Preview #1 - The Characters of Men of Valor
Take an inside look at the soldiers of 2015's upcoming Vietnam-era shooter for the Xbox and the PC.
While first-person shooters may have started off as simplistic action games where you ran through corridors and blasted everything in sight, from a first-person perspective, things are a bit different now. For instance, many recent games have taken the perspective of a gritty war story, placing you in the role of a brave soldier tasked with accomplishing important objectives to help the war effort. Developer 2015 created one of the most memorable war-themed shooters in recent years, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, and it is now hard at work on its next game, Men of Valor. The new game, which is in development for both the Xbox and the PC, will take place during the Vietnam War, and it won't pull any punches. Men of Valor will be fast-paced, gritty, and it will have plenty of explicit language. This first profile preview will introduce you to the ragtag band of misfits who have been drafted into the war, as well as the allies and enemies you'll meet.
Shepard is a new recruit, and he will be the character you play in the game. Shepard hails from the small town of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and as the son of a WWII veteran, he seeks to better himself and his country by enlisting in the US Marine Corps fresh out of high school (his kid brother is drafted into the war shortly thereafter). As Shepard, you'll go on a tour of duty in Vietnam with six other US soldiers who each have very different abilities and personalities from one another.
Harlan "Dinky" Welles
The 20-year-old Welles stands at only 5'4", but as a tunnel rat, his tenacity more than makes up for his stature. Welles began his career early in his hometown of Fort Smith, Arkansas, where as a child he used his small stature to his advantage, exploring underground tunnels near Devil's Den that other kids simply couldn't reach. Welles carries relatively light gear: a .38 revolver, a flashlight, and wire cutters. He'll lead Shepard through the tunnels of Cu Chi, teaching him to disable traps as well as a few tricks on surviving the tunnels of Vietnam. Like his fellows, Welles has added an inscription to his gear to quickly distinguish himself from his teammates. The back of Welles' flak jacket reads, "Non gratum anus rodentum"-- Latin scholars should be able to figure that one out.
Michael "Zook" Trazcyk
Lt. Trazcyk rose through the ranks of the USMC quickly, thanks to his skillful ability to gather battlefield intelligence as well as for the way he looks after each of his men (despite his gruff exterior). Trazcyk decided to take the slightly more glamorous profession of soldiering over being a coal miner in his hometown of Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania. You'll know him immediately when you see his black-rimmed glasses or the pack of cigarettes strapped to his helmet, or if nothing else, the logo of his favorite American football team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, emblazoned on his gear.
William "Greaser" Gregory
The extremely young Gregory is the son of the first black sheriff in the state of Alabama. His father's status helped protect him from the ugly specter of racism in his hometown of Jasper. Fortunately for the young soldier, his father also taught him to be an exceptionally good shot with a rifle on numerous childhood hunting excursions. Gregory's skill has transferred well to the USMC's standard-issue M-16 assault rifle. You'll know him by the simple inscription of "Greaser" on his gear.
Dan "Hoss" Schoenauer
Machine gunner Dan Schoenauer hails from the quiet town of Fort Dodge, Iowa. The tall, heavyset young soldier is only 18, but he makes for an impressive figure on the battlefield. The soft-spoken soldier will hardly ever lose his temper (unless one of his teammates is slacking off), and rather than scream angry curses under heavy fire, you may see Schoenauer quietly reciting a Bible scripture instead. In fact, you'll know Schoenauer from the verse, "He who is not with me is against me, Matthew 2:30," inscribed on his gear.
Jesus "Zeus" Guenera
Air cavalry, Huey pilot
The 24-year-old Los Angeles native pilots a Huey helicopter as part of the war effort, and he will provide valuable support and pickups to Shepard and his crew over the course of the game. Despite his willingness to put his life on the line, Jesus can't get anyone other than himself to call him "Zeus," his preferred nickname. That didn't stop him from painting a crude picture of the Greek god on the front of his chopper.
Lawrence "Smooth" Stiles
Rifleman / M-79 "blooper gun" grenade launcher
The extremely young Stiles is just 17 years old, but he's wise beyond his years. He had to be in order to survive the streets of Detroit. This could be why he isn't completely willing to trust some of his white teammates at first (considering that some of these teammates were born and raised into intolerance). Fortunately, Stiles knows that he and the rest of the team have to keep it together if they all want to get out alive. He bears the nonchalant inscription on his gear, "tho I walk through the valley of death, I shall fear no evil, cause I'm the meanest mother in the valley."
The Soldiers of Men of Valor
In addition to the game's main characters, you'll also encounter a host of other soldiers, friendly and otherwise. You'll be able to play as a specific character class in the game's multiplayer modes.
The Army of the Republic of Vietnam fought alongside American troops during the war. ARVN troops had better equipment and better training than Viet Cong rebels, and they often dealt with rebels ruthlessly. In the single-player game, you'll receive support from the ARVN in the Iron Triangle and in Hue during the Tet offensive. In multiplayer, ARVN rangers can call in artillery strikes.
US Special Forces not only gathered intelligence on the battlefield, but the elite fighters known as "Green Berets" also helped train Montagnards and other ethnic minorities that opposed communist rule of South Vietnam. In multiplayer mode, Green Berets can use claymore mines.
Green Beret officer
Special Forces officers often focused on gathering military intelligence during the war. For instance, they were involved in overseeing covert operations along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Medics in the Vietnam War were trained to provide immediate medical attention to any casualties, and they helped save many lives. In multiplayer play, medic corpsmen can tend to wounded teammates.
The US Marine Corps was vital for the US effort in the Vietnam War. The Marines are well-equipped and highly disciplined, and they will prove vital in such military conflicts as the battle at Da Nang airbase, the battle at Khe Sanh, and the Tet Offensive at Hue.
USMC machine gunner
Heavy gunners provide a base of fire for their allies. In Vietnam, nothing could lay down covering fire quite like the M-60 machine gun.
USMC radio operator
Marine Corps radio operators serve a crucial role on the battlefield. Not only do they call in air strikes, but they also relay locations for ground-based artillery strikes. They call for evacuation when soldiers in their companies are wounded.
NVA radio operator
The North Vietnamese Army had its own battlefield operations that involved coordination with Viet Cong guerillas. NVA radio operators provided crucial support in coordinating the transport of soldiers and supplies along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
The NVA also employed sapper troops on the battlefield. These soldiers specialized in infiltrating enemy positions and blowing them up. In multiplayer mode, sappers will be able to use demolition charges.
Both male and female villagers were impressed into service by the Viet Cong, who also disguised themselves as villagers to get the drop on American forces. You'll need to pay close attention to make sure you don't take down any "friendlies."
Viet Cong tunnel rat
The Viet Cong had networks of underground tunnels for ferrying supplies and even to serve as actual bases. In multiplayer play, tunnel rats can disarm traps and place satchel charges.
Viet Cong guerrilla
One of the primary purposes of the Viet Cong was to encourage rebellion in South Vietnam. These forces were able to control villages in secret, and though they lacked the firepower and training of US troops, they were highly skilled at guerilla tactics. In multiplayer play, guerillas can use booby traps.
This brings our first profile preview on the characters of Men of Valor to a close. Stay tuned to GameSpot for future updates on this promising action game. Men of Valor is scheduled for release later this year.
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