Medal of Honor thursts players into a fierce and compelling storyline from the opening credits of the single player campaign. Set in Afghanistan it is one of a few games that depicts an ongoing, real world conflict. The game leaves you with both a sense of appreciation and a desire for more of the high powered action that makes up the single player portion. The multiplayer portion, while fun and competitive, lacks some of the polish we've come to expect from DICE.
- Title: Medal of Honor
- Genre: Action, First Person Shooter
- Theme: Modern Military
- ESRB Rating: M for Mature
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Developer: Danger Close, DICE
- Game Modes: Single player, multiplayer
- Pros: Realistic, gritty atmosphere; Engaging single player storyline; Excellent controls and interface
- Cons: Multiplayer lacking features of single player; Poor enemy AI; Heavily scripted missions
Single Player Campaign
Developed by Danger Close, the Medal of Honor single player campaign is one of the best single player first person shooter experiences that I have encountered in recent memory. The story follows two days in the opening of the US war in Afghanistan through the eyes of various counter terrorist and special forces operatives tasked with finding and eliminating the Taliban. The environments do a good job recreating the look and feel of ramshakle villages and rocky peaks of the Afghanistan countryside that have become strikingly familar from the nightly news over the past 9 years. Firefights are fierce and the game controls are superb with lean/peak, run and slide to cover, and an auto aim element helping you out when needed. The story seemlessly moves from one encounter to the next through dramitic cut scenes that also serve to transform your role into the next character.
Coalition forces preparing for combatElectronic Arts
Like many games, those dramatic and cimematic cut scenes give the single player missions a scripted feel to them. You're not going to have the freedom to roam the environments like you would in a game such as S.T.A.L.K.E.R., but for the most part this goes unnoticed as I found myself wanting to move the game along to find out where the story was taking me. Enemy AI is not very refined and there was more than one occasion when enemies seemed to un-intelligently wander into your sights. That being said the overall difficultly levels are appropriate and give players of all levels enough challenge to make the game enjoyable.
The single player campaign takes approximately 6-7 hours to complete and does have some replayability built in with it's "Tier One" mode that times missions on the hardest difficulty setting. These times are then posted to an online leaderboard where you can compare your skills against others. In addition to rankings for the fastest times there are also leader boards for kill streaks, headshots and more. These feats also serve as time bonuses by freezing mission clock during play.
Two Games for the Price of One The multiplayer portion of Medal of Honor contains four different game modes which includes Team Assault, a basic point based team deathmatch; Sector Control where the two teams fight for control specific areas of the map and holding for points; Objective Raid which is where one team attempts to destroy specific areas on the map while the second team defends and finally Combat Mission, which is an objective based series of missions where your team will either try to gain control or defect five different objective points on the map. Players can choose from one of three classes, a Rifleman, a Special Ops and a Sniper and it also includes the standard leveling system that allows fro players to choose new weapons, upgrades and ability such as calling in surveillance, mortar strikes and more.
Troop helicopters taking fire in Medal of HonorElectronic Arts
Unfortunately, the multiplayer portion of Medal of Honor doesn't follow the lead set by the single player campaign. Developed by DICE, the same developers who have brought us the highly acclaimed Battlefield series of multiplayer first person shooters, it lacks bot the polish and depth of their games as well as some of the key features present in the single player portion. Missing are the lean/peak and the run and slide feature that you become accustomed to relying. The multiplayer portion only contains eight multiplayer maps, three of which are used for Combat Mission leaving just five for the remaining three game modes.
Much like Call of Duty, the Medal of Honor series got it's start as World War II themed first person shooters but as the storylines began to run out and lack luster titles such as Pacific Assault, the Medal of Honor series seemed to fade away as Call of Duty moved into the era of modern military based shooters. It came as no surprise after the success of Activision's Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 that Electronic Arts was looking to counter with their own blockbuster first person shooter. While it's difficult to match the hype and success of Modern Warfare 2, Electronic Arts has delivered a game with a compelling storyline and solid game play even if the mutliplayer doesn't live up to similar games and what we've come to expect.