With the start of the holiday gaming season comes a couple of busy months for gaming journalists. This time of year is sure to bring a good amount of highly anticipated games usually within a small window of time, and 2010 is no exception to that. One of the early titles out of the gate is EA’s re-launching of their infamous WWII first person shooter Medal of Honor. The series which was once a power house in the industry started to loose a lot of its luster after several iterations so EA went back to the drawing board and has taken Medal of Honor to the modern time. Does the switch in time frames help Medal of Honor feel new again? Read our full review to find out!
Going into Medal of Honor we all knew a few things for sure. First that the switch to modern warfare at least in some way shape or form was in reaction to the success of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare franchise. Secondly we know that EA was putting a lot of financial backing on this game as they decided to split the development between the FPS powerhouse DICE to the do the multiplayer and the newly formed Danger Close studio to do the single player. And finally we know that although the name says Medal of Honor that this game will not have much in common (outside of being a FPS) with past Medal of Honor games.
Let’s start with the single player campaign which proves to be some of the highs and lows of the experience. The game takes place post-9/11 where you take up the fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan. There has been a lot made about the fact that Medal of Honor is actually basing itself off of real life events. With that being said the game completely misses the mark when trying to get you to care about the few different characters you control. There are a few attempts to try to ring some emotion out of you but even those few small attempts end up falling relatively flat. Similar to how I felt with Modern Warfare 1 & 2 you never necessarily get invested in the characters but rather in the experience.
Speaking of the experience, the single player campaign outside of the lacking story is actually relatively good. There are a few annoyances like invisible walls or confusing tasks, but for the most part the experience is actually rather good. One of the things that really stood out to me was the fact that they managed to offer up a pretty varied shooter. There are some vehicle levels, helicopter attacks, bombing runs, and your typical run and gun shooting. The feel of the shooting is one of the single player’s greatest strengths, as it feels very smooth and sounds even more impressive. Overall the single player doesn’t break any new ground but manages to offer up a pretty solid experience nonetheless.
Where Medal of Honor really has some issues with me personally is just the vast separation between single and multiplayer modes. Like I mentioned at the top of the review DICE (developers of the Battlefield franchise) developed the multiplayer and I have to say I was a bit underwhelmed. First thing that struck me was how different the two modes felt from each other. Second thing was that Medal of Honor is a game obviously trying to compete head on with Call of Duty however it was released with only four modes to choose from, a lot less depth then its competition. The four modes of multiplayer include Team Assault, Sector Control, Objective Raid, and Combat Mission. The only mode out of those four that is even somewhat of a fresh idea is Combat Mission which is a variation of capture the flag and domination. The modes all work and there is nothing necessarily inherently wrong with the multiplayer it just doesn’t feel anywhere near as robust as we have come to expect.
Similar to the Gameplay within Medal of Honor, the visuals too are a mixed bag. There are some areas of the game where it is truly a remarkable looking game. There is a point in the single player campaign where you attacking the Taliban through the Afghanistan Mountains and the sun is shining and the bullets are coming from all angles and it is one of those intense experiences that really stuck with me throughout the Medal of Honor experience. However there are also areas of Medal of Honor which needed big improvements. First off aren’t we past the point of invisible walls or ledges that are knee high that we can’t up on? There are far too many times that you get stuck and have to turn around because of poor level design. The visuals are overall pretty good but definitely needing some polish.
Although Medal of Honor is far from a perfect game technically it is actually a pretty enjoyable experience. There is some really intense single player moments that stuck with me throughout the time I played Medal of Honor that weren’t just run of the mill FPS segments but really engaging. There were of course other times where you will find yourself going from checkpoint to checkpoint not really getting much out of the constant killing sprees. For me the biggest missing ingredient at least on the single player side of the house is the story which really doesn’t strike any major chords throughout. The multiplayer although not very deep manages to provide a pretty enjoyable experience even if it can’t compete with the Call of Duty multiplayer.
Medal of Honor is a very competent FPS, but you get the feeling that was never meant to be the end all result. Medal of Honor is a game with some obvious ambitions to be great, however the overall experience is still a step or two away from reaching that level.