Electronic Arts have just recently released the reboot of their first person franchise Medal of Honor last October 12, 2010 around the world. The game in itself is a reboot of the entire series and will now focus on the modern era, starting with the Afghanistan conflict.
The game is developed by two studios: Danger Close and DICE. Danger handled the single player campaign and DICE of course, handled the development of the Multiplayer part of the game.
The single player campaign starts off with the retrieval of an informant from a town and along the way, various engagements with the enemy forces, taking down enemy encampments, taking over bases and rescuing buddies are some of the missions encountered. EA made sure to impress us by varying the experience of what special forces do in Afghanistan when in an operation. Comparing the game to other contemporaries out in the market (hint, hint: Call of Duty MW2), the in game conversation has the authentic feel, as well as some of the battle plans thought out by the characters are also authentic feeling, as consultants who’ve served from the field in Afghanistan were asked to provide support and giving the game realism.
Graphics wise, the game is similar in quality with Battlefield Bad Company 2. Characters are detailed with their gears and facial features are detailed. Explosions are big, and similar to Bad Company 2, Destruction 2.0 is implemented though unlike Bad Company, destruction is on a smaller scale. There are some graphics inconsistencies like stuff sticking out on the wrong places, and some objects that are suddenly passable. All in all, the graphic’s not too bad nor is it not too good.
Gameplay plays out like other shooters: objectives are given via narrative and in game sequences and we shoot our way there. But the difference in the game is the amount of radio chatter heard, which is very constant. There’s constant conversations with the guys on the ground with the people in the base and on the air providing updates, requesting fire support etc. A nice little feature is the slide/ducking support action. It’s similar to some of the games cover feature and it’s supposed to work well with the peek key (previously found in Medal of Honor Airborne) to peer around corners. Note: If the Microsoft Sidewinder has an additional button/stud on the left side, it would pretty work well, but alas I’m limited to only two and the two commands bounded are only duck and melee. A nice though to some ‘strange’ feature in the Campaign would be the request system of asking for ammunition for your weapon. The premise for asking ammunition is to remove the old MOH pick-ups of weapon ammunition. And for some strange reason, I did notice I can ask for 1000 rounds for my SAW even if an ally have called in that we no longer have ammo . Though there’s a ton of scripted scenes, the firefights are still intense and fun. I like the pacing, switching from different POVs during the game. The characters of the Neptune Team were well covered, however I’d wish for some more action from Wolfpack team soon. And shooting and causing havoc with an Apache is a great stress buster too. However, I’d nitpick on the bungled event scripting and event triggering. I’d sometimes end up behind enemy lines without any enemies spawning only to go back through the same door and spawn enemies around me.
For Multiplayer, it plays out more like a Battlefield game… without the vehicles* (maybe except for a few multiplayer scenarios). We only get three kits: Rifleman, Special Ops and Sniper. Riflemen are kitted up with the M16A4 assault rifle with grenade launcher for US and an AK for the Opfor. If you managed to buy the Tier 1 Edition pack (though I notice that it’s the default package sold in Datablitz these days) you’ll be getting the M60 machinegun. Unlike Modern Warfare 2, which is by far, a gun lover’s game; Medal of Honor sticks to the standard stock M4 rifles for Spec Ops class, M16s for Riflemen, and M21 battle rifles for the snipers. Only through unlocks where weapons can be made available. Unlocked weapons include: better carbines, rifles and long range sniper rifles, as well as light machineguns.
Multiplayer on its part, shares problems similar to Battlefield. I’ll start with my nitpicks. Like Battlefield, players would tend to pick out the kit that has the best killing power. The kit that’s least likely to get killed would be the sniper’s kit, enabling us to shoot a long distances. Another bad side to the game is the tendency of spawn raping the other side, as opposing players can get the upperhand by loitering or camping at the other side’s spawn area and get free kills. During the earlier versions of the multiplayer game, lag has been quite a problem, with grenades skipping across the sky, kills not being made (I’m one of those guys who get bad pings).
Now for the good points. Unlike MW2, there are no bizarre perks like lightweight/marathon that makes a player a speed demon or cold blooded like a ghost. It’s the player’s skill in evading, or setting up his team’s play is important. Smoke Grenades are useful in crossing large areas. The lack of a medic aids in avoiding throwing of med-kits around. They’ve balanced the game with matching weapons appropriate for the 3 classes. Weapon replenishment areas have become strategic and sparse. And with the latest update by EA, they’ve managed to adjust the damage made by weapons, especially the long range sniper rifles (no longer the 1 hit kill weapons as they were before) making kills harder. Also another important feature that made MOH nice is the dedicated server availability.
Medal of Honor is quite a good game to pick up and play. The Campaign is engaging but short, and hopefully we’d see a sequel in the nearest future.
Extra: I bought a book titled: “The Mission, The Men and Me” by Pete Blaber. It details a former SFOD-D (or Delta Force) commander’s philosophy, experience as part of Delta and hi recounting of the events that transpired during the start of the Afghan War. One will be surprised to note some similarities with some missions…. and especially one of the Characters’ codenames whom the author actually used when he was a commander.