Medal of Honor – The PS3 Attitude Review
Medal of Honor was one of the first and most revered first-person shooter franchises to hit game consoles. That’s partially why it was so sad to see the franchise tumble downhill as time went on. Now it’s back with a brand new look and feel, and both Danger Close and DICE have come along with it. With them, they bring hopes of successfully rebooting this storied franchise.
Even if you have no interest in this game, you’ve no doubt heard all of the controversy that was surrounding it up until now. EA decided to implement the Taliban in to the multiplayer section of the game, and the entire world went ape shit over it.
EA stood their ground for the longest time, gaining the respect of a large portion of the gaming industry, before misplacing their spine and folding like a lawn chair. They eventually would change the name of the Taliban characters in all multiplayer modes to ‘opposing force,’ which apparently is much better, even though the look and function of the middle-eastern soldiers did not change.
Gutless tactics aside, EA did deliver on their promise of rebooting the Medal of Honor franchise. So without further ado, let’s dig in, shall we?
Medal of Honor’s campaign started out a bit rough for us. The first few missions were plagued with game-breaking glitches. On numerous occasions, we had to stop and reload a checkpoint because the game simply wouldn’t progress, or because one of the A.I. characters became stuck in an animation or on a map texture and couldn’t proceed.
Luckily, it only got better from there. The thing the campaign did the best was variety. Albeit a very short affair, Danger Close gave us a lot of different things to do during our run towards the ending credits. One minute we were flying through mountain valleys on ATV’s, the next we were blowing up a Taliban village with apache choppers, and then we were taking out mortars with a long range sniper rifle.
With all those different elements to partake in, it’s a shame the game only lasted for 5 hours. It’s also a shame the game was so easy. We’re not exactly masters of FPS’s but if we wanted an even remotely difficult challenge, we had to play on hard. Also a disappointment is the failed execution of the game’s plot. It’s actually very good they implemented all those different gameplay elements because we sure weren’t playing through the campaign for the forgettable story.
The developers tried to combat the length of the game by offering ‘Tier 1 mode’. In Tier 1 mode, the difficulty is taken to its highest point and then you have only a short amount of time to clear each mission. This is a neat idea, especially when paired with an arcade-style scoring system, but its entertainment value was very short lived.
As we moved on to the on-line portion of the game, we were excited to see four different 24-player game modes. Also rousing was the addition of a somewhat deep ranking system for each individual solider class and a lot of in-game ribbons, medals, guns and attachments to be earned.
The multiplayer certainly bested the single player as far as the fun factor goes, but it didn’t come without its own hiccups. Server issues overwhelmed a number of the matches we took part in. Games ending prematurely without capturing our stats and many failed attempts to find a match put a real sore spot on the implementation. Luckily, when we did get in to a solid room, we were probably ok for a while, as the games stayed nice and full.
With that being said, if there was a video game equivalent for the word ‘par’ it would be Medal of Honor’s multiplayer. Because that’s exactly what it achieves; Average – no more and no less. It handled well and all of the game modes were fun to play but there’s nothing here that hasn’t been done before. Even the one thing Medal of Honor does that’s unique – the score chains – are based off an idea their main competitor has almost perfected already.
All of this would be forgivable if the game had really tight mechanics, extremely accurate hit detection or no noticeable bullet-lag… but it doesn’t. Every aspect is simply mediocre and none of them succeed in besting their competitor’s.
Graphically speaking, the most impressive thing about Medal of Honor is that the single player and multiplayer look so much alike, since they’re using different engines. Danger Close and DICE did a great job making sure there was no noticeable visual difference in the two modes, but at the same time, neither of them looked all that spectacular.
Textures, frame rate and screen tearing were not too much of a concern, but some of the snow, fog and dust effects looked really cheap and tacked on. Also, be prepared to look at a lot of jagged edges if you’re playing on a larger HDTV.
The sound design is both a high point and a low point of the game. Everything from the gunfire and explosions to the screaming of soldiers on the battlefield sounded good, but some of the effects felt borrowed. We actually heard some soldier chatter in the multiplayer, as well as a few other ambient noises, that were also used in Battlefield: Bad Company 2.
This was really a missed opportunity because those effects really helped to flesh out the atmosphere, yet this is just another area where Medal of Honor failed to set itself apart from other titles in the same genre.
Overall, we did walk away from Medal of Honor somewhat pleased but it really left us wanting more. It’s a game that fails to deliver its own identity and thus, fails at creating an experience people will remember. This reboot of the franchise is certainly not a total loss and there’s a lot they can build on from here, but we were really hoping for something greater. If you’re a big time Call of Duty or Battlefield fan that’s looking for another option, you may want to wait until the next installment.