Looking meaner and leaner than we have ever seen the first person shooter title before, Medal of Honor returns with and eye on capturing the title of the King of Combat
Amidst the furore whipped up by a partisan political crowd close to the games release, Medal of Honor has come out fighting on more fronts than was ever necessary. But will it have the firepower to take on its rivals and the placard-waving brigade? Or will it be just another casualty of war in the battle to wrest the crown from another’s head? Join GamesMediaPro as we go for an action packed tour of duty with the Tier 1 soldiers that are the men and women of Medal of Honor.
In our humble opinion here at GamesMediapro, it is a sorry state of affairs when we are asked to review a videogame only to have to write a paragraph or to countermand the political naysayers and detractors who would have you believe that this game is an insult to our troop’s and allies currently on active duty in Afghanistan. Of course that is the stuff of nonsense and if anything the game is an homage to the men and women who are putting their lives on the line daily for the whims of those very same politicians who now seek to voice their outrage of the actions of ‘cyber soldiers’ based on a conflict of their own making. The word ‘hypocrite‘ instantly jumps to mind, and rightly so. Medal of Honor is no more the political statement that media hungry politician’s claim it to be any more than Super Scribblenauts. In their attempts to highlight the game as such those very same political leaders have only managed to embolden the growing divide between themselves and the common man, woman and child in the street with whom they are so far out of touch not even a Barrett .50 cal would part their oily hair for them. Treat not Medal of Honor as some form of anti Nato propaganda full of hate and despise for our troops, but as it was designed to be: A videogame, nothing more, nothing less.
Oh, and just one more thing Mr Fox. It’s a bloody great game at that!
With that, we come back to reality and finally get to grip’s with what we are all really here for: The review of Electronic Art’s masterclass in first person combat shooters, Medal of Honor. We have been playing the game for around about a week or so now as we did not want the review to be just another call to arm’s for FPS gamers around the world without really getting to heart of the tile and getting a true feel for the multiplayer. Whereas other sites may have had their reviews up since one minute past embargo times we just do not understand how they can truly justify some of their moans and groans about was is, after all, a fantastic title with heart pounding action that grabs you by the seat of your pants the moment you load the game up. How anyone can write a review after a couple of days playing a few multiplayer maps and having a couple of the single player levels under their belts is beyond us? There is just so much going on in Medal of Honor that it requires total immersion of at least a week’s solid gaming before you can give any kind of honest opinion toward EA Games classy shooter. So that is exactly what we did, the resultant review is a testament to the time we have spent in the company of EA’s Tier 1 troopers.
Which brings us nicely to the games’ single player modes, for there is not one but two for players to sink their teeth into a take a delicious bite out of juicy FPS gaming. The first of these two innovative idea’s comes as no surprise in the shape of the standard issue Single Player Campaign. “What makes it so innovative?” we hear you cry. Well, the format may be standard but the storyline and gameplay are anything but. With its far more realistic approach to the dangers faced by frontline troops the world over players will find that long gone are the usual first person shooter stalwart’s of the ‘run and gun’ marine who ploughs headlong into the fray with no thoughts of person safety whilst screaming “hoo-ha Drill Sergeant” at the top of his lungs. The ‘Gung-Ho’ machismo of other titles in the combat shooter genre have been replaced with ever more true-to-life tactic’s where soldiers know only to well that he who pop’s his head out from behind cover will find a new ventilation hole appearing in said cranial region very quickly. Players have to think a lot more in Medal of Honor, and the all to familiar pattern of jumping to avoid bullets and gunfire as a form of defence tactic just makes for an amusing spot of target practice for enemy soldiers, as it would in real-life situations.
With the game developers Danger Close taking the Medal of Honor name out of its usual WWII setting for the first time in its history we are plunged into a modern-day story of frontline combat in the hill’s and surrounding area’s of war-torn Afghanistan. The tale opens as we join our squad of Tier 1 operatives as they search the city of Gardez following a bungled operation to secure vital intelligence. The games’ plot centres around the exploits of this band of brothers as they are taken from one hellish situation to another in ravaged locations that stretch from Bagram to the outlying regions in and around Shahikot. Fun for all the family this is not as the men are subjected to every worse case scenario for a soldier that he could ever possibly hope wish to avoid. las avoidance is not on the agenda for the Tier 1 troop’s as they must fight their way into and out of every such situation.
The single player campaign is a tightly strung affair with genuinely stunning gameplay that will, at times, have the player forgetting that they are sitting at home in front of the television and not on some bullet-ridden battlefield on the Afghan plains. The characters are strong without going into ancestral history and family tree back story. The gameplay is particularly thrilling and handles very well. The realism of the games sound effects will se you dodging rounds as they ping off rocks and wrecks of fallen transport aircraft as you gape in amazement at some of the lush panoramic vista’s that stretch our in front of you like a picture postcard from a travel agent.
Th HuD offers up easy to follow objectives, and it is only thanks to the realism served up by the graphic’s that make up your surrounding environment hat will se you looking around from time to time for the direction that you should be heading as unlike other games there are not shimmering markers or blatantly open areas for you to skip off into the sunset towards. This is war, and its dangerous and its confusing. If you are stuck on an Afghan hillside somewhere then you are going to be frantically searching for a way out, what you don’t get is the Thompson Tour Guide springing up announcing, ‘.. the bus for Shihakot leaves at the third crater on the left in five minutes..’ work it out people, the game is designed to simulate the real life battlefields of country torn apart by war. Signposts may well have been destroyed at some point along the way, don’t you think?
The weapons that are on offer in Medal of Honor are all genuine military rifles, machine guns and small arms. Not to mention larger rocket-propelled grenades and bazooka’s. There are some great times to be had experiencing the different calibres on offer and as we stated earlier Danger Close have done a fantastic job on the games soundings so that every time you pull the trigger the resultant sound is as it should be. Vehicles are also available with a jaunt on the ATV’s a particular high point in the game. The weapons are all upgradeable, especially in the multiplayer sections of the game, but in single play it is more a case of make do with what you have. A far better and more realistic affair as you wouldn’t exactly have arms dealer on hand to assist you in obtaining a few silencers or bigger bore rifles as you sit curled up on a hillside with a goat to keep warm.
Although many have whinged on that the campaign is over fairly quickly, it can be beaten in under six hours if you ignore everything but the enemy in front of you, the fact of the matter is that the campaign has four settings and is a joy to play multiple times. Especially on your way to that all-important Platinum Trophy or 1000 gamerscore.
But where the game may be short for the single play experience, it has an ace up its sleeve with the addition of the bonus, and let’s face it brilliant, Tier 1 mode. In the Tier 1 mode players get to enjoy the single player campaign all over again, however, this time with a huge twist. Rather than allowing for checkpoints and multiple lives EA and Danger Close have introduced an online single player campaign that allows gamers one chance to take on all the levels of the single player game in a timed-run that gives points for and bonuses for impressive marksmanship and ingenuity in the heat of battle. So what you are actually left with is a competitive arcade style experience that has so much replay value that this is one of the major factors in our delay at writing the review. It is just so addictive and exhilarating. A true gem in the Medal of Honor crown. Everything about the Tier 1 mode in Medal of Honor screams quality at you, and based on the fact that we have already told you just how good the games sound effects are, when you play as a Tier 1 trooper you best wear some ear muffs as that screaming is loud.
Thus we arrive at the multiplayer. Where most FPS titles will live and die. Will Medal of Honor survive, or will it fall in a hail of machine gun chatter? To tell you the truth, the game does have a few niggles, we are not going to try to decieve you by saying that there are no teething problems and that we are hoping that they will be addressed sooner rather than later. But when you put these niggles up against the vast amount of positives in the game you have to agree that Medal of Honor is a born survivor. The multiplayer is fast, furious and fantastic. The maps are immense and there are some great modes for you to enjoy along the way. Customization offers up a nice variety of weaponry and perks, and the opposing sides have enough differences about them to offer up valid reasons to favour one or the other without having to resort to patriotism. There is already a cracking free to download add-on that increases you love of the game, and you will love it, as well as your arsenal.
So at the end of the day have EA done enough to keep alive the Medal of Honor franchise and see the resurrected game emerge as a true contender in the fiercely competitive first person shooter market? Will, quite frankly, yes they have. Medal of Honor is the perfect antidote to all those FPS blues that have come from spending hours in the company of the markets only other true ranked contender. Whether or not the multiplayer will stay at the scale that it is in future outings or whether it will opt for the far superior feel and handling of the Tier 1 mode is open to debate, but we seriously think that if EA decide to make the multiplayer look and play as good as the Tier 1 mode in the series next offering, then they could well sweep away the competition and take the crown for their own.
Graphics: At times it felt so real that you would mistakenly believe that you really were in Afghanistan. Visually entertaining and graphically superior to any other offering from the series Medal of Honor has returned to be a serious contender in the FPS market. Very easy on the eye and in places stunning 8
Gameplay: The games cornerstone for success. We have, as we stated earlier, been enjoying this title for around a full week now and are still looking to reach for its case whenever we have half an hour free. Quite simply a great game with exceptional handling. Very little in the way of hang ups, glitches or bugs and basically as good if not better than anything else out there on the market. 9
RePlay Value: With a cracking single player campaign, a multiplayer mode that will have you begging for more and a the inclusion of the simply epic Tier 1 mode we can safely say that you may want to keep your copy of Medal of Honor close to your console to save you the trouble of having to reach up onto high shelves to retrieve every night as you will be playing the game a lot! With DLC already released and more on the way its a sure-fire winner that has left EA Games on top of the charts again. 9
Presentation: When all is said and done EA have managed to bring back this much-loved series and they have done it so well that we have a feeling that it won’t be long that Medal of Honor is the game everyone is trying to emulate. The PS3 version that we reviewed also has the bonus content of the remastered Frontline version and for this we take our hat off to EA for filling up the additional Blu Ray space with some genuine quality and not ‘Making Of’ documentaries that will turn away customers. A truly great game with so much replay value that it is falling out of its pocket and causing games behind it to slip and fall over on its success. Medal of Honor is back not with a bang but with a boom! There is new sheriff in town, gamers. His name is Tier 1. 9