The one that got away: A Medal of Honor review

26 10 2010

The highly acclaimed Medal of Honor series made its first installment in three years when the reboot Medal of Honor released on October 12.

The latest game developed by Electronic Arts and DICE, drew controversy when it was discovered that the game would focus on the current-day conflict in Afghanistan and allow players to control Taliban forces and kill United States soldiers in multiplayer modes. The Pause Button’s own IncreaseBlue got the chance to play the game and offers her thoughts below:

IncreaseBlue-

When the details about this newest Medal of Honor title released about what the game was about, I was rather impressed. I admired the developers Electronic Arts and DICE for really delving into something worthwhile for the Medal of Honor series and that they weren’t just making another World War II game. While the game I felt was respectful in all aspects of a rather touchy and still open conflict, it really was a title that had missed numerous opportunities to break the mold and really shine.

The campaign mode itself allows the players to take the role of several U.S. military members and see the conflict from multiple perspectives. During the game players can control codename “Rabbit,” a ground soldier apart of a Special Warfare squad, “Deuce” a sharpshooter apart of an Advanced Force Operations unit known as Wolfpack (the character on the main box art is another character from the Wolfpack known as Dusty), Army Ranger Specialist Dante Adams, and Apache helicopter pilot Brad “Hawk” Hawkins.

One of the games' most compelling moments involves an endless assault of Taliban soldiers against a four-man squad of U.S. Army Rangers.

While it is interesting to see what coexisting and intertwining storylines the developers wrote for each character, the game fails to create any real concern over these characters until close to the end of the campaign. The amount of perspectives become too mixed and I found myself merely getting through the missions and not paying any mind to the story. The game does make very jarring or desperate situations for the player such as when Adams’ squad is surrounded by Taliban forces and ammo runs out or when Rabbit’s squad escapes a rigged body bomb, but these are few and far between, making for a rather hum-drum campaign.

Graphically, Medal of Honor is disappointing. Gore and blood spatters seem a step behind from more recent first-person shooter titles such as Killzone 2 or Modern Warfare 2. One graphic strength however, is the night vision goggles sight, which show very accurate perspectives down to the laser sights and dust particles in the air. Otherwise, Medal of Honor exhibits solid game play controls that make the entire experience smooth and without issue.

A majority of the games' missions take place at night, which allow the gamer to see the impressive night vision goggle perspectives.

The soundtrack, composed by Ramin Djawadi, did very well in creating a score that played to the events of the game. The symphony music mixture of Eastern and Western elements ranges from uplifting and hopeful, to full of tension and panic. It was a refreshing departure from the typical nothing-but-heavy-metal soundtracks gracing many FPS games as of late (although there is a nifty rock track on the MoH score called “Enemy Down”).

The element of gamers playing as the Taliban seems to have little effect overall on the multiplayer modes.

Of course the most controversial element of the game lies in the multiplayer: playing as the Taliban (renamed “Opposing Force” out of respect for the families of military members in the ongoing conflict). At first I’ll admit that I was a bit uneasy in playing as a Taliban member killing U.S. soldiers, so much so that I would play poorly when it was my turn to play as the opposing force. However, I found that with time I got over it and played the Taliban characters with the same effort as the U.S. force. Other than that, very little is left to say on the game’s multiplayer mode. DICE did a great job and made it as strong as Battlefield: Bad Company 2’s (their previous title) multiplayer, so there are very few surprises.

Overall Medal of Honor is a fairly solid game, but does nothing to separate itself from the current headliners of the military FPS games, Call of Duty and Battlefield: Bad Company. The game certainly had its shining moments, but overall could have done a lot more to strengthen the story and make it stand out from the typical war-centric title.

Final Verdict:

Lots of missed opportunities as far as story and characters, but reliable game mechanics keep Medal of Honor afloat. If you liked Battlefield: Bad Company 2’s multiplayer but want a different setup, grab this game once the price drops a bit. 7/10

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One response

23 11 2010
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