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Posted by Raine Hutchens on Nov 5, 2010

Review – Medal of Honor (PS3)

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Medal of Honor set high expectations for many leading up to its release. The bad news is, that for many, it disappointed. The game carried with it serious stability and performance issues, frustrating gameplay, and level design that doesn’t quite make the player feel like there is any threat. While the game had great moments of action and disbelief, this feeling of awe was bled over by the frustration that plagued it. Here’s a look at out Medal of Honor review.

Storyline

I will admit, the storyline in Medal of Honor is pretty great. The story takes place during the aftermath of the September 11th attacks on the US. The game follows a United States special forces squad during the initial invasion of Afghanistan. Operators code-named Mother, Voodoo, Preacher, and Rabbit are part of what is known as Neptune, and they are set to meet up with an Afghani informant named Tariq.

The company soon figures out that the meeting is a set-up,and a gunfight ensues. At this point it is up to the squad to fight through the city to find Tariq, and eliminate his captors. They accomplish this, and soon find out through Tariq that the Taliban and Al-Quaeda have rallied a significant force of about five hundred to a thousand combatants in the Shah-i-Kot Valley, which turns out to be much, much more than the US had anticipated.

From this point onward Neptune company is asked to secure many point along the area in order to make for a US counter force big enough to handle the incoming invasion. The storyline is very much inner weaved, and it gets deeper with every turn. The characters are believable, and the voice acting is spot-on. Danger Close tried pretty hard to make the story and characters come to life.

Gameplay

This is where things get real hazy. The gameplay was designed to be realistic, but it actually mirrors that of Battlefield. Most people say that if you’re a fan of Battlefield, then you will be a fan of Medal of Honor, which is very accurate. The gameplay was, in a sense, shoddy and unstable.

I can recall several instances where I encountered bugs. For instance, most of the time I would get to a point where the mission needed to continue, but it didn’t. I spent literally dozens of minutes trying to find the one square I needed to be in to make the cinematic play, or to make the level progress. It was extremely frustrating.

Technical issues were abundant as well. Textures and graphical effects swam in and out like clockwork, the sound cut out many times which made the characters hard to understand, and entire pieces of the scenery in the near-distance would appear and disappear at random. Now these are mainly visual issues, but they seriously do the game injustice. Medal of Honor has the ability to look amazing at times, but with all of the flops it just becomes painful to look at.

The AI in the game is somewhat helpful, but mostly just stands waiting for you to move unless you’re in a firefight. I had to play on hard, right out of the package to get any kind of a challenge. Where this would be good for first time players, for veterans it is just insulting. If you come to place where you are stuck (like when the level won’t progress), the AI still just stands around, and nothing gets done. Honestly this was the source of many of my rage quits, because I didn’t know what in the world I needed to do.

Multiplayer is a totally different story. Danger Close utilized the Unreal 3 engine for the singleplayer, but in multiplayer the gameplay is an exact clone of Dice’s Battlefield Frostbite 2.0 engine. Multiplayer can be fun and fast-paced, but honestly it’s Bad Company 2 all over again. Veterans of the series will have no problem acclimating to this new title. Players will need to learn each gun’s particular quirks, whether they be accuracy in close and at range, how important center mass is to scoring kills, and how many kills you can pull off before reloading. There’s a constant juggling of factors involved. However, Battlefield players will need to adjust to much faster combat.

It seemed that more problems arose the longer that the online side of Medal of Honor was played. The different levels aren’t all that interesting or fun to play, which is the biggest part of the problem. Most of the battles seem predictable, with one team on one side, the other team on another side, and both clash in the middle in a spray of bullets and death. Pretty anticlimactic. Without open maps and changing warzones, this game disappoints in the multiplayer area as well.

The Verdict

The fact is, that if you like Battlefield, you will like this game. I believe it is just another wartime FPS shooter with a different skin. The gameplay is rife with issues, it doesn’t offer variety, and it gets terribly frustrating.

The game is full of scripted sequences, and makes itself become a let down in many cases. The storyline is the best thing going for this title, and with it being set in a time where most Americans are passionate about, you would expect more detail and care put into the game.

If you want to play this game, I would say borrow it from a friend, or rent it. Medal of Honor was one of the bigger let downs of this year.

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