Medal of Honor Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3PC

Picture the scene: You're creeping through an Afghan wadi, covering your squad mates' approach with suppressive fire on an enemy machine gun encampment. Dust is being kicked up by running and bullets, and the piecing glare of the red-hot sun is so bright it makes looking far into the horizon impossible. You're a long way from home, soldier, and the emotional toll must surely be immense. As you zero your sights on another distant bogey you gently squeeze the trigger before being greeted by a big ol' headshot notification icon popping up at the bottom of the screen. This is war.

Medal of Hono(u)r enters the crowded shooter market with lofty ambitions: it wants to realistically present the current conflict raging in Afghanistan, and in doing so it has become the most controversial game of 2010. But developer Danger Close's contentious desires are often hindered by Medal of Honor having to concurrently act as a video game, and it's in this back-and-forth between tone and game that the whole product suffers its biggest blow.

What you need to understand about the new Medal of Honor, you see, is that many of its core events play out like its contemporaries. The first level ends with a carbon copy of Call of Duty 4's iconic, slow-motion pistol headshot, for instance, and the second level has you causing a ruckus in an aircraft graveyard less than a year after Price and Soap shot their way through one in Modern Warfare 2.

This aesthetic familiarity is a bit of a shame, as when Danger Close designs set pieces around the currently unexplored avenues of modern combat the result is far more spectacular. One notable highlight arrives in the middle of the game, when you and your NPC cohorts are garrisoned inside a dilapidated house that is progressively blown to smithereens by enemy fighters. The massive scope of the action is refreshing: rolling mountains completely surround you and huge concentrations of Taliban fighters bundle over the horizon. By the time the confrontation ends you can see the whites of your opponents' eyes and your house has been reduced to a single, broken slither of wall. It's an absolutely thrilling sequence.

The problem, however, is that such moments are few and far between. Over the length of the game's six-hour campaign there are only a handful of events that get the blood pumping, with the rest having you do little more than take potshots at distant enemies with high-tech weaponry. Major events are heavily signposted, and too many instances place you behind invisible walls (or in front of a door that only your AI sidekick can open) until you've dispatched the current screen of baddies. Much of the best spectacle is packed into the first few missions, as the game takes you from a top-notch opening to a slightly underwhelming and abrupt finale.

Even the equipment selection is a little sparse. Ammo for your guns is only ever a button press away, with supplies infinitely bandied out by any of your sidekicks. For this reason you're hardly ever likely to switch out from your default selection, which consists of the precise M14-EBR, all-rounder M4A1 and, occasionally, the sweeping destruction of the PKM - all familiar tools to an FPS aficionado, familiarly implemented. You can, of course, pick up weapons from your fallen enemies, but yours are always better so you won't bother. The onus is supposed to be on the people holding the guns, rather than the weapons themselves, but it would have been nice to have a little bit more versatility made available.

And while your Tier 1 fellows and occasional group of Rangers feel like they want to stay alive, perhaps shooting their way through this mess so that they can get back to a nice little house in the suburbs with a cute little picket fence and a tasteful American flag waving proudly in the autumnal breeze, your Al-Qaeda enemies roam around like mindless AI drones. The complete inability for the opposing force to preserve its life feels remarkably out of place - and kind of ruins the end result a bit, too.

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User Comments

Wido's Avatar

Wido@ draytone

I am getting it! Not all is lost just yet... :laugh:
Posted 18:20 on 12 October 2010
Mr_Ninjutsu's Avatar

Mr_Ninjutsu@ Karlius

"Talk about conflicting ones own opinion."

That response was totally expected lol
Posted 18:11 on 12 October 2010
squidman's Avatar

squidman

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

Wido

Gosh! What a read Martin. Great in-depth review which I wasn't expecting! I enjoyed the read and regardless of the outcome of your experience with the game. I'm still excited to be getting the game this week. I liked Medal Of Honour: Frontlines, when COD came along with its World War stories. COD did it for me and MoH didn't have say in things pretty much after that. The last proper MoH game I have played was Rising Sun. Now that was very good. Its nice to see that MoH is taking up the present day action.

Still sounds like a game I will enjoy. I really enjoyed the beta to MoH and I'm getting hyped up for it.

Great review Martin. Even though I have already said it. :laugh:
Posted 17:30 on 12 October 2010
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius@ Ghost_Dog

That's what I thought :) Pop ups are small too was only cause I was really looking I saw. Say it's prob down to capturing as PS3 is pretty good at preventing screen tear.
Posted 17:26 on 12 October 2010
Ghost_Dog's Avatar

Ghost_Dog

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karlius
It's PS3 mate can tell by pop ups and Martins whining about the PS3 pad

Cheers mate. I only caught a glimpse without sound at work. I hate screen-tearing.
Posted 17:04 on 12 October 2010
clangod's Avatar

clangod

Good read. I like that Martin isn't afraid to tell it like he see's it without fear that readers who expected so much from the game feel like he should sugar coat it to make it easier to stomach.

I did have high hopes for MoH. I can admit that I wanted it to do better than CoD because I'm so over the whole CoD thing it's not funny. I have a lot of faith in DICE and the Frostbite engine is great however it really is no surprise that the smaller maps make the Frostbite engine a bit restricted. That said, I also think there is definitely a game worth playing here just that too many chickens were counted before the eggs hatched.

I was going to pick this up, in fact I have an alarm set on the missus's mobile for Thursday morning so she could pick it up after work. At least now I'm not too worried if she ignores the alarm becasuse realistically I don't need MoH. I don't really see myself playing another MP bar BC2 (hurry up Vietnam!!!) and the camaign can now wait until the price drops or as I'd previously decided, borrow it from a mate.
Posted 16:39 on 12 October 2010
draytone's Avatar

draytone

Yeah, well at the moment it only looks like Dev and myself are getting it!
Posted 16:17 on 12 October 2010
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius@ draytone

Still be good to hear your thoughts on SP mate and anyone else that's played through!
Posted 16:15 on 12 October 2010
draytone's Avatar

draytone@ dav2612

Fair do's :)
Posted 16:13 on 12 October 2010
dav2612's Avatar

dav2612@ draytone

Far from it. I've played more FPS games than anything else this generation and enjoyed many but that might be the problem, I think I've reached the 'been there, done that' stage.

This is indeed a different game to Bad Company 2, but it's another War themed shooter and after Modern Warfare, World at War, Modern Warfare 2 and the original Bad Company, I think I need a break.
Posted 16:06 on 12 October 2010
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius@ Mr_Ninjutsu

There is no high profile modern game that played that badly. If anything I'd compare it to Army of 2 - 40th Day but it's hard to compare as its somewhat a different genre other than that COD2 but that wouldn't be fair as graphically its far superior. I put that mainly down to it being a proper Beta. I've played a lot of proper Beta's in my time and all are a work in progress so I envisage the final cut to be better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Butters
Too many reviewers look and review games comparing it to existing games when what's the point?

Then in the same fricking thread not even somewhere else or different time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Butters
If you can't compare a game to another game then your bust by my opinion.

Your comment is nonsense by the way cause I could say this:

It's like MW but Sh!t and then we are back to where we started and what you didn't want to hear. Talk about conflicting ones own opinion.

@PB Multiplayer is FrostBite and Campaign is Unreal Engine. It's why the campaign has feedback/decent collision detection and Multiplayer doesn't they didn't have much time really. I presume numerous patches/updates depending on it's retail success.
Posted 16:02 on 12 October 2010
pblive's Avatar

pblive@ mikejosh1978

I thought this was using the Frostbite engine?
Posted 15:57 on 12 October 2010
mikejosh1978's Avatar

mikejosh1978

After reading a handfull of reviews the sp is getting a bit trashed for trying to be in the here & now but trying to be sensitive to its subject matter & the graphics are taking a hit along with the Online .
I feel the graphics are due to Unreal Engine 3 in sp which compared to Dice's Frosbite Engine will be inferior.
The Online is aiming to bridge the Mw / BC2 divide & as a big BC2 fan & a naysayer of the Mw rinse & repeat online , from what i can gather this does things different & more power to it . The kill cam criticism i really feel is un-warranted as Mw2's makes the noob shootin a clip in your heel or tubing you just annoyed & the BC2 cam / general direction made the deaths you suffered feel like random events , so by just doing away with it makes for 'old school' gaming & doesn't make you scream he shot me in th toe & i died like you would with the other 2 lol.
Posted 15:56 on 12 October 2010
pblive's Avatar

pblive@ Mr_Ninjutsu

I don't compare games to my bust. It's just not big enough.

Thing is, I feel oversaturated by War games at the moment. Happy to still play through BC2 and wait to see what the new COD is like. Also sounds like Frontlines didn't get ported across very well to PS3.
Posted 15:56 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: 4,277
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