Medal of Honor is a modern day, realistic, first-person shooter that attempts to mix and match the positives and correct the negatives of some of DICE’s (the developer), previous work. It accomplishes such in a unique way that I have never before seen in my long career of gaming.
Before I had finished the first mission, I already felt like this installment in the enduring franchise that many of us came to love on the PS2, is the illegitimate child of Battlefield: Bad Company (which was also made by DICE), and the renowned Modern Warfare 2.
It takes the astounding, realistic physics and remarkable destructive environment of the Bad Company games and changes the tone and combat style to that of Modern Warfare 2. The game moves away from the vast, widespread, levels of the former, and transfers into semi-close quarter urban and rural tactic scenarios that Modern Warfare 2 achieved with flare. DICE may not have failed to achieve such a task entirely, however they certainly did not accomplish it all as they may have wanted. However instead of criticizing the entire game, I’ll simply divide it between single player and online multiplayer.
The story of this game weaves you between multiple characters that are all interconnected whilst battling insurgents in urban and rural Afghanistan. It takes you between 2 different teams of tier 1 operators and an army ranger division through first person interactions and cinematics, almost replicating the storytelling methods used in Modern Warfare 2.
Although it starts off slow, the single player experience of Medal of Honor is without a doubt its strongest point of play. It offers realistic simulations of advanced, team and combat tactics, as well as letting you dive into the position of expert sharpshooters and even apache helicopter gunners. It takes an hour or two of play before the story really achieves its full effect on the player, however there is good reasons for this.
Instead of putting the player through the training baby steps as a new addition to a task force, it injects them directly into an already working and tight-knit team, something that other modern FPS games have not been able to pull off with style.
One of the reasons that the story of Modern Warfare 2 was so highly acclaimed was because of its development of player to character relationships, and it drew players in because they wanted to see what was going to happen to their character’s team. This is something that Medal of Honor mimics fairly well after the first level.
Its gameplay is fairly smooth, however there is room for improvement. The animations are a little shaky and the team and enemy AI could have been built slightly better. I recall specifically sitting on a building watching one of my teammates and a terrorist standing out of cover looking directly at each other, taking pot-shots for 6-8 seconds before one of them actually managed to hit their opponent.
When it comes to multiplayer, the game is disappointing to say the least. At least for someone who enjoys playing games that require actual player ability to gain a solid lead. My feeling for every game was who sees who first. For the first few hours of play, I just died my way to getting ranked up and got a gun upgrade. At that point, it was simply a run of luck, or where the best camping spot is.
They do provide “support options” similar to that of Modern Warfare 2’s structure, and they take weapon upgrades almost verbatim to Bad Company 2. This does provide players with a good motivation to play and rank up, however I do not think it makes up for the poorly transferred physics and the never-ending death from nowhere that happens repetitively.
You have a choice between Hardcore, Assault, Objective, and Raid game choices as a player, and I personally could not differentiate between most of them. Objective and Raid simply made it easier for the game to end quickly due to the quick overrun of one of the teams right off the bat. Hardcore mixes all the other playlists up but I could not notice a remarkable difference between them.
The game also requires an online play pass to download levels and other material, essentially forcing consumers to pay more money for any decent amount of variety. When I played team assault, I got the same 3 or 4 levels in a row continuously, and I am not about to go pay more money just to have access to one or two more.
The levels online are also strikingly similar to each other. If you split it down the middle, 2 and 2 would share the exact same layout and feel. Whether its low ground vs high ground or small urban environment, the gameplay is tedious and repetitive.
In conclusion, it is a little disappointing that the multiplayer in this game turned out the way it did. However I do think the Medal of Honor franchise lived up to its story telling reputation that it earned so well with previous entries in the franchise. I would not suggest buying this game without trying the demo, or at least renting it first. However, it will provide you with a few solid few days of gameplay before diminishing in value.
Diverse combat simulations, a strong physics engine and compelling storytelling make this one worth checking out.