Early in the Wii's life I didn't have much faith in the Wii Remote as a tool for good first-person shooters. Then Metroid Prime 3 came along and re-wrote the rule book on Wii FPS control, bringing with it hope that the genre could have success on the Wii. Now, considerably later than it arrived in the US, Wii owners have Medal of Honor Heroes 2 from EA - a game that tries to be both a first-person shooter and a light-gun shooter. Is it another FPS for Wii owners to get excited about?
In short, kind of. Anyone who played the awkward to control Medal of Honor Vanguard on Wii will be pleased to hear that Heroes 2 features a completely reworked control scheme. You use the Nunchuck to move and the Wii Remote to aim, but the key is how you can lock on to enemies using the Z button. Sadly this is only available on the game's lowest difficulty setting and doesn't allow you to aim within this locked on zone, so the game essentially becomes nothing more than pressing Z and then holding fire down. Aiming without the lock-on takes things in the other direction, with targeting becoming really tricky. Given Metroid Prime 3's rather excellent control scheme it's disappointing that Heroes 2 didn't follow suit.
With some persistence you can get pretty good with the Wii Remote controls and they really are a big step up from Vanguard. Still, is the game itself any good? Although a long way from the modern FPS experiences you might have become accustomed to on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, this latest Wii effort from EA isn't bad and benefits from being quite fast paced and action packed. Heroes 2 is more reminiscent of the Medal of Honor games on the PlayStation 2, which while dated today is acceptable on the Wii. The biggest let down is the size of the levels, which are pretty small and result in each level feeling a little like you're playing on a set rather than in a real location.
The action doesn't last very long either, with the WWII era campaign being done and dusted in no more than five hours, and that's with some fairly annoyingly placed checkpoints that force you to replay sections over and over again should you die. In an attempt to give the game appeal outside of the series' usual fans, EA has included an Arcade mode which is essentially a light-gun shooter. Using the Wii Zapper here works pretty well, with the game handling all player movement. It's a decent effort, but it's clear that the levels weren't designed to be played this way from the start.
In most Wii games you'd be lucky to get a throwaway multiplayer mode as a token gesture, hardly worth the ink used to print the feature on the back of the box, but Heroes 2 features a very impressive online multiplayer mode for up to 32 players - a number that even dwarfs most other home console shooters. Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Infiltration game types are available, although plain old Deathmatch is the only game type I could get a game in - even during peak hours not many people are playing online.
How the game plays online depends entirely on the connection quality of the host and the number of players in the game. I was sadly unable to get a smooth game when more than 20 players were in the map, but when numbers dropped to around 12 things became very playable. If you can put up with some lag then the larger games are an option, but prepare for a lot of player warping.
Given that the Wii game has been developed in conjunction with the PSP version, I expected the worst visually, and sadly I was proven right. Medal of Honor Heroes 2 looks about on par with an average looking PlayStation 2 game, and certainly doesn't push the Wii at all. While this looked great on the PSP screen, on your TV things look a little drab and uninspiring.
Audio work is also solid, with the trademark Band of Brothers-esque musical score once again accompanying the action. Production values aren't nearly as high as seen in the most recent next-gen efforts, but cutscenes feature decent voice work and load times are fairly minimal. New to the Wii game are numerous motion control gameplay elements, but they aren't key to the gameplay and only really add novelty value to the experience.
Although the controls in this Wii version of Medal of Honor Heroes 2 are superior to those in the PSP version (if you can get the hang of them), I found myself having more fun with the handheld game. The small levels certainly felt more at home there and the visuals impressed compared to what else the PSP had to offer. On Wii expectations are quite rightly a fair bit higher, and while Heroes 2 isn't a bad game it fails to be the great FPS we wanted it to be.