Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Game Review – Medal of Honor

Format: PS3, Xbox 360, PC

‘’Not another FPS!’’ I hear you say, I understand and sympathise with your pain readers because without a doubt, the FPS genre is the most flooded and competitive genre in our current catalogue of games. In order to drag a gamer away from his comfort zone i.e. Halo or Call of Duty, a game must deliver on numerous fronts, to an excellent standard. We have seen games such as Solidarity and Metro 2033 come out with bold statements that in their own right, offered something a little different to the market from the usual war simulator. The fictional angle is pretty much useless here because Medal of Honor is set in modern day Afghanistan and implements this to try and get ahead of its competitors. Fortunately, it does so admirably, bringing a decent campaign that shines with realism and authenticity to the table, alongside a very competitive and engaging multiplayer brought to you by D.I.C.E, the guys behind Battlefield: Bad Company 2’s online experience. With a few issues hampering the overall package including disappointing enemy AI and some map restrictions, you will find yourself slightly perplexed as to why such small issues were not resolved to sand down the rough edges of what could have been a top end video game experience.

Being tasked with the elimination of Taliban forces in Afghanistan is a powerful and exciting prospect for a video game story. Medal of Honor really brings guts to the table by portraying a very sensitive and scrutinised war scenario. Nevertheless, upon entering the varied terrain, you find yourself immersed in a team of professional soldiers ready to take on and complete their missions with deadly accuracy. The life-like portrayal of combat and the representation of conflict between the two sides is given a proper sense of realism, simply because you know that this has been a serious issue in real life. This really gives Medal of Honor a strong backbone for its campaign and allows you to overlook the lacklustre enemy AI on lower difficulty levels and the limited ability to explore the environments. You will find yourself controlling varied characters throughout, all of which engage with the story in a cohesive manner while at the same time providing top of the line voice acting and narrative. A noteworthy shining star amidst Medal of Honor’s campaign is the incredibly challenging Tier One Mode. This particular game type pits you against the clock in completing campaign missions, trying to score the quickest times and most kills etc while being monitored and recorded onto leaderboards. This certainly helps up the difficulty of the campaign and if you have the persistency and will to give this a go, you will find a whole load of satisfaction in accomplishing these incredibly difficult missions. Everything screams realism as Medal of Honor tries to capture your mind in what really feels like a strategic military effort.

For the more competitive gamers out there who don’t need campaign modes, fear not for Medal of Honor has one of the most respected design companies paving the way for a fantastic multiplayer experience. Those of you who loved the challenging and compelling online action of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 will get a real kick out of taking the similar ride that is Medal of Honor online. D.I.C.E, the geniuses behind the framework for that particular style of FPS took the reigns to create another dramatic, engaging and furiously paced competitive scene. You can participate in various well-known game-types with up to 24 players per game, using one of three different classes, each with their own upgrades, weapon enhancements and play-styles. D.I.C.E are very much known for their realism and difficulty curves, so prepare for a frantic but fair experience should you choose to play online. It is a welcome addition to any FPS game to see varied and decent sized maps, fair and balanced weaponry and little that can be classified as cheap. Medal of Honor online is certainly no walk in the park, so you better get good and get good fast. Once that initial phase of getting destroyed is over and you acquire some skill, there is a rewarding upgrade system awaiting you that helps keep the experience fresh and well worthy of continuous replay.

From a technical perspective Medal of Honor does very well with its terrain visuals and character models. The colour scheme is a little bland but this is partly due to Afghanistan not being a Mediterranean Forest of colours. Vocals and narrative are for the most part intriguing and well done as mentioned before and the sound of war is certainly realistic and action packed as you hear bombardments and missile strikes. All of this mixed in with believable technical jargon from your teammates really engrosses you in the Afghanistan mission effort.

Ultimately Medal of Honor does not actually bring anything new to the table, so if you are looking for something completely different, this is not for you. However, it does implement realism unlike any of the current modern shooters, so if a more life-like shooter simulator sounds appealing to you, it is very hard to go wrong here. To put it simply, it is a game with a good campaign and a great multiplayer, I’m not going to be fancy about it and coat them with other big words. It is hard to get excited about Medal of Honor especially if you already have Call of Duty, Battlefield 2 or Halo Reach in your systems and honestly, they warrant your attention before this does. There’s very little wrong with Medal of Honor, on the contrary, it does certain things like the most important asset; online multiplayer, brilliantly. But as a package it just doesn’t stand out over the competition. It certainly is a hard time to bring FPS’s to the market so we can acknowledge that Medal of Honor is certainly a good attempt, but just not special enough unfortunately.

Technical presentation – 8.0
Graphics – 7.5
Game-play – 7.5
Replay value – 8.0

Final score – 7.5 / 10

Igor, CeX UK Contributor
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