Medal of Honor Review

Posted: October 23, 2010 by brice42 in Reviews


I can see why Medal of Honor has been getting mixed reviews.  It’s a strange Modern Warfare/Bad Company hybrid that has some (but not all) features from both games, and some really cool features of its own.  It’s like the Jeff Goldblum of war shooters.

Danger Close

Some of it’s hybrid abilities include your standard modern weapons and tech, familiar mission types (stealth, sniping, etc.), semi-destructible terrain, and plenty of bad guys to neutralize.  Anyone who’s played a war shooter before will feel right at home with the setup and presentation.  The single-player mode does have a really cool lean feature that I only started getting into later in the game.  Hold down the left bumper and it fixes you in place, but lets you lean in whatever direction you move the left stick, so you can easily peek just above/around cover, or duck and weave as you see fit.  If you activate it while you’re moving, you can lean left or right as you run.  It’s really neat, and really makes you feel like more than just a floating gun arm.  It’s only there in single player, though, so you’re back to either standing or crouching when there are humans shooting at you.  I really wish the leaning could work its way into the multiplayer so I could stop claiming that every bullet that kills me miraculously curved around a corner because my slow ass didn’t strafe fast enough.  Snipers would have a field day with it, only having to expose a fraction of their heads to other cowardly snipers out there.  Also, they’d be so preoccupied with learning the mechanic that I could easily sneak up behind them, knife them, and then do a funky leaning dance over their corpse.  I hate snipers.

Anyway, the single-player campaign is short but sweet.  It has lots of exciting moments, but they’re not so Jerry Bruckheimerish.  You never infiltrate an enemy gulag to free a former commander, you never bring a satellite down out of orbit, and there are no downhill snowmobile engagements.  The events of Medal of Honor are more down to earth.  You infiltrate an encampment to mark enemy vehicles, you snipe bad guys from a mile away with a .50 cal, and you desperately hold position against an entire regiment of bad guys in a stone hut that gets smaller and smaller as they blow pieces of it apart (one of best levels).  Every line in the game is legit, even the ones they lifted out of Generation Kill.

Pretty fuckin’ ninja, indeed.

You can tell the developers really paid attention to the soldiers they consulted while making the game.  In fact, the game itself is a tribute to the soldiers of Special Operations and Delta Force, and I think it does them justice.  The developers paid rapt attention to detail, nailing things like proper reload animations, remembering the bullet in the chamber if you switch mags without running completely dry, and the actual range of shotguns.  Virtual Afghanistan looks amazing, and the encounters play like they should in such hilly, rocky terrain.  Plenty of cover means lots of troop movement, and if you’re not on the ball, the enemy AI will flank you.  Hard.  It’s extremely intense, and even more so because it’s so believable.  Strangely, nobody wins a Medal of Honor during the plot, but they all deserve one.

Dice helped out with the multiplayer, and it shows.  It looks a lot like Bad Company, but it plays more like Modern Warfare.  The engagements are smaller, like skirmishes, but with Bad Company-style modes.  My favorite has got to be Combat Mission, which is the most similar to the Rush mode in BC2.  You either attack or defend a position, and either advance or retreat to the next one after it falls.  Other modes are Objective Raid (attack or defend a single pair of objectives), Sector Control (think Domination), and Team Assault (TDM).  There is a hardcore mode, but sadly it doesn’t feel that hardcore.  They don’t seem to have upped the weapon damage at all, and it’s a constant source of frustration.  I dump half a mag into a sniper’s face, and he still manages to kill me, kill the dude next to me (who is oblivious, and probably also shooting at me), and then call in a mortar strike to kill us again just after we respawn.  It also doesn’t remove much in the way of HUD.  The center part of the screen, usually regarded as the most important, is obscured anytime you are even remotely related to the death of an enemy soldier, which for me is ALL THE TIME.  The map/radar only shows up when UAVs are about, but the score, the time remaining in the match, and other non-essential information still takes up valuable pixel real estate that could be used for spotting snipers.  Another complaint I have is that not every square inch of the map can be blown apart by explosives.  Some materials can be destroyed, but I’m spoiled by BC2.

There are only three classes, but between them you have some useful skills.  Spec Ops are great for close quarters and for blowing up vehicles and stationary guns.  Riflemen are good for covering ground and anti-sniping.  Snipers are good for nothing, but if they rack up enough kills in between setting up their campsite, roasting some marshmallows, and getting knifed in the back by me, they can provide all kinds of cool support for their allies.  Whatever your class, chain kills together to earn the right to call in airstrikes or issue cooler gear to your team.

The multiplayer is solid, but the hardcore mode needs an overhaul if it wants to hold my attention for much longer.  I’m already feeling the pull back to BC2, but there’s some DLC on the near horizon, so I’ll give it a look.

If you know anything about a true military environment, you will enjoy the hell out of this game.  If you just enjoy a good FPS and already have the staples, you can live without it.


  1. lagunawsu2 says:

    In short, if your looking for a good FPS, both Black ops and MoH have a solid single player experience, but Black ops takes the medal for their matchmaking, hands down.

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