"Medal of Honour is of the new generation of First Person Shooters to emerge from the post Half Life era, combining the best lessons of the past generation to form a massive game. "
I remember the first time I heard of Medal of Honor, the screenshots that I saw were stunning. It is a great credit to 2015 that to this day, nearly 2 years later that the graphics are still stunning even on my humble 16MB GeForce 2 Go! card.
As Lt. Mike Powell, member of the 1st Ranger battalion, you do battle with the Axis forces from Africa to Norway to the beaches of Normandy. Sometimes alone and sometimes with help you perform an array of task involving stealth, speed and sometimes all out brute force using many authentic World War II era weapons such as the Thompson sub machine gun and the M1 Garrand, all powered by the formidable Quake III: Team Arena engine.
The blurb on the box states there are 30 levels in 6 extensive missions. This is a rather dubious claim I feel, because not all 6 missions are extensive. Some are very long, like the final mission, and some are very short, like the Omaha beach landing mission. The levels, aesthetically, are beautiful, although some more so than others. The first level of the last mission finds you alone in a Nazi filled forest with snow drifting slowly down around you. The forest is almost real at first, there are so many trees, all of them swaying in the wind, and often you mistake a swaying branch in the foggy distance for a Nazi soldier and vice versa. The sense of immersion is amazing. Similarly during the aforementioned Omaha beach-landing mission, you are treated to a wonderfully constructed set piece that sees you virtually acting out the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan.
Once the game starts and the bullets start to fly, the wonderful immersion is broken and you get told frustratingly that this, in fact, is a game. Unfortunately its due to the god-like prowess of the German snipers, shooting you from a blown out church tower through rain, a tree and a pile of rubble and hitting you even though he has no way to tell you’re there. And this is on *easy*. Several times throughout the game, I literally had to go around blasting cupboards because every third cupboard harboured a whermacth soldier waiting to spring out when you’re back was turned. The aforementioned God-Snipers manning machine guns and shooting you from out of range of sight. Don’t get me wrong, the AI is generally good, but its not the best. It does some snazzy new tricks, like occasionally lying down on grenades to protect comrades and taking cover but there are little things that spoil the fun. As such, doing battle is great fun, but not as good as it could have been.
The best part of Medal Of Honor really has to be the wide range of mission objectives. Never once told to ‘go forth and kill everything’, the game also doesn’t have the usual ‘find the red key to enter the red door’ puzzles. To win at Medal of Honor, you have to do everything you might have to do in war. There are times when you must be silent, sneaking through occupied towns, careful not to set off alarms as you take down your enemy. You must sabotage vehicles and communications. You must be deadly with a rifle, a submachine gun and even a machine gun. You have to learn to find effective cover and how to bounce grenades off walls to maximum effect. You must lean how to approach machine gun emplacements and bunkers without being seen so as to avoid being cut to ribbons. You must call in air strikes from allied bombers. You have to go in disguise and learn to blend in, surrounded by a whole base worth of Nazis. You must learn to work with AI controlled team mates and how to take risk with their, and your, lives. You even get to steal a King Tiger tank and drive it through hostile territory.
And finally, to complete the experience (And get your full money’s worth), you would most likely need to learn how to die spectacularly too. I’m talking about multiplayer. Do not attempt open internet play with anything less than broadband. Even with a 500 KPS ADSL connection, lag can get unbearable, especially if you play on larger servers. Unfortunately, unless you have some sort of fetish for one on one sniper duels (which can be fun), only games with more than 12 people will really be satisfying. The multiplayer maps are varied and beautifully constructed. The deathmatch/Team deathmatch maps are wonderfully constructed with twisting ally ways and connections through houses such that you can never quite be sure what’s around the next corner… or the corner you just came from. The objective based maps are fun as well, with semi-realistic objectives, like ‘find and eliminate the Flak guns’ or ‘blow the bridge’ or the ever memorable, ever popular ‘Storm the beaches of Normandy’. In a game where the single player mode will keep you happy for weeks, the multiplayer will keep you happy for months… if your connection can handle it.
To sum up, Medal of Honour is of the new generation of First Person Shooters to emerge from the post Half Life era, combining the best lessons of the past generation to form a massive game. Namely Quake III and UT’s stunning graphics, and more importantly stunning game play for both single player and multiplayer. And in the true nature of PC FPSs, there are mods in the works, further expanding the possible playtime of the game, with a promising Eastern Front mod in the works, and an expansion pack being developed by EA and 2015. While not as groundbreaking as Half Life and certainly not perfect, it is a great game and definitely worth buying.
Community review by tigmal (Date unavailable)
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