Published on October 16th, 2010 | by Deejay Knight, Editor/Founder
Redefining Elite: Medal of Honor Review
Reviewer’s Note: This Game was Reviewed on the Xbox 360.
The Medal of Honor series has been known for taking on older war stories. World War I & II, for example. This new title in the series brings it into new territory, hitting the trenches of modern combat. Taking a different approach to the overall game, the single and multiplayer portions were developed by two teams using two different game engines. Danger Close of EA LA worked on the single player using Unreal 3.0 and Dice, known for the Battlefield series, worked on the multiplayer using Frostbite.
Medal of Honor is based on actual events following the the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks during the invasion of Afghanistan. Names, places, and events may vary, but one of the defining philosophies behind the game was realism and Danger Close has spared no expense. They’ve hired military consultants to make sure that the weapons are as authentic as possible, and even fired each weapon in various locations to get the sound just right. As you can imagine, the game sounds fantastic. Rather than hearing non-stop bullets, you get a realistic depiction of how a gunfight truly sounds.
Another set of consultants that were brought in were real-life “Tier 1 Operators” – handpicked elite soldiers who get called in when something extremely precise needs to happen right now. You take control of these soldiers along with Army Rangers, Delta Force operators using multiple vehicles and aircraft throughout the campaign in an interlinked web of missions that all tie into one another like a non-stop action movie.
While the switches between characters during the campaign can be jarring at times due to the use of CGI movies between missions, the missions themselves are comfortably varied. All of them revolve around killing as much of the “OpFor”, or opposing forces, as possible, but the action switches between all out balls-to-the-wall action missions and a subtle, more controlled pace in stealth missions.
The controls are tight and familiar, as standard shooter controls apply. You can slide into cover while sprinting which is a welcome addition, giving you the ability to get into cover from a full-on sprint.
The missteps are few, but they’re pretty big. The biggest and most noticeable issue is the use of scripted action scenes. At various moments in the campaign, the player loses control so an action scene involving the player character can play it out. This is quite jarring at times, and in some situations you’re jerked to where you need to be for it to play out. Other times, when moving through an area quickly, you might get ordered to do something you’ve already done. Enemy AI is an issue, with running, getting behind cover, blind firing, and popping up to shoot being their whole bag of tricks. Enemy spawns can become an issue as well, with new enemies popping up in some situations
One biggie for some gamers could be the use of military jargon throughout the game. While those of us who have served in the military may feel comfortable with this, it’s use is fairly heavy through the game and can be confusing to some.
The campaign is fairly short. Depending on your skill level with shooters, you can finish it in four to five hours on normal difficulty. This can be a disappointment to some, but in addition to a regular campaign there is also Tier 1 mode, which is a time-based run-through of the campaign with one caveat — you get one life per mission. If you die during a mission, your only option is to restart the level which adds a considerable amount of tension to the gameplay. You also earn ribbons for various tasks and can compare both your times and ribbons with other gamers and friends on the in-game leaderboard.
If you’ve played a Battlefield title in the last few years, you’re likely very comfortable with the multiplayer controls of MoH. Like Battlefield, multiplayer is class based with Rifleman, Spec Ops, and Sniper classes. You’ll notice the missing Medic, but with health being regenerative rather than having a health bar, you won’t really miss it.
As is par for online shooters, weapon unlocks and add-ons come with better rank, and better rank comes from taking down enemies and completing objectives. You get the added benefit of epic beards as your rank gets closer to Tier 1.
There are four game modes. Combat Mission plays out like a campaign mission, tasking Coalition Forces with clearing five objectives to win. Team Assault is team deathmatch. Objective Raid tasks OpFor with sabotaging two objectives. Sector Control tasks both sides with fighting for control of three objectives.
If you count Hardcore there are five modes, but this list contains all game modes with the exception that weapons do much more damage and health regeneration is off.
The multiplayer portion seems to have either light lag issues or people really can shoot through concrete blocks. It’s definitely a blast to play, especially with the eight maps included, but combat mission only has three maps available which will likely be remedied with DLC.
Some weapons are a bit overpowered, but that’s likely to be patched soon – within three days of being available, the multiplayer has already been patched once. This is a good sign.
When it all comes down to it, Medal of Honor is a solid shooter with an action-filled single player that has added value due to Tier 1 mode, and a multiplayer mode with modes that’ll keep you busy for months if you let it.
The negative factors of the game are pretty strong ones though, as they take away from the immersion. Some can be remedied with a patch, but as it stands, they’re still there.
Pros / Cons
+ Varied single player gameplay.
+ Added replay value with Tier 1.
+ Get a good team in multiplayer & you’ll suffer fools.
+ Controls are butter smooth.
– Enemy AI lacks depth.
– CGI cutscenes in 2010? Seriously?
– Entire sniper teams in Hardcore: LAME.