Review: Medal Of Honor
"Warriors are born from loyalty, love of neighbor and country, and a desire to protect and safeguard. Their actions are precise, principled, determined, and committed to act selflessly for the benefit of others."
- Worth The Time?Yes
- Things LovedThe equipment, realism, dialog, story,in-game politics, pretty much most of it. The PlayStation 3 version comes with a remastered copy of Medal of Honor: Frontline which shows you how far the series has come.
- Things HatedLength of single player, texture issues, minor glitches.
- Name: Medal of Honor
- Genre: FPS
- Players: 1-16
- Multiplayer: Split-screen, co-op, online
- Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
- Developer: Danger Close, DICE
- Publisher: EA Games
- Price: R350 (PC), R600 (PS3, Xbox 360)
- Reviewed On: PS3
The following review is essentially two-reviews-in-one. Reason being is that the Single Player and the Multiplayer mode are very different, hence they each offer a unique experience. The Single Player uses a heavily-modified version of Unreal Engine 3 and the Multiplayer is uses the Frostbite Engine — The same engine Battlefield: Bad Company 2 uses.
Although this game is definitely pro-American and contains some propaganda, as all “military shooters” do nowadays, the focus is not on victory, honour, valour, or politics. No, the focus is on the soldiers and their determination to survive the battle.
The single player campaign mainly revolves around a Navy SEAL code-named “Rabbit”, however you are also awarded the role of a Delta Force Tier 1 sniper code-named “Deuce”, an Army Ranger named Specialist Dante Adams, and an AH-64 Apache gunner Captain named Brad “Hawk” Hawkins. Essentially, this offers a balanced experience between Special Forces and the normal boots on the ground.
Medal of Honor is focused on realism and it starts during the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, and this set the tone for the rest of the game.
We all know by now that “epic beards” (Epic beard guy on the cover) are a part of this Medal of Honor. The bearded reason being is so that operators blend in better with the locals, and I must admit it was strange at first. And similar to the A-Team movie, a rogue American solider had a beard where he immediately he was dubbed “The Arab”. It just seems to be a concept that works.
In Medal of Honor the AI is great, especially the friendly AI. Your team will kick down doors and clear and search rooms just like the real Armed Forces would, and I guess this is thanks to the role that the military had in developing the game.
The equipment, being small arms, gloves, uniforms, vehicles, etc., were all done splendidly. The amount of detail is great. The weapons had scratches from wear and tear and no weapon was 100% identical to the another. Each player’s gun was equipped to their liking, and each weapon was abused throughout its lifetime. Heck, there’s even a history behind the gun – you can just feel it. The equipment, unlike Modern Warfare 2, is realistic and Medal of Honor offers you the chance to work all kinds of support.
The death sequences are great too. Depending on where you are shot, or how you die, the sequence is fitting. For example if you get riddled with bullets, you fall and hear your character taking his last breaths. The squad will proclaim you dead, or you’ll see them try to help you up, only to hear the crackling of your bones.
To force my point on how this game isn’t about American glory, in Medal of Honor you experience some issues affecting the US Defense Force: Mainly how the brass is out of touch with the rank and file, and how someone giving orders from 9,000+ kilometers away can jeopardize lives.
The story is a rather good one, and the game-play allows you to step right into the shoes of soldiers without a strong learning curve in the controls department. However, my pet peeve with the controls was the transition to the a pistol. You can carry two primary weapons, and to change between them you press Triangle (), but now to draw your pistol you have to double tap Triangle — and this can be troublesome when you are in a tough situation where you really need a handgun.
Ammo, and gun wise, a nice feature added is that you won’t be forced to pick up the Afghan AK’s, purely because you can get ammo from your squad members — as long as they have the same gun. This means, don’t drop your gun for another because ammo may be hard to come by.
Reading this you might think the single player is flawless? Unfortunately not.
Besides the simple pistol problem there were a few issues that come to mind. They are not serious or game breaking, but they are issues nonetheless.
- Scripted events take away control from the player. I don’t recall cut-scenes in previous Medal of Honor games. Perhaps they are needed, but these “cinematic” moments only help to make the experience feel less real, and less capturing.
- When you encounter an artificial barrier or wall, it reminds you it is just a game, for example you cant fall off a mountain because that invisible barrier is there. It takes away from the great realism in the rest of the game.
- There are a few glitches as well, like a door that can’t be breached or enemies that spawn infinitely; issues that only a checkpoint restart seems to fix. In my experience I got stuck on an ATV.
- The Unreal Engine 3’s notorious texture pop-in effect. Sometimes, well once I noticed, that backgrounds and skylines just pop in. In my case a skyline just popped in as I went towards a mountain.
- The graphics are mixed and the frame-rate is shaky at times.
These are all minor issues and are not game breaking, but take away from the experience.
The worst issue is, as mentioned above, the length of the single player. It is immersing and you will want to finish it in one go. Me, I finished it in ±6 hours with broken wrists (don’t ask). It is great, but my only irritation is that it’s just too short. I still recommend this game if you are only going to buy it for the single player, especially if you are a fan of the classic series that is Medal of Honor.
Final Conclusion (Single Player):
Medal of Honor is one of the finest shooters I have played in a while. EA’s new shooter finds the perfect middle ground between realism and entertainment. However it is a love it or hate it game — there is no middle ground there. I recommend this to all those that love the Medal of Honor series, but remember, this is not a Call of Duty killer at the moment.
If you are unsure where you stand with this game I recommend a rental in which you could probably finish the campaign. If you hate it, it may still be worth your while because of the multiplayer.
[Credit to IGN for the screens]