PC Game of the Month
"Vietcong features a complete single-player campaign, a single-player quick-mission mode that throws you into an enemy-infested area per your specification, and a fully featured multiplayer mode with a built-in server browser for finding open game sessions online. The quick-mission and multiplayer modes let you play as either the Americans or the Vietcong, but in the campaign, you'll assume the role of Sergeant First Class Steve Hawkins, who is transferred to a Special Forces unit based in Nui Pek Camp at the start of the game. Here Hawkins will meet his other squadmates, including Vietnamese point man Le Duy Nhut and loudmouthed machine gunner C.J. Hornster. The events of the campaign are predictable enough in and of themselves, but they may take you by surprise as they come up, and they're the sorts of experiences you'd probably hope to get out of a first-person shooter set during the Vietnam War. Between creeping through the foliage with your squad, hoping to spot any camouflaged VC before they spot you, and lurking all alone through the VC's elaborate tunnel networks, wondering if you'll ever see the light of day again, Vietcong's campaign by and large hits the right notes.
"This is due in no small part to the game's artificial intelligence for both friendly and enemy forces. The AI isn't perfect, and it does occasionally exhibit strange behavior, but when combined with Vietcong's realistic motion-captured animation, the AI makes for some pretty convincing action more often than not. You'll see your squadmates gesturing to each other when the coast is clear, vaulting over or crouching under felled trees that are in their way, bolting for cover when under fire, and more. As squad leader, you're free to lead the charge, and your teammates will follow suit. Alternately, you can ask your point man to lead the way."
No PC gamer can complain about a lack of World War II-themed first-person shooters, but the same is not true of games based on the Vietnam War. Though the setting has been something of a taboo in the past, developer Pterodon Team has stepped up to the plate and produced a tactical, story-driven FPS that's reminiscent of period films like Full Metal Jacket and Platoon. In addition to the well-plotted single-player campaign, Vietcong features a fully developed multiplayer mode and a sort of "jungle skirmish" mode that lets you set some parameters and then simply dive into combat. Vietcong is the first in a forthcoming wave of 'Nam-based games, and it's not a bad one to start off with.
Check out our other PC reviews in April
Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc (8.1)
"Rayman 3 is completely worthy of the Rayman name, and is easily one of the most satisfying platforming experiences to come to the PC in a good while."
The Omega Stone (8.0)
"The game was obviously made by people who love the subject matter, and that affection comes across in every element."
"Shadowbane strips away the constant battle between players and the rules and simply lets you go out, meet some people, fight a bunch of monsters, and gain some levels."
Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance (7.8)
"This is such an unusual, intriguing, and shocking action game that despite the rough translation, it still makes for a one-of-a-kind experience on the PC."
Trevor Chan's Restaurant Empire (7.7)
"Despite a few shortcomings in its interface and its presentation, Restaurant Empire provides a deep and enjoyable experience for fans of management simulations."
Tropico 2 (7.4)
"Fans of Tropico may wish that this were a more direct descendant of the original, and those who like the new pirate theme may wish Frog City had built a new game from scratch."
Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb (7.2)
"While Emperor's Tomb's control issues will take you a good hour or so to get comfortable with, the puzzles and combat come together nicely and make for a pretty good action game."
Pro Race Driver (7.1)
"Pro Race Driver puts drivers in the spotlight without sacrificing exciting ontrack action."
Bandits: Phoenix Rising (7.0)
"It's a straightforward car combat game that promises straightforward driving and shooting action and more or less fulfills that promise."
Red Faction II (7.0)
"The game's single-player campaign is pretty short, but Red Faction II can still offer some good shooting action for fans of the genre."
Knight Rider (5.8)
"Knight Rider isn't a bad game--it's just too short and too repetitive."
X2: Wolverine's Revenge (5.7)
"If the developers of Wolverine's Revenge hadn't been under the gun to produce the game in time to capitalize on the new X-Men movie, the end results would have probably been more polished and generally more playable."
Emergency 2: The Ultimate Fight for Life (5.5)
"While its missions are complex and often satisfying, Emergency 2 is frustrating at times because of its clumsy interface."
Casino, Inc. (5.1)
"Casino Inc. ends up being a game that's more complicated, and less fun, than it probably should have been."
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (5.1)
"The developer clearly tried to make CSI accessible for a wide audience and in the process also removed all challenge from the game."
"Despite its interesting concept, Purge is difficult to recommend due to the lack of a large online population and some balance issues, bugs, and design quirks."
Postal 2 (4.8)
"Postal 2 strings together a bunch of violent novelties without ever constructing a compelling game for them to support."
Humvee Assault (3.9)
"Humvee Assault is simple, short, slightly buggy, and generally not very good"
Interstellar Trader 2 (3.8)
"It's unclear why you would play Interstellar Trader 2, unless you absolutely hate losing at any game and love to procrastinate."
New World Order (2.1)
"New World Order tries to emulate other tactical shooters but fails in every imaginable way."