Medal of Honor

Friendly Fire For Effect

Two separate teams attempt to revive Medal of Honor on an overcrowded battlefield. Evac didn't make it.
Author: Ryan Green
Published: November 4, 2010
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When it comes to the current gaming market, I am troubled by development studios working on extremely tight schedules. In the past, Infinity Ward seemed to be the only studio that was well funded and large enough (not to mention talented) to put out the most polished, near flawlessly performing title on what was set to be an endless trade off with other Activision studios. Every other year, they managed to pull it off and put everyone else, save for Bungie, to shame. However, dollar for dollar, I would personally invest my money in a DICE property, knowing that they brought the team-based gameplay that I've come to know and love.

But this isn't a DICE game, nor is it a great game. To reboot Medal of Honor, someone at EA decided that DICE needed to work with another studio (or the other way around) so you would have the complete/standard military first person shooter experience that we are all familiar with. Formed out of what we can only imagine are the remains of EA Los Angeles, 'Danger Close Games' sets out on an undertaking that is much bigger than any one studio could take on.

Medal of Honor is, functionally, two separate games that play differently in the context of a few mechanics. The single player (developed by Danger Close) follows at least three different U.S. Military squads as they, uh, do their thing in Afghanistan. Although they are on separate missions, every sequence comes together in the end. In a sense, they made a large scale operation also feel whole. However, the single player doesn't have a story, or plot, per se. Terrorism may have been the enemy in the Afghanistan invasion, but one of the most important foes was bad intel. That, and jagoff military leaders in Washington that fail to truly understand the situation the troops are going through.

In all honesty, the game's setup isn't terribly interesting or captivating. What holds it all together is being able to experience the role of a Tier 1 Operator, Navy SEALs team, and to roll out with Army Rangers. Functionally, each group plays in a similar manner, where you are grouped up in twos or fours for most of the campaign. There is a mix of about three methods of tactical approaches, including stealth areas, sniper missions, and (your favorite) storming the castle sequences. Interspersed, there are a few vehicle sequences, including the use of an AC-130 to just obliterate the screen.

The use of the AC-130 is actually one of my points of contention in this game, as it's actual usefulness solely depends on the programming code working. Every time I approached the point in a mission where I needed to paint targets for any air support, the game would break. I would repeatedly try to mark a target, but the computer simply wouldn't script along with me. It would get to the point where enemy trucks would stop dead in their tracks and wait for me to dust them, but to no avail. It was a scripting error that I would frequently come upon, and it's message was clear: “Piss off”.

That is the kicker about Medal of Honor; no matter how good the game could be at times, I would come across one of the dumbest bugs possible that would completely remove me from the single player experience. Being in a desperate firefight for my life, my cover literally falling apart around me as RPG fire demolished the hovel into rubble. My brothers, out of clips, begin thinking the end is near. But then I look at my own ammo count. I'm fine! In fact, as long as I was low and not playing on Tier 1 mode, I could look at any one of my allies and tell them, “hey, give me you damn ammo” and get armed to the teeth.

Way to kick that sense of realism in the balls.

If you want tension and more dire circumstances, play Tier 1 Mode. Unlike easy-normal-hard, Tier 1 is a fully competitive mode that has players racing through each level to beat the par time (as well as whatever times your friends have posted). You will still have unlimited pistol ammo, but your squad won't supply you anymore and scavenged weapons are few and far between. To make things a little more interesting, your health regenerates at a much slower rate and there are no checkpoints to speak of.
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