Medal of Honor
Posted 2 years ago By - Jay Acevedo
Previous to Medal of Honor’s launch, producer Greg Goodrich said that his studio (Danger Close a.k.a EA Los Angeles) isn’t looking to revolutionize the FPS genre with this new take on the once-popular franchise, but offer the best, most refined game possible. A few months, a delicate storyline set-up and some Taliban controversy later, the new Medal of Honor got released with - let’s face it- a lot of negative buzz around it. Sadly, despite the studio’s effort to propel the franchise into new territory, the final result is far from Danger Close’s initial wish. However, it doesn’t mean that the game is a total disappointment; no matter what some of your friends may have told you.
Electronic Arts decided it was time to part ways with the WWII set-up that made it popular in the late-nineties and take the franchise to a whole new direction. Now, the story takes place in modern times, a year after 9/11 to be more precise. A four-man Tier-1 squad is sent to Afghanistan and tasked with linking up with Afghan informants carrying important information for the CIA. As the team discovers that Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces are getting ready to fight back, the game’s nine missions intertwine a plot seen from the eyes of three soldiers brought in to stop enemy forces, rescue fellow soldiers and most importantly, survive alongside their squadmates.
Despite what I can qualify as a shallow storyline, the six hours that it’s going to take to complete the single player campaign are going to be the most realistic and poignant a player will have experienced. The sense of déjà-vu can’t be overlooked though. The sniping from afar before proceeding, the Helicopter missions, meet up with the rest of the squad on the other side without alerting the enemy and so on, all usher in similar thoughts of another “modern” FPS. However, what makes Medal of Honor a tad different from Call of Duty (at least for me) resides in the way it’s presented. Players do get to fight a Taliban insurgency, but it isn’t about killing the bad guys and being patriotic. Danger Close’s intent was to show the player, to a certain extent, what these men and women have to endure every day on the field of battle. The aforementioned shallowness comes from the fact that the developer avoided all politico-social references to support the heavy storyline, which is a key factor in these types of games. Of course, this reviewer has no intention of opening a political debate, but if the current situation in the Middle East took place and ended 50 years ago, Medal of Honor would have pushed the boundaries further and address all plot holes with historical facts accuracy rather than toying with an unfinished era.
Medal of Honor isn’t a furious fast-paced first person shooter. It shares similarities with other games in the genre and does have a few climatic key scenes supported by an amazing melodramatic score (which has been synonymous to the franchise), but it does lack polish and suffers from various hiccups that prevents it from being a game to remember.
For one, the character development is severely lacking and almost untouched. The story puts you in the shoes of different members of the Tier-1 squad (Rabbit, Dante and Deuce) but not once do you feel attached to them. Games that can be wrapped under six hours often carry the same result and while players tend to seek a balance between enjoyment and playtime, the case of Medal of Honor came as a particular one since I was mentally prepared by EA and Danger Close to play a lengthy and emotionally-charged story, not a “fun” army tale a la Army of Two or Battlefield Bad Company. Aside from a few missions (one in particular where my squad mates and I are trapped in a dilapidated house desperately fighting for our lives as ammunition starts to get low and Taliban forces are surrounding us…), the sense of “war realism” never takes off despite being hinted to and thrown around constantly. Still, my interest in listening to the cinematic and in-game dialogues delivered by the protagonists was well present, something that I didn’t really care for in Modern Warfare 2.
Usually when a game has a hard time laying out its story the way it was intended, the technical flaws become more apparent. Here, not only are the visuals not very impressive (single player campaign runs on Unreal Engine 3 and multiplayer on DICE’s Frostbite engine…yeah go figure), but the whole game is extremely linear and comes with a life-time subscription to the Invisible Wall club. Weapons are varied, but ballistics isn’t something Danger Close felt like putting much thought into. The same can be said about the grenade throwing system. Enemy AI is dumb as a post and highly predictable as well. Your teammates are much smarter in combat, but there’s nothing more frustrating than waiting for them to trigger the next checkpoint when I’ve been waiting for a few seconds. On the bright side, the controls are spot on and while it is an almost carbon-copy control scheme from the Call of Duty franchise, it features a few neat elements such as sliding, prone (single player only), peek and lean while in cover and a request ammo button.
So what happens when you’re done with the single player campaign? Jump online and see what DICE has cooked for Medal of Honor. Multiplayer puts 12 players against 12 others in a set-up that shares an uncanny (but dumbed-down ala Battlefield 1943) resemblance to Battlefield Bad Company 2. Each of the two main clans featured in the game (Coalition and Opposing Forces) is made up of three classes: Rifleman, Special Ops and Snipers. Classes have their own ranking tree and experience points can be gained based on the player’s performance on the field. Levelling up will unlock new weapons and extra gear to customize load-outs. Accumulate consecutive kills and the ability to call offensive/defensive support will be given.
There are four modes: Team Assault (Team Deathmatch), Sector Control (Domination), Objective Raid (Demolition) and Combat Mission (objective-based mode similar to BFBC’s Rush Mode). Three of the eight default maps are exclusively tied to the Combat Mission mode while the five others support the rest. The online experience isn’t a breakthrough in the genre, but fans of online first person shooters won’t be too disoriented…until they start playing and realize the fast-paced and frantic action turns the whole experience into a tedious and frustrating affair. While the maps are well-designed, the absence of a kill-cam - or an indication of where the kill came from - becomes a major hindrance; especially when Death comes knocking on your door every minute or so. Pair it with a lackluster respawn system and you switching back to Bad Company 2 will happen quicker than expected. This doesn’t mean that Medal of Honor isn’t fun to play online but it becomes quickly forgettable. Could the game have survived without it? If the single player campaign would have been longer, absolutely!
Now, I can’t finish this without talking about Tier-1, the hidden gem of Medal of Honor’s pseudo-online realm. Tier 1 invites players to replay campaign levels as quickly as possible with no checkpoints. Playing times and stats are tracked and posted to online leaderboards for bragging rights. Friends can even leave markers inside levels to show how far they’ve made it. It’s certainly an interesting and much-welcomed addition that, in my opinion, beats the flawed and frustrating multiplayer component all together.
Some people might think that releasing Medal of Honor right before Call of Duty: Black Ops wasn’t a great idea. The less informed might see it as a laughable attempt at being a “Call of Duty” killer. Putting it all in perspective, Medal of Honor needs to be approached and handled differently to be truly enjoyed. While the multiplayer feels more like a justifying bullet point on the box for a full priced retail game, the single player experience is what makes this reboot shine despite its short length.
Medal of Honor isn’t something I consider a must buy but definitely deserves a once over. The table is now set for future iterations, which yours truly will be waiting with both impatience and high expectations.
+ Tier 1 Mode
+ Interesting storyline...
- Several plot holes, lackluster character development
- Level linearity, dumb AI, invisible walls
- Multiplayer (aside from Tier 1) isn’t stellar
- Visuals aren’t very impressive, especially in single player
1 week ago :: Injustice: Gods Among Us
1 week ago :: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14
1 week ago :: BioShock Infinite
4 weeks ago :: Gears of War Judgment
1 month ago :: (Kinect) The Hip Hop Dance Experience
1 month ago :: Tomb Raider
1 month ago :: Crysis 3
2 months ago :: DmC Devil May Cry
2 months ago :: (XBLA) Serious Sam Double D XXL
Download us here!
Game Junkies podcast and audio interviews
Release Date : 2010/10/12
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : Electronic Arts
Developer : Danger Close
Category : Action
ESRB : M
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10