Medal of Honor has been in the light of public attention lately albeit not for the most positive of reasons. People scathed the fact that you could play as the Taliban, killing US soldiers, whilst others disapproved of the fact it was essentially two games in one. Well now that the game has been out for a good few days, RipTen can give you the truth and nothing but the absolute truth in regards to the quality of the long established series reboot courtesy of Danger Close and DICE.
First established back in 1999, the Medal of Honor series and name became synonymous with quality first person shooter titles that became more and more challenging and story driven as they progressed. When it was announced, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare launched what was becoming a stale franchise into a new and exciting realm. Medal of Honor followed suit albeit a few years later by announcing a reboot of the series in a new, engaging and relevant theatre of war; Afghanistan.
As opposed to a more arcade feel that Call of Duty 4 took to its cinematic campaign, Medal of Honor aims to deliver a true to life experience of a new type of modern day warrior: the Tier 1 Elite soldier, whilst still delivering adrenaline filled moments as you control a soldier of the US Rangers. When playing as the Tier 1 soldiers you engage in smaller more precise actions such as raiding terrorist hideouts, rescuing hostages and even sniping enemy mortar teams from a kilometre away. Then when you swing into the boots of the US Ranger, the gameplay becomes more large scale as you partake in attacks on hillsides, villages and even helicopter assault landings.
Although the two different approaches to the campaign appear to be on the opposite end of the “action scale” per say, they both intertwine with each other at various points, giving a “broader reach” type of feel that I think works extremely well and helps to make the campaign a fully fleshed out experience. One example of this is after completing the well execute AH-64 Apache on-rails segment. A cutscene depicts the chopper crew nearly being fired upon by an anti aircraft gun before the gunner is promptly and professionally killed by a precise shot from one of the Tier 1 operators currently equipped with a Barrett 50 Calibre Sniper Rifle. The camera then pans over to the sniper and you take control of him as you surgically and efficiently eliminate a number of threats on a hillside. Light and innovative moments like this help the Medal of Honor campaign stand out as the best modern combat campaign I have played.
As well as the standard campaign, there is also Tier 1 mode which aims to give players a more competitive and challenging experience. There is one life per level, harder AI and your task is to move through each level as quickly as possible with various actions such as killing enemies with headshots and knifing enemies, taking seconds off your time. Your final score is then added to a global leaderboard, allowing friends and strangers alike to challenge and better each other consistently.
As I mentioned earlier, Medal of Honor is effectively two games merged into one. The single player element was created by Danger Close (A team within LA Los Angeles), whilst the multiplayer was wrangled by DICE, the kings of battlefield destruction, and better known for their work on the Bad Company series. The multiplayer element is fresh and new, yet I can’t help but think that it’s just a poor undercooked expansion to the Bad Company 2 multiplayer. Once again there is a class based approach, with three classes available – Rifleman, Special Ops and Sniper. Each has access to different weapons and each weapon is side specific to either the OPFOR or the Coalition (Although you can unlock the opposing weapons at a higher level). Experience is earned in a generic now commonplace way, which then allows you to level up and unlock additional weapons and attachments to make your weapons better. An example of this is that the sniper rifles don’t start with a Scope, and instead you must level up before you unlock one.
Akin to Call of Duty’s killstreak system, Medal of Honor introduces a new “scorechain” system that rewards players for playing both defensive and offensively. Each scorechain reward is unlocked at a preset point amount, and each battlefield action i.e.: Killing an enemy, scoring a headshot, arming/disarming an objective, rewards players with a set amount of points. When you fill each quota you gain access to either an offensive or defensive reward. The first you had access to is a Mortar Strike or UAV Intel, with the offensive reward being stronger but making you run the risk of getting no additional points, whilst the UAV Intel rewards points but doesn’t offer as strong an incentive. Players aren’t limited to any amount of scorechains in a life and they can be earned continuously.
Graphically Medal of Honor doesn’t disappoint. The game is beautiful to look at and some certain vistas actually made me stop and take a look around for quite some time. Firefights come to life as tracer splashes at the ground around you, the dirt and dust whipping up in the wind. Both enemy and friendly animations look perfect, and both DICE and Danger Close have done a fantastic job rendering the weapons to make them look as authentic as possible. Cut scenes are well done and the exchanges between the Colonel and General evoke a sense of urgency and emotion that I’m not familiar with seeing in most games.
Although I expected this right from the start, Medal of Honor has one of the most immersive and engaging soundtracks and sound mixes out of any shooter I’ve played lately. Bullets whip by you, explosions reverberate through the valleys and your friendly soldiers swear and provide vocal information to what is going on around you. This isn’t lost in multiplayer either, with DICE once again providing a sound palette so good you almost think you’re there. When this is coupled in with the graphics and gameplay, Medal of Honor goes from being a game to an experience any shooter fan should engage themselves with.
In conclusion, Medal of Honor isn’t a Call of Duty killer, but on the same hand it doesn’t set out to be. Scrap the arcade approach, add in the realistic. Take out the “too easy” approach, and add in some actually difficult to master gameplay. That’s how Medal of Honor sets out to feel. Whilst the game launched amidst poor reviews, negative publicity and a whole lot of speculation, it goes on to shine through as one of the best examples of a realistic and immersive shooter campaign in recent times, and gives an amazing jolt of life to one of the best and most established franchises in gaming.
+ Immersive and believable campaign
+ Great reboot to a classic series
– Not enough playtime with Dusty (The dude with the beard)
– Multiplayer feels like a bit of a ripoff. I paid for Medal of Honor, not Bad Company 2…
Medal of Honor was developed by Danger Close/DICE and was published by Electronic Arts for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. The game released worldwide in October of 2010. The game was played til completion in Single Player, with around 25+ hours sunk into Multiplayer. Medal of Honor was played on a PC with 4GB DDR3 RAM, 2 HIS 5750 1GB DDR5 GPU’s in CrossFire, ASUS M4A89GTD PRO EVO Motherboard, AMD Phenom II Quad Core CPU OC’ed to 3.6Ghz and Windows 7 64 Bit. The copy was purchased by the reveiwer.