Medal of Honor Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3PC
Medal of Honor screenshot
Medal of Honor screenshot

Danger Close has a real knack for nailing their environments, however. The hills, mountains and tunnels of Afghanistan are well realised and consistently entertaining to trek over. There are also some exemplary weather effects, ensuring these environments are dangerous and hostile in spite of your fancy night vision goggles and scoped weaponry. It also helps that the sound design is uniformly stellar, from the uncanny radio chatter to the noise of the weapons and, yes, those mandatory big-budget explosions.

The atmosphere is furthered by the reliance on distant confrontations. Combat is rarely handled up close, with firefights routinely spanning the lengths of Afghanistan's rocky valleys and mountainous expanses. This makes your scope invaluable, and turns enemies into little more than faraway muzzle flashes hidden in plumes of mist, snow and dust. This is an altogether more realistic take on warfare, perhaps, but it's also a game element that starts to become a little wearisome and homogeneous after the umpteenth time.

The narrative is perhaps more successful than the experience of playing through it. I can often see what Danger Close is trying to achieve; there's a repeated suggestion that life is valuable and the loss of a fellow soldier is a big deal. That's something I can get on board with, but the message becomes a little twisted when you realise you're shooting your way through what feels like the entire population of Afghanistan as if they were little more than ambiguous meat puppets. No amount of fancy opening and closing quotes is going to do much to alleviate that.

The obvious argument in the game's defence is that war is, you know, like that. But the need to inflate the enemy numbers beyond realistic proportions - literally into the hundreds in some of the game's bigger moments - inadvertently creates an experience that feels a bit confused and disjointed regarding the sanctity of life.

Some of its other story decisions have the potential to offend, too. Military generals are painted as bumbling, disconnected idiots, while every soldier on the ground is unquestionably a valiant hero. EA opens itself to these criticisms because its design pitch revolves around the concept that Medal of Honor, unlike its contemporaries, is an altogether more realistic and genuine take on war. While these claims feel accurate at times, at others you're left scratching your head and wondering who decided such a bold statement was ever a good idea.

At least the inclusion of the bearded Tier 1 operatives feels genuine. You do feel like you're part of an elite group of commandos barrelling over the country in ATVs and performing dangerous operations - and you should, too, seeing as how Tier 1 squads Neptune and Wolfpack take centre stage in seven of the game's ten levels. The characters speak with suitably cold precision, dishing out reams of dense military lingo as if it was their native language, and they feel just as detached as the player who, from years of gratuitous shooters, now feels nothing anymore when popping off a target's head with a Barrett .50 cal.

Occasional discrepancies in tone don't affect the overall experience, however. Danger Close should be commended for its bold intentions, but sadly the campaign doesn't quite live up to its potential. The magnitude of its controversies could be seen as mere attention-grabbing antics - something to help the game stand up to the might of Call of Duty - but in reality Medal of Honor tries to tell a story without resorting to the silly and incongruous tricks of its contemporary market. It's just a shame it doesn't tell it a little better.

Bridging the gap between single and multiplayer is Tier 1 mode, which completely disregards any attempts at creating narrative and authenticity to make way for speed runs and online leaderboards for each campaign level. It's absurdly difficult, but that's part of the charm; I've found myself unable to resist chipping away at one particular scenario (to no avail, sadly) for the last few days.

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Highest Rated Comment

squidman's Avatar

squidman

Cheers for all the comments, chaps. Much appreciated.
Posted 17:40 on 12 October 2010

User Comments

guideman62's Avatar

guideman62

Martin, you've just become my favorite reviewer. Excellent review. Although I agree 99% with your comments, I still give Medal of Honor an 8. MOH's Multiplayer is what I like the most. Map design is excellent overall. Comparable to BBC2 and better than MW2. Can't wait to try out the new DLC soon.

PS: Such a complete and in-depth review like that means you deserve a raise!
Posted 03:43 on 20 October 2010
p0rtalthinker's Avatar

p0rtalthinker

I'd already made my decision of whether or not to get this game (which was to pass), but this was still a great read nontheless Martin :P
Posted 22:59 on 12 October 2010
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx

Good review Martin, cracking read. GT5 it is then!!!!

Might give this a whirl when I can get it cheap.
Posted 21:47 on 12 October 2010
omfg-bbq's Avatar

omfg-bbq@ Bloodstorm

Calm down now time for beddy byes.
Posted 21:44 on 12 October 2010
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

Heh, i told you! I TOLD YOU! SOME SAID I WAS MAD BUT NOW LOOK AT ME!!!!!
Posted 21:43 on 12 October 2010
Ghost_Dog's Avatar

Ghost_Dog

I'm still disappointed by the Frontline HD port.

Would have liked to storm the Normandy beach in 720p.
Posted 20:42 on 12 October 2010
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius@ SexyJams

I wouldn't panic if it is after all 7 is still a decent score just not a must own. Which is why most of us are saying if we pick it up it'll be when it lowers in price.
Posted 20:34 on 12 October 2010
Neon-Soldier32's Avatar

Neon-Soldier32@ SexyJams

But, but, you'll only get one playthrough of Enslaved D:
Posted 20:33 on 12 October 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Jesus!
I just asked for this for my MOTM game.
I've just changed it to Enslaved though now.
Hope it's not too late.
Posted 20:22 on 12 October 2010
Mr_Ninjutsu's Avatar

Mr_Ninjutsu@ Karlius

Clearly haven't understood what I have said then. Oh well.

I'm still getting it and i will enjoy it. I know i will because i didn't shoot it down straight away like others have done.
Posted 19:20 on 12 October 2010
omfg-bbq's Avatar

omfg-bbq@ reynoldio

Who sold you thoose mushrooms?
Posted 18:46 on 12 October 2010
reynoldio's Avatar

reynoldio@ Neon-Soldier32

Martin only turns up for the big games, he'd suck at a review for Front Mission Evolved as he wouldn't take it seriously, thinking all he has to do is turn up and you'll beat West Brom but when a team sets itself up to be solid defensively you NEED TO FIND A WAY TO BREAK THROU...

*cough*

Think I'll go and have a little rest.
Posted 18:45 on 12 October 2010
clangod's Avatar

clangod

Quote:
With any luck, no little kids will get it because "It's not CoD LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL"

Lol alright! That would actually be a big selling point for me.
Posted 18:43 on 12 October 2010
Neon-Soldier32's Avatar

Neon-Soldier32

Im not sure what was pointed out as bad enough for a 7, or what was what was pointed out about the sound.

Nice review though, disappointing though. Although, I will wait to make up my own mind on it. With any luck, no little kids will get it because "It's not CoD LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL"

Which should make for a better online experience at least

Also, will Martin be reviewing all the big games?
Posted 18:40 on 12 October 2010
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius@ Mr_Ninjutsu

To be honest you did just leave yourself wide open to it lol.
Posted 18:25 on 12 October 2010

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Medal of Honor
7
Out of 10
Medal of Honor
  • Lots of content.
  • Sound is brilliant.
  • Forgettable multiplayer.
  • Forgettable campaign.
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 15/10/2010
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC
Developer: EALA
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: First Person Shooter
Rating: PEGI 18+
Site Rank: 1,964
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