Let me just start off by saying that this is one of the best installments that the Medal Of Honor franchise has seen to date. This is the first time that that the series has left the WW2 era, choosing to this time violently blast its way onto the modern battlefield. Medal Of Honor is not as polished as Call Of Duty or even Battlefield: Bad Company, but with a lot of the same people behind both titles, you needn’t look too hard to see the possibilities. When EA said that they were serious about taking the FPS crown from Call Of Duty: people laughed. Yet with the issues at Infinity Ward and the future of that franchise in limbo, people should not be laughing anymore.
The thing that I liked the most about Medal Of Honor was its realism, there were none of the over the top antics that we have come to know and love from Call Of Duty and that may come as a change for gamers because that is what we have come to expect in a FPS. Medal Of Honor challenges that concept head-on with a reality that is brutal, intense, and amazingly non-sensational. The game is absent of over-the-top explosions and epic ending sequences, but oddly I didn’t miss those at all. I found the game surprisingly engaging and unlike many of these games, where you blast your way through and then you’re done, when you are finished with Medal Of Honor you find yourself searching for meaning and understanding in the events that just took place. The brilliant part about this game is that you will and you won’t, it makes sense but perhaps it doesn’t. It’s real, it’s raw, and it’s one hell of a ride.
While the game lacks the kind of clear storyline that most of us are accustomed to, it does manage to get its point across (while creating the kind of characters that you will remember). The game drops you right into the initial days of the invasion of Afghanistan after the events of September 11th. Immediately in an OP that finds you on the hunt to meet up with an informant, who supposedly has valuable intel that the powers that be want to get their hands on. This is supposed to be a routine meet and greet, but of course you get ambushed, and all hell breaks loose.
From this point, you find yourself going from objective to objective, dropping tons of enemies along the way. It is at this point that I think that the game finds it major weakness. You will have the opportunity to play from multiple perspectives (including Tier 1 Operators and Army Rangers) but the battle itself never comes together in what I would call a “cohesive manner” as you never truly understand what you are trying to accomplish overall. Although, that may be no weakness at all and could be exactly what the team at Danger Close intended; to convey lack of clarity that most of the “boots on the ground” folks have as it relates to the bigger picture.
When it comes to gameplay and controls, Medal Of Honor is more than solid. The controls are not an exact match to Call Of Duty, but anyone with FPS experience will catch on quickly. There are several different types of weapons and each responds different with respect to accuracy and recoil. When it comes to replenishing ammo, the game uses a simple system of asking your buddy for a magazine whenever you get low and for the most part they always have some to spare (though depending on which team you are playing as sometimes they will tell you to get your own). The end result of this system is that you really don’t worry about running out of ammo or picking up guns off the ground.
In terms of gunplay the game is solid in most cases, though there is the occasion where you will shoot someone in the head and they don’t die instantly (but that was the exception not the rule!). One of the most realistic points from a weapons perspective was some of the sniping sections. In Medal Of Honor when you target someone’s head through the scope of a high powered sniper rifle and connect their head literally explodes on bullet impact. When most people see it they will think it’s a bit over the top, but folks who know will tell you it’s more realistic than you think and it’s those little pieces of attention to detail that make Medal Of Honor a solid entry into the FPS wars.
While I would say that I thoroughly enjoyed the single player campaign, it was less so with the multiplayer. I was a part of the beta and didn’t like it then and that carried over to the final game. It’s not bad, it’s just not what I am used to and that could be the problem, though the dedicated servers were a nice bit of stability for a PS3 owner who isn’t used to that kind of performance.
In the end, I really enjoyed my time with Mother, Voodoo, Preacher ,Rabbit, Panther, Vegas, Deuce, Dusty and the Army Rangers. I think the folks at Danger Close may be redefining what we feel like a good military FPS is by taking a less is more approach and choosing to focus more on how it really happens in the real world. For game developers it’s a tight rope to walk between maintaining realism while at the same time keeping the gamer entertained, though I think Danger Close is on to something here. The next time around I want them to make more of an effort to create a storyline that is clear and easy to follow though. This game was dedicated to the warfighters and I think that it’s a worthy tribute to those men and women who put themselves in harm’s way everyday so that we can enjoy this thing we call freedom.
Medal Of Honor is no Call Of Duty killer yet, but it definitely has that franchise in its sights and for that ZoKnowsGaming gives Medal Of Honor 8 out of 10.