Medal of Honor (360)

By Chip Tamplin

Published on Saturday, October 16, 2010

Graphics: 9.50
Sound: 10.00
Gameplay: 10.00
Replays: 9.50
Gamelength: 7.00

Like many of the other big First Person Shooters, Medal of Honor has taken the leap from World War II to a more modern setting. Having played the previous Medal of Honor games, I was really excited to see how it faired with a change of scenery. Clearly fans of the FPS genre don’t mind the changes games are taking after the monstrous success that the Call of Duty franchise has had. Still, breaking away from the status quo can often lead to ostracizing die-hard fans and lead to the demise of the entire franchise. Thankfully, Medal of Honor persevered and created one of the best games of the year.

I’m more into the campaign aspect of a game than I am into multiplayer. I know that’s blasphemy with the size and number of die-hard fans of Xbox Live, but while I do enjoy the occasional Slayer or Team Deathmatch game, a games campaign is always what makes or breaks a game for me. Medal of Honor’s campaign was what sold me on the game. Taking place primarily in Afghanistan at the start of the war there, the campaign puts you in the boots of two Tier 1 Operator code-named “Rabbit” and “Deuce” and SPC. Dante Adams of the 75th Army Rangers regiment.

The feel of authenticity is what makes the campaign truly compelling. To start the game, audio clips are played of intelligence personnel describing a “wedding” that was about to happen (which they later learned to be the code name for the 9/11 attacks), which set the stage for a chilling intro to the game. To start off, you’re put into Tier-1 Operator Rabbits shoes. With the rest of your team (Code named AFO Wolfpack), you’re sent deep into Afghanistan to meet a confidential informant who is supposed to give you the location of some high valued targets, only to find out he’s either betrayed you or been taken prisoner.

In level 4, titled “Belly of the Beast”, you and your platoon are dropped into enemy territory in the Shahikot Valley. As you run off the helicopter you hear a soldier off in the distance yell “RPG!” and you turn around just in time to see the bird you rode in on shot out of the sky, as it hits the crowd the rotary blade goes flying past your head. Taliban forces are seen high up in the mountains shooting down on your position. As your brothers in arms are falling down around you, you’re tasked with infiltrating deep into the mountains and obtain the high ground. This sort of realism really hits you at a deeper, more primal level than any game that came before it.

The campaign is slightly shorter than I was hoping for, especially considering how long they worked on it and the fact they outsourced the multiplayer to DICE, but it’s solid from start to finish and with how much replay value the campaign has, it shouldn’t bother anyone to play through it a few times. It is a perfect blend of balls-out fire fights that make people salivate over FPS’, but it also blends in a much more tactful, and at times stealth approach to combat which keeps the campaign fresh. Two new options usable in the campaign also include a “buddy boost”, where a player will help you up to higher areas (similar to the style used in Army of Two) and a new slide-into-cover technique applied by pressing “B” while sprinting and allows your player to slide behind cover which is a god-send during some of the later fire fights.

The graphics are very good, especially during the cinematics. There are a few spots in the campaign where an AI will randomly disappear or other tiny glitches but they are few and far between and take very little away from an otherwise perfectly done campaign. The voice acting is top-notch as well as the sound quality.

Now, on to the multiplayer…

The people behind Medal of Honor decided it was best to outsource the production of their multiplayer to the company DICE who are best known for the Battlefield FPS series. Initially the game was to feature the Taliban as the opposition, but after months of heated debates and pressure from the US Military as well as the government and activist groups, the Taliban name (not their likeness) was stripped and replaced by OPFOR, or “opposition forces”. There are several multiplayer modes to choose from, the first being “Tier 1 Mode”. Tier1 Mode involves playing through each level of the campaign as fast as you can with your play-through being timed. For each kill you get in the game, the clock is temporarily stopped. The highest and best times are listed on the Xbox Live leaderboards.

The “normal” multiplayer modes are four-fold. They are: Combat Mission, Team Assault, Sector Control and Objective Raid. Most are self-explanatory, but I’ll give a bit of detail for each if you’re new to the Battlefield style of multiplayer (or multiplayer in general).

Combat Mission involves two teams, one is made up of coalition forces who are trying to fight through five objectives while the other team, consisting of the local militia tribes try to stop them from achieving said objectives.

Team Assault is essentially a Team Deathmatch style where both teams strive to obtain the X amount of points required to end the match.

Sector Control is a Team domination style where teams look to control flags till they reach the score they’re required to win.

Objective Raid requires coalition forces to secure two positions while OPFOR try to sabotage them.

To coincide with these four types of multiplayer, you also have a small amount of unlockables and customization that comes with leveling up amongst each class. There are three types of classes: Rifleman, Special Ops and Sniper. As you gain experience from the various modes, you’re able to unlock new and more efficient weapons as well as adjusting scopes and the look of each weapon. This sort of customization isn’t new to the FPS franchise and isn’t really done in a way that it feels worth it to spend the time to upgrade everything.

All of these were relatively fun but none really wowed me. Probably my favorite was Team Deathmatch, just because it’s what I’m used to playing on other games. While connections in and out of games took place very quick, there would be times where you’re dropped into a game within thirty seconds of it ending, which just defeated the purpose. Aside from this, the multiplayer was a fun experience, but lacked in comparison to the depth and fluidity that was Battlefield: Bad Company 2.

Overall, it’s clear that Medal of Honor won’t win Game of the Year, but it’s campaign is honestly my favorite of any game I’ve played this year and the multiplayer is fun, even if it does feel slightly rushed. If you’ve got the money and are looking for a game that can give you an adrenaline shot to the heart, Medal of Honor is your game.

Full Disclosure: Review copy purchased by author

Overall Rating: 9.50

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