Developer: EA Games LA
Publisher: EA Games
Release: October 12-2010
Review Date: Dec 3-2010
I wanted to begin this review by paying respects to the men and women of the military who risk their lives every day and who are willing to give the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms and for the freedom of others; lest we forget.
The original Medal of Honor was released November 11th, 1999 and for those of us that played the game in its entirety the feeling was mutual across the board; superb game, egregious ending. To sum it up, the game left the player feeling like they just ran a marathon only to be greeted by a brick wall at the finish line instead of a ticker tape parade and a cheering crowd. I did not play a single MoH game again until this new one was released almost 11 years later. Much to my delight the 2010 reincarnation of MoH is better in almost every way. I’m writing this review nearly two months after its release, two months after the ‘big’ critics have given their two-cents and an overall Metascore of 74 (out of 100). I felt that GameSpy and IGN were incredibly biased and unfair with their 60 out of 100 scores. This alone damaged the game’s reputation, sales and overall appeal for many gamers world-wide. It’s unfortunate because this game is in my opinion one of the best modern war simulators to date. That being said, opinions are just that – opinions,and I hope that whoever reads my opinion of Medal of Honor, whether you’ve played the game, damned the game or simply haven’t decided on the game can get a better understanding for what it really is and not dwell on what it “should have been”.
Single Player Gameplay & Presentation:
Simply put, the game looks and feels great! Movements are fluid, camera angles are excellent and not once did I feel as though I was confined to or locked into a “phone booth” style of aiming and targeting. Weapon models and characters look true to life and you may find yourself stopping to admire the attention to detail and not the enemy rushing towards you. The lighting is also terrific. Every zone has its own unique look and atmosphere. Whether you’re snaking through dimly lit back alleys, trudging through Afghan mountains or sneaking through Taliban caves with night vision, every setting makes you feel as though you are right there in the heat of battle. I’m a little disappointed at the lack of DirectX 11 features, specifically tessellation. Yes, the game utilizes DX11’s soft shadowing very well but when it comes to the meat and potatoes of DX11 I was really expecting to see some incredible imagery and environments. I just felt things such as mountains, snow and even buildings could have really benefited from the implementation of this DX11 feature; let’s face it, for those of us who have seen tessellation in all its glory you know how sweet it looks! They could have done a little more with the explosions, but for the most part the action is fast and furious and it doesn’t really detract from the overall gameplay.
The firing and reload animations are crisp and more or less accurate,or at least acceptable on a level that you feel as though you’re truly reloading whatever gun you’re firing. ‘Zoom’ aiming is definitely the preferred the style of targeting in MoH. You can tell they put some time and effort into the aimports and sights as each gun feels unique, and realistic while firing. Nothing is blurry or too large for the screen like so many other games and the guns typically fire where you want them to.
One complaint I’ve heard from friends and other forums posts is that it’s too difficult to maintain a steady rate of fire and you end up going full out ‘Rambo’ when things get heavy and action intensive; but really, that’s exactly how guns work. In real life, spray and pray just doesn’t work and this isn’t an arcade shooter, it’s a simulator.
Another common complaint is that the AI is “stupid”. The game is not perfect when it comes to AI but I never once ran into issues such as teammates shooting the same enemy I had targeted/shot or the enemy simply being too dumb to realize they were being shot at. For the most part I found the AI quite acceptable. My only complaint is that for some scripted sequences, like walking up ramps or going over obstacles, you have to wait for your team to go first or you just get stuck bumping into them until they’re all ahead of you. I disagree with the complaints that the ATV ‘mission’ is pointless. This was actually a fun, easy going section of the game; it just felt good. Drive to the LZ, eliminate hostiles in the middle of the night and then drive away. I’m not going to spoil anything for the people who haven’t played the game yet but for what it’s worth, the chopper assault mission is by far one of the most awesome and immersing experiences I’ve ever had playing a video game. If you find yourself cheering and screaming a lot don’t worry, you are not alone! Overall the single-player experience is enjoyable, fun and ultimately it feels quite real; which is the point of this game (might I remind you)!
Touching briefly on the Tier 1 mode (which unlocks after you complete the game) it’s basically SP with an online challenge mode. You can compete against others in things such as Time Completed, Accuracy, Longest Kill, Most Melee Kills, etc. It is fun but you may tire of it quickly due to the fact that for things such as the accuracy challenge you must complete an entire chapter in order to get your rating.
MP Gameplay & Presentation:
I’ve banked over 26 hours into the multiplayer component of MoH, and needless to say it’s challenging, addictive, and fun. The weapon unlocks are realistic, and convincing. No, it doesn’t have the plethora of weapons, perks and unlocks that Call of Duty has but I remind you that this game focuses on realism and not the gimmicky arcade toys seen in games such as CoD. Yeah, I know I’m gunna take some heat for that comment.
My only complaint and the primary issue with its MP is the balance when it comes to the sniper class. MoH MP was developed by DICE, the same company behind Bad Company 2. As many of us know BC2 is heavily controlled and overrun by snipers. Now because of MoH’s exceptional graphics, there are times you will simply die and die, and die again because the snipers are so dug in that you have no idea where they are. This is especially frustrating in the Combat Mission, Objective Raid, and the recently added Clean Sweep modes. For the defending team with a group of skilled snipers, it’s near impossible to capture anything but your own death. You will frequently find yourself in the heavy negatives when it comes to your kill:death count, and that’s just part of the game. If DICE could only see how poorly the game is balanced at times and implement a similar system to America’s Army (limited 1 sniper per squad) or something similar the game would be faster, more intense and really drive home the squad based team play and tactics.
Luckily the game rewards team play, and killing players of higher skill than you awards more ‘Skill’. You can easily go 10-0 and only get 10 skill points for the match. Just as you can go 2-10, capture a few points, call in either offensive or defensive ‘perks’, kill a few Tier 1 players and finish with an overall Skill of 30 or more. There are 3 main classes: Rifleman, Special-Ops and of course Sniper. As stated above, the sniper class is grossly overpowered and you’ll find yourself leveling up in this class easily and quickly. The Spec-Ops class is challenging and fun but it can also be quite frustrating because the guns are not as powerful as the other classes. You need to pick your spots and act
the role of this class! The Rifleman class is just as challenging at times but with the addition of the PKM and the M249 at higher unlocks they become a very powerful support class and are essential in keeping snipers pinned down, among other things. A friendly bit of advice, attaching an aimpoint isn’t always to your benefit. You may find yourself reverting back to simple iron sights more often than not, especially in the tighter maps.
The game looks identical to the SP, but again, I wish they would have utilized DX11 better. I would stay away from TDM as you won’t acquire as much skill in this mode. That being said the game modes change from map to map, so you’re eventually going to get stuck in a TDM match. Stick to the ‘assault’ style missions, complete objectives and above all play with
If there’s one word that describes Medal of Honor’s sound and audio quality it would have to be ‘spectacular’. Gunshots and explosions will frequently have you dropping “holy sh*t!” bombs. Situational audio sequences are spot on. Every new zone has its own unique ambient music and sound. Whether you’re blasting away a mortar crew with Hellfire Missiles or taking out Taliban from long range with the .50cal, MoH’s sound makes you feel
like you’re in control of the world’s coolest weapons. Audio dialog during cut scenes and mini in-game movies are good, however the game does tend to play a little more like a movie at times than a game. I know this was a complaint from some of the other reviewers, but does this take away from the game? Not at all. It’s simply how they
wanted to tell the story. They developed the game around that and it ties in together quite well.
While the multiplayer is identical in every way to the single player in terms of audio, I found they really hit the nail on the head, fully making the player believe they are part of each combat struggle in Afghanistan. The best map to illustrate this is the Shah-i-Kot Mountain downed chopper mission. The howling wind and blinding snow are near perfection and hearing the sound of an RPG rip past your head as you bound over snow-packed hills is enough to make even the most seasoned gamers soil their pants at least once.
The game has been heavily criticized to date for its so-called exploitation, and “too soon” representation of the current war in Afghanistan (and Iraq). To that point, as most know by now the game was pulled from every GameStop that is located on a military base in the United States; excessive? Definitely. For the record, neither I, nor anyone here at FRAGtopia would ever endorse or promote a game that we felt exploited the sacrifices, dedication and devotion of our military services. The game is
controversial, but that was the point and not all controversy is bad. This game is exactly what the gaming industry needed. MoH is gritty, raw, in your face and above all else it’s one few games that evokes true emotion, both in-game and within the player themselves.
Huddled in a 10×10 stone hut with 3 other Rangers, desperately low on ammo, badly outnumbered, being shot at constantly from all angles and facing certain death – all the while having somber yet triumphant music playing, the situation really hit me hard. No other game has impacted me the way this game did. Much of the game feels this way, too. They pay attention to the little things and to the real details so it doesn’t play out like the typical run and gun, mindless spray and pray, gut-splattered, emotionless mess we so often see. No, Medal of Honor is everything a modern military simulator should be. The game thrusts you into the heat of the current war and asks you
the question, ‘Do you really want to know what it’s like? Well here’s a taste, can you handle it?’
From its stellar gameplay and presentation to it’s mind blowing audio, Medal of Honor makes its mark in history once again in the gaming industry and they don’t skip a beat doing it. It has its faults, as all games do but overall this game truly is enjoyable and it takes you on an emotionally challenging roller coaster that will hopefully leave with you a sense of deep respect and possibly a new appreciation for all the efforts our Military puts forth. A job well done and we here at FRAGtopia are anxiously awaiting the sequel …
Single Player Gameplay & Presentation: 8.5/10
Multiplayer Gameplay & Presentation: 7/10