Medal of Honor Review

Developer: Danger Close, EA Digital Illusion CE / Publisher: Electronic Arts / ESRB: Mature (Blood, Strong Language, Violence) / Played on: Xbox 360 / Price: $59.99

Hey kids welcome to another VGR courtesy of Machinima. I’m Rob Talbert and today we will be taking a look at the relaunch of a very established FPS franchise, Medal of Honor. We are out of WWII and into the modern age. Was this a good move and can the game compete with other modern warfare shooters? Time to find out.

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Story

In Medal of Honor you take control of a Tier 1 operative, the Armed Forces’ most elite soldier. The elite of the elite as they have been called. As a player in control of these soldiers you get dropped in behind enemy lines to perform stealthy missions and other times you will be in direct combat in full on assaults in the middle of the Afghan War. For me, the story was secondary to the gameplay itself since it was a bit hard to follow as the narrative jumps around a lot. That being said the events that occur in the game feel extremely authentic and realistic. That probably has to do with the fact that EA worked with real Tier 1 operatives to help develop Medal of Honor.

Gameplay

The single player campaign in Medal of Honor has you all over various parts of Afghanistan engaging the Taliban. You will be fighting through villages, mountains, and even flying an AH-64 Apache Helicopter at one point. The game tries to put you into lots of different locations for battle but it ends up feeling like the entirety of the conflict could take place within a 10 mile radius. Everything just feels very similar; this is due largely to the fact that EA wanted to keep an extremely authentic and realistic feel to the game by recreating Afghanistan as accurately as possible.

The combat in Medal of Honor’s single player campaign, at times, can be extremely fast paced and frenetic with waves of enemies pouring out of villages trying to take you down. It really feels like you are in a full scale assault and helps to add to the level of realism EA was trying to accomplish with the game. You feel outnumbered and even hopeless in some of the game’s more intense levels. You will find yourself calling in air-strikes in some levels and then wishing you had the opportunity to do so in others, this really speaks to the level of difficulty some levels can provide. One new addition in the game is the Tier 1 Mode, which is a competitive online mode that will have you racing to get through levels the fastest while getting the most skill kills. Skill kills help you complete the levels by freezing the in-game timer. These can consist of head shots, knife kills, consecutive head shots in a row, number of enemies killed in a certain amount of time etc. The level of difficulty is greatly increased in this mode; there are no mid-level checkpoints, you can’t resupply ammo from allies, the snap zoom targeting is shut off and enemies deal out greater damage. I’m glad this mode was added into the single player campaign because it creates a lot replay value. I blew through the single player campaign in two days and I was really surprised that it was actually over so quickly and how easy it was. Tier 1 mode is a welcome inclusion.

Multiplayer

The multiplayer in Medal of Honor was developed by DICE separately and it feels like a completely different game… and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You will definitely feel the similarities to the Battlefield franchise while playing Medal of Honor’s multiplayer, but I think it has enough new tricks to prevent the game from being too similar. Two teams of 12 players take each other on in eight different maps and four different game modes. Those modes consist of the following: Combat Mission where the coalition team has to clear 5 objectives while the OPFOR team is trying to stop them, Team Assault where each team has to get a certain amount of points to win (you gain points by killing the enemy). Another is Objective Raid, where the OPFOR team has to plant charges to blow up two targets in a certain amount of time, while the coalition defends. Finally there is Sector Control, which has the two teams fighting for three different areas on the maps and teams score points by holding the different locations. All of these modes are great fun but I think Objective Raid is the best of the four for the sheer amount of time and strategy involved in each match. MOH has its own version of kill streaks as well called Tactical Support Actions, where you gain points by killing enemies and completing objectives and the score chain continues until you die. the TSA’s are great and really add to the level of intensity that the multiplayer brings in MOH. The multiplayer in Medal of Honor is terrific and it’s the best thing about this game.

Graphics

Medal of Honor is supposed to be an authentic recreation of war in Afghanistan. It looks like they nailed it, but my god is Afghanistan an awful looking place. The environments all blend together in this game and no one level stands out to me in memory. I did run into a lot of textures loading on the fly while playing through the game, and in fact every time I used a tactical strike the binoculars were completely lacking any of the environmental detail at all. When it comes to the graphics in this game, it’s a tough section to talk about, as I understand the developers wanting to keep a level of realism to the game, but when it effects the overall feel of the game in a negative way its hard for me to support that decision.

Sound

The MOH series is known for authentic, realistic sound and sweeping epic soundtracks. The latest installment does not disappoint at all. All of the new weapons sound spot on, the voice acting is solid and authentic, and the killer soundtrack really helps add to the level of intensity Medal of Honor brings to the table.

Bottom Line

Medal of Honor had a lot of things stacked against it. As a series it’s transitioning to a time-period that other first person shooters already have a stranglehold on, but I think this game did a lot of things right and a few things wrong. DICE nailed the multiplayer, giving a different take on a genre that some consider to be cornered by other games. I think that if Medal of Honor’s single player experience was tweaked a bit and made a little longer with some real variety, it will have a real shot of competing, but until then its falls just short.

7.5 out of 10

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