Game Review: Medal of Honor
Release: October 12, 2010
Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: Danger Close/DICE
Available Platforms: PlayStation 3/Xbox 360/PC
ESRB Rating: M
In the wake of Activision’s Call of Duty franchise becoming the king of the hill in the military shooter genre, EA decided not to let them have all the glory. Enter the reboot of the Medal of Honor series, now placed in Afghanistan shortly after September 11th. Fighting their way through the game are several AFO (Advance Force Operations) teams. You become a part of each team at different points of the game, taking out the Taliban by any means necessary. Generally this just means using the standard weaponry to clear an area and move on to the next.
To say that Medal of Honor is generic is an oversimplification. To say that it’s inspired is a lie. Danger Close have taken the Modern Warfare blueprint and copied it line for line. Only, as with any duplicate, the copy loses something in the process. This is not to say that Medal of Honor is a bad game. What it does it does extremely well. The mechanics are all tuned and polished to a superb degree. Unfortunately, it lacks the personality that make similar titles stand out.
Where the game really shines is when you’re running through the mountains dodging enemy fire and taking out the opposing forces. The aim assist makes taking out enemies at a distance a little easier than it probably should be, but if it’s a challenge you’re looking for then Tier 1 mode is for you. Tier 1 mode lets you choose a campaign level you’ve completed and run through it as fast as possible. The difficulty is cranked up a notch by disabling auto aim and making you much less damage resistant. Getting headshots and chaining kills allows you to stop the clock for a few seconds, allowing you to get a better time. Medal of Honor features full leaderboard support for this mode, so you’ll be chasing your friend’s times for a while.
There are a few areas that could be improved in the inevitable sequel. First off, there are several times where you trigger a scripted event, such as an enemy surprising you and almost killing you. The intensity of this could have been much greater if you were in control of your character, giving you the chance to fight him off instead of simply watching your teammate kill him. These scenarios, I think, are intended to make you feel vulnerable and give you the sense that danger is around every corner, but it just comes off as a missed opportunity to make me feel like the badass Tier 1 soldier that I am.
The multiplayer component doesn’t feel like it has the legs to warrant a huge time investment. It is a fun diversion for when you’re done with the single player campaign, but the limited class system and small number of maps do little to entice you. The class system features a Rifleman, Special Ops, and Sniper. Each class plays similarly, with the weapon load out being the differentiator, or course. It’s simple, and once you get acclimated to one class, I can’t see switching very often. Otherwise, the action is quick and a good sniper can rule the game.
It feels like I’m giving Medal of Honor a bad review, and that is not my intention. It is a very solid game with some great action sequences, particularly when you’re running and gunning or strafing the enemy in a gunship. Unfortunately, the campaign isn’t filled with enough of these moments to elevate it above average status. It also doesn’t help that it is so short. Tier 1 mode ads quite a bit to the challenge, and stands out as the most interesting mode out of the box. If you’re trying to decide which shooter will get your money this Fall, I would suggest waiting for the Call of Duty: Black Ops reviews before making a decision. If you just want to scratch your modern military shooter itch, Medal of Honor will get the job done, much like the Tier 1 operatives you control.