First person shooters these days seem to have got bored with the World War II setting. Which I think still has a lot to offer also there’s still loads of different war settings that could be used Falklands War anyone? The Battlefield Bad Company Series and the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series show that there is a big demand in terms of sales and player numbers to warrant more games in a modern theme. Medal of Honor have gone and tried to reinvent themselves with a new setting and by taking the same name of their first ever game Medal of Honor (PS1) which was a WWII first person shooter which some would say, me included made FPS shooters on consoles acceptable. The game is set in Afghanistan where Coalition forces (Americans basically) fight insurgents (Taliban)/Opposing forces (OPFOR). The single player game is being built by EA and the multiplayer part is under the wings of DICE which would explain why it might feel familiar to Battlefield veterans.
Medal of Honor’s multiplayer mode, which I played in the open beta feels like a mix between Modern Warfare and Bad Company I will explain why. These games come to mind because the themes, modes and layouts. The difference is that the actual gameplay because of the modes offered in Medal of Honor make it feel fresh.
Like a lot of multiplayer games being killed is an easy thing to do. All the weapons can kill a player with a few shots. You will get used to seeing the screen showing who shot you. There is no kill cam so you have no idea where they shot you from. Also like similar games if you get shot and quickly take cover you can recover your health like real life (not). I like that you can recover your health but what happened to health bars in games. In general thought if you see the flash you are already dead. Try not to stay in the open too long. Positioning, knowing the maps and awareness of your surroundings is important to survival.
Marksmanship and quick reflexes are essential. You’ll need to check your surroundings for movement while also checking for snipers or sneaky players trying to flank you. A good method of finding enemies is to look out for muzzle flashes, which can give away their positions. Also remember to use the mini map to see where your team mates are and when the enemy players shoot they will appear on it too.
One of the modes Combat Mission which you play on the Shahikot mountains map is a dusty, mountainous region with a few buildings to take cover in but mostly its open terrain. The American forces must capture/destroy in specific order certain objectives. The Taliban have to dig in and defend. When I played it I won the round while attacking as the Americans and when we defended next round we won again with the Taliban. This shows that who’s in your team is the more important than any other advances you might have. Successfully defending is more rewarding than attacking because its seems harder and the Taliban are defending their home from the infidels which makes it fun.
The Americans are always on the offensive, and after capturing or destroying an objective, the lines of battle are moved forward for the rest of the round. To successfully win the round as the Americans you want to take each objective within 5 minutes. If you don’t take the earlier objectives quickly you will have less time to take the last point which can be the hardest as the Taliban try to hold till the end. Where you respawn depends on your team and which objective is currently under attack this means that there’s always something happening with no dull moments. The respawn times are always short only about 5 seconds which allows you to get back into the fight quickly and means that getting killed can happen quicker than you would like. The Insurgents will always spawn at the battle lines, the Americans can spawn with their team mates or back at their home base, where you can use a light tank to help your team advance.
The presentation of the game is usually excellent especially with the higher settings. The landscapes look believable and authentic, player models and weapons have believable effects and they feel right to use. The weapons have weight and proper recoil that feels realistic even thought I wouldn’t know my self. All terrain textures are highly detailed and shots fired into rocks and wood have detailed effects. When rockets, grenades and mortar strikes are firing down it gets hectic and hard to see where you are with smoke and other effects in the way. This all adds realism and excitement to the normal shooting.
The Medal of Honor open beta offers three different class types: Rifleman, Special Ops, and Sniper. The problems with these classes is that they feel restrictive. You can’t customise a class from scratch and the weapons you get depend on the class so you can’t have for example a rocket launcher with a sniper if you want. Instead a Rifleman will start with a basic assault rifle, will unlock an extra magazine, red dot scope, a light machine gun, hollow point ammunition in that order. They don’t allow much customisation. There’s a persistent reward system that awards you bonus equipment and weaponry as you get kills and take objectives etc in matches. Awards and medals can be obtained for doing specific achievements. It also tracks your stats so you can see how well or bad you are doing.
Each class gets their equipped primary weapon, a pistol, and a special explosive weapon type such as a gun-mounted grenade launcher, rocket launchers or remotely detonated devices. You can also use a knife for close up kills which I never used in the beta compared to my usual stabbing frenzy in Modern Warfare. You also get a grenade which feels underpowered but I’m no expert. There are also kill streaks which are called score chains which lets you call in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or mortar strikes. These can only be used when you have consecutive kills without biting the dirt.
The core gameplay is very familiar to veterans of similar games which is good and bad. There is a lot that makes it stand out from the crowd such as unique modes and a strong graphical style. If the single player is a long and worthwhile addition compared to the one in Modern Warfare 2 then it could be a better overall package than the previous mentioned game. My only concern is that it’s not going to be revolutionary enough like Call od Duty 4: Modern Warfare was, this game blew people’s expectations and Modern Warfare 2 added more but was generally disappointing and this might just carry the downwards trend of the modern-day war theme even thought they aren’t from the same people. Also the gameplay can feel a bit stiff and cramp sometimes. They should have kept the Taliban name in it and not gave in to the pressure after all its a game and not meant to be real life. I do have respect for the many people who died there but soldiers get money for it, its their job. I just feel sorry for the civilians but bottom line is if films can portray current situations so can games.
It is looking like it could be a worthwhile purchase but I’m gonna wait for the reviews to see if everyone else things its worth playing instead of returning to its competitors. One final thing the animations you see when someone wins a round is pretty awesome but they probably get annoying after a while if they are always the same.