PG 1 | PG 2
Following Call of Duty's lead, Metal of Honor ditches the WWII era for a more modern take. How modern? How about a skirmish that is till going on today. Slapping the player slap dab in the middle east, you will head into Taliban occupied territory for the fight of your life. Yea, this one hits a little close to home.
Taking a step back, I am not going to rant on how right or wrong it is to have a game cover a conflict that is still taking place. That's a personal matter that every gamer will see in a different light, so if you're on the non-opposing side of playing a game featuring a contemporary conflict, let's jump into the shoes of these brave digital soldiers.
You Know, It's Like those “other” Games
Taking queue from the subject matter, developer EA L.A. (Danger Close Studios) gets serious in their first war game outside of WWII. Trying their best to construct an stimulating and relevant war game 'Medal of Honor' mixes an emotional driven narrative with some normal non-stop FPS action. 'Medal of Honor' is very much in the vein of its obvious comparisons, 'Battlefield: Bad Company' and 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.' 'Medal of Honor' might not be up to these high standards, but in the short time you get to experience the campaign, its likely that you will enjoy every step.
Your duty as a precise instrument of war is to find and eliminate the Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan. The desert terrain and broken down communities serve as your stomping grounds as you weave through this story that jumps form high tension all out battles to stealthy “be quiet or die” missions. Like 'Call of Duty,' 'Metal of Honor' tries hard to vary itself in each scenario by not only changing the mission objectives, by also switching up your character and squad. You will start the campaign out as 'Rabbit' from 'U.S. Naval Special Warfare Dev. Group,' and head into the shoes of several other soldiers as you progress through the interconnected narrative. Subjectively you will always be shooting down the dumber then bricks A.I, but at least you will be doing it under multiple conditions from tight quarter scuffles to open field dusters. 'Medal of Honor' also includes some vehicle sessions that seem like they were pulled from every other shooter collectively. Logically it all works, but its dramatic impact is lessened because we have done it all before.
Ears at Attention
While you are demoralizing the enemies in a hail storm of bullets you ears will perk up at the incredible job done to recreate realistic chatter among your squad. Your team will constantly be giving out directions and situational reports as you enter and eliminate each hostile area. Indoors this is highlighted even more as you bend and curve through narrow halls, breach doors and uncover every inch of the Taliban infestation. Having this level of detail really makes you feel the part and is invaluable to 'Medal of Honors' production score.
Back to those Bricks
As you have probably guessed I wasn't too keen on the A.I., so anything extra helps. Like you might have read, any experienced shooter fan will want to play this on “Hard” their first time around. It's exactly what I did, and on hard, 'Medal of Honor' feels more like a medium level of difficulty. While you will need to boost the difficulty up for the single player campaign, 'Medal of Honor' isn't without challenge. Both the 'online multiplayer mode' and addition 'Tier 1 mode' will give your reflexes a worthy testing of skill.
Roll the DICE
The online portion of 'Medal of Honor' has been created by DICE (EA Digital Illusions Creative Entertainment), who harness the power of their proprietary game engine called 'Frostbite.' DICE are those cats who developed the impressive 'Battlefield: Bad Company 2' and its exceptional online component. That being said it's obvious that 'Medal of Honor' feels very much like a 'Battlefield' copy complete with upgradable XP earning characters and a borrowed badge system. Online 'Medal of Honor' turns into a different beast, a highly difficult beast were patience and skill are rewarded. The online component will weed out the twitch shooters as it grounds itself with players who want to develop and learn with the game.
Spending a good deal of time online, I was wrapped up in its 24-player matches. The quality here is undeniable from the superb modes, upgrade model, and pinpoint accurate controls. 'Medal of Honor' might not be on the same grand scale of 'Battlefield: Bad Company 2,' but it holds up with its own brand of tight knit warfare. That being said, all those gamers who didn't care for the large scale battles and vehicles in 'Battlefield' might dig the alternative close quarters battles found here. It definitely has everything that makes a good online experience including all the frustration and gratification of learning to master a new game. It's a little extraneous having one game with two developers, and like most other games that use this formula, one side always seems better then the other. In this case, the multiplayer is the winner here.
* Note: For those aware of the controversy surrounding the Taliban being named in the multiplayer section of the game it has been changed to 'Opposing Force.' However, the single player component remains unchanged.