Medal of Honor has seen it’s share of mixed reviews over the past month or so. Not only was there negative press surrounding Hollow Tip ammo being used in the beta, but there was also controversy surrounding the Taliban faction you were able to play in the online Multiplayer. Both were taken care of with name changes. Once the game was released there was more controversy surrounding the feedback of the final product.
Medal of Honor is a first person shooter set in the war in Afghanistan. You play as soldiers from the US Navy and US Army facing the Taliban. The single player campaign and online multiplayer are extremely different from each other because they were created by different developers on different engines. Despite the difference I personally felt this game was extremely fun, short but fun.
The single player of Medal of Honor is split up into two part, the Campaign and Tier 1 Mode. You can play the campaign mode offline; however, Tier 1 mode requires an online connection the entire time you play. Campaign mode contains the storyline for Medal of Honor. The story itself has been done before, but these days what hasn’t been used at least once? You play as different men, at different times, at different locations throughout the game. While doing the missions there is an underlying story that plays out. The US soldiers are trying to keep the civilians safe from the Taliban, so they hunt the Taliban down only to find they bit off more than they can chew. Military intelligence does not know how many Taliban are really hiding in the mountains and how well armed they are. Meanwhile the General in the US is fighting with the commanding officer in Afghanistan on how to run the operation. The game’s menu says there are only two days and the intro, but the intro cut scene says the scene takes places 6 months before hand. I’m not sure if the intro is one day 6 months ago or if it really spreads out over a few months. Either way the campaign goes through 10 missions which can vary in length depending on the person and which difficulty you choose – Easy, Normal, or Hard. The story may not appeal to some, but when’s the last time someone bought a first person shooter for the campaign story?
The campaign game play is one of the best I’ve played in some time. There are different types of missions that involve different game play styles. Some missions may involve stealth while some involve a heavy trigger finger. There are quite a few US weapons you get to use throughout the campaign. The default weapons are given to you from the start of each mission. If you ever need more ammo you can ask your team mates for some. You will always have at least one team mate with you to help you through a mission. Your team’s AI isn’t that great, but it isn’t horrible compared to some games. The AI allows you to take the majority of shots like most people want, yet they still give you a hand. You have the ability to pick up enemy weapons but are limited to the one magazine the gun holds. If you want more ammo you must find the same gun from another fallen enemy. The majority of weapons in the campaign have the ability to switch between semi automatic and full auto fire modes. I personally love this feature in first person shooters but it’s so hard to find. Your character’s movement in the campaign is smooth and sweet. Not only can you move around great, but you have the ability to slide into cover by running and crouching. In addition to sliding into cover you can lean and peek out to get some shots while most of your body is still behind cover! I really think Danger Close did a great job with the game play.
Tier 1 Mode
Tier 1 mode is the other single player mode in Medal of Honor. You replay missions from the campaign without any cut scenes. There are still real-time scenes during the game, but not cut scenes before or after the missions. The game mode is amped up by: removing your HUD, giving you limited ammo, making the game harder than hard mode on some areas, giving you a PAR time limit, and most importantly you do not have any checkpoints. You are ranked on a global leader board for time, kills, and various other medals. If you thought hard mode posed little challenge then you can give Tier 1 Mode a go to really test your skills. You have the ability to play 9 of the 10 missions from the campaign after you completed them in campaign mode.
Audio & Video
The audio and video is a whole other story. I’ve heard reports of video bugs and glitches while playing the game. I have never run into any game breaking errors while playing the campaign. The graphics look very well detailed, but there has been one small video error I have run into. When facing the enemy AI they will run into cover and peek out at times. Every now and then, probably about half the time, the graphics will pop the head out and into cover in a glitched manor. This usually happens when the enemies are in the distance.
The audio is pretty good. You have the ability to switch sound systems in the settings of the game to fit the sound system you own. The sound isn’t the best you’ll ever hear from a game, but it doesn’t sound ridiculous. The weapons give loud bangs when you fire them and the explosives sound like explosives. There are also differences in weapon sounds when you are in enclosed spaces. The surrounding sounds aren’t as noticeable like some games. There is no wind blowing or rocks falling that you can hear to immerse yourself into the game 100%. The sound is really just average and that’s all I can say about it.
As stated earlier, the multiplayer part of Medal of Honor was created by a different developer and uses a different game engine. The engine was the same engine used in Battlefield Bad Company 2. If you’ve played BFBC2 then you can expect the same movement of your character, but that is about the only similarity between the two. The maps are medium or small-sized and the weapons kill a lot faster than BFBC2, still they do not kill with the speed of Call of Duty’s weaponry. Unfortunately you cannot choose fire modes, slide into cover, or peek and lean out of cover like in the single player. Even the reload animations are different.
Many of the weapons you used in the campaign are available to you in the multiplayer, but not from the start. You are given three classes to choose from: Rifleman, Special Ops, and Sniper. The Rifleman class uses Assault Rifles and Light Machine Guns. The Special Ops class uses Carbines, Personal Defense Weapons, and Shotguns. The Sniper class uses semi auto battle rifles and bolt actions sniper rifles. Each class comes with its own explosive device. When playing online you are assigned to the Coalition faction (US) or the OPFOR faction (Formerly Taliban). Each side has its own set of Weapons and optics, shades of Call of Duty 1-3. The weapons are almost exactly alike to maintain balance, but sometimes small discrepancies are present. For instance, if you choose the rifleman class and are in the Coalition you can use the M16A4. If you choose the rifleman class and are in the OPFOR you can use the AK-47. Each map is played twice so you can play on both sides. When using a class online you will earn points and rank up. There are a max of 15 ranks on each of the three class. At the higher ranks you have the option to use the enemy’s weaponry, so if you’re the OPFOR you could use the M16 later on. You are given one gun for each class and each faction to start off with – so technically there are two guns for each class. Unfortunately there are few guns in the game. In total there are 21 guns which include 4 guns from pre order codes, two are PC only. Along with the weapons are upgrades to kit up your weapons. These can include scopes or suppressors. There isn’t much in the upgrade section either. Some upgrades can only be used on the rifleman weapons while others can only be used on the sniper weapons. There is a rail slot, a barrel slot, and a base slot that can hold one upgrade each. The weaponry is really lacking in this game.
Medal of Honor ships with only 8 maps and 4 game modes. So as you can see the weaponry isn’t the only thing that comes up short in this game. One of the game modes uses 3 of the maps which can only be played on that game mode. There is a hardcore variant of every game mode. Less than a month after the game’s release date, two DLC packs were released. One was free with your online pass that included a new game mode and two new maps. The second DLC cost 800 Microsoft points or $9.99 which included another game mode and two more new maps. The online pass is given in each brand new Medal of Honor video game. You activate it to play the game online. So if you buy Medal of Honor used, you will only be able to play online for about a week before having to buy an online pass to continue to play. Unfortunately online multiplayer is the only part of multiplayer on Medal of Honor. You can play with your friends, but you cannot play private matches or even local play.
An innovative aspect to the multiplayer is something called “score chains.” This feature is similar to killstreaks you may see in Call of Duty, but it offers so much more. You earn score chains by racking up points with kills, ribbons you earn by playing a certain way, or accomplishing an objective in the game mode. Once you reach the set score you can activate either an offensive or a defensive support action. All the offensive actions kill enemy players with mortar strikes, artillery strikes, or missiles. The defensive support action awards you a small amount of bonus points and gives your entire team the same upgrade you earn. These upgrades can be more health or more damage to your gun. The defensive support actions only last one life, with the exception of the Intel/UAV. There are 7 levels in the score chain which give you better support actions at each chain.
In conclusion, Medal of Honor is a great modern first person shooter. The game play is solid on both the single player and multiplayer. Since both single player and multiplayer are so different, you may think you are playing two games. The visuals are better than average, but not spectacular. The audio on the other hand is only average. This game is great but very short. You could probably complete everything there is to do in the game in less than a month of play time. If you’re not willing to spend the full amount on the game, you could always rent it.