Review by DandyQuackShot
"You Are About to Embark Upon the Great Crusade..."
Hands down there is no better game in the Medal of Honor series than Frontline. I would almost go as far as say it is the best WWII game out there to date, but you will agree that Frontline is one of the best. This is the last game of the series that takes a linear path and "behind enemy lines" approach whereas the later games feature more open-ended objective taking gameplay. The story is also much more in depth, although quite fictional, but takes the player through some very historical moments as well as introduce a lot of the resistance and espionage activities that took place. The music in this game really sets the mood for one awesome experience and it is a game I could find myself replaying just for the enjoyment of the game.
What is excellent about Frontline is that it sets the mood perfectly for the game you are about to experience. The opening is the best ever for a WWII game in which it opens with a paraphrase of General Eisenhower's speech delivered to the D-Day invasion force while vintage black and white footage rolls. Now it is very easy to see that Frontline copied some things from the movie Saving Private Ryan. The similarities are more or less in the invasion opening and one of the towns looks very familiar so it comes as no surprise that this series was created by Steven Spielberg. You play as Jimmy Patterson and although there is no depth to Patterson, your one man killing spree during the Omaha beach invasion will earn you a commission to work on your own behind enemy lines throughout the rest of the game. It is not a bad concept at all considering the adventure you will take through the ruins of many towns and cities and the undercover work you get to attempt to do. This is a FPS so disguising oneself is not going to be Patterson's best strength. The missions are very unique and feature a few comical and a lot of intense situations even so far as doing the old mine cart chase. Compared to Medal of Honor: Airborne where there is no real story beyond the progression of the missions and a copy cat version of Band of Brothers, Frontline features depth to the story and turns the game into an adventure. The game uses some Saving Private Ryan similarities (two that I could put a finger on), but it is no game based on a movie by any means.
The gameplay takes a hit in some areas but there are not that many flaws that take away from Frontline itself. The most obvious are the allies you have in the game. Except for the ones that talk to you, the others are clones that will keep following one right after the other and die in the same spot. Unless you run through the game without looking back you won't notice this, but it is still there. The game offers a lot of variety, but doesn't capitalize on it. It's nice to take a break from all the one-man war against the Germans, but the breaks are too short and it may get repetitive for some. It has been a while since I played Frontline, but I do not remember any of the controls as being a bother. The missions are not repetitive and send you through many different locations and you will get to work with a few allies that talk to you and even bust a resistance informant out of a mansion. So there are allies to know and like instead of nameless clone GI Joe #3 getting shot where nameless clone GI Joe #2 just died and disappeared. This is a problem that is seen a lot more later in the series. The enemy AI is not all that smart and most of the time they will just stand out from behind cover and attack you. Also the cover fire feature gets lost after the first mission as you basically go at it on your own. The game shoots for a Teen rating and so there is no blood and gore although the action in this game gets very intense and interactive.
The graphics are good for a game that features so many different locations. The detail in the levels is very good and there aren't any noticeable flaws that I could point out in the overall view of the game. The sound is excellent from the weapons to the in-game dialogue to the outstanding musical composition. Each mission features an excellent score to set the mood for the mission and the dialogue is professional and features dialogue to translate what the Germans are saying and in case you missed what your allies say. What I really liked about Frontline is that there is no radio squawking orders in your ear. Compared to Airborne you will be briefed at the beginning of the mission and an ally will ask you to help him complete objectives in person. There is no voice in a box directing your every move like he is watching you from a spy plane's camera. The dialogue is great and you even get to stumble into a group of drunk Germans around a piano singing. The sound effects are excellent and there are no flaws or lack of effects to complain about here.
For the Gamecube's abilities Medal of Honor: Frontline is a fun to play game that I found myself going back to replay a few times over in the campaign. The gameplay is linear, but compared to open-ended games where the only variation is completing an objective last when the first you played it you did it first, there really is no difference to me. I think Medal of Honor: Frontline is much more in depth with its historicity and although a fictional game it is one that can be enjoyable as a one-man war mission. For me it does not get repetitive. Also there is a splitscreen multiplayer for up to four players. You get to use all of the weapons in the game and there are new maps featured. There are a few skills to go for in the campaign, but the game relies on its very interesting missions for its replayability.
Final Recommendation 9/10
Medal of Honor: Frontline gets a well deserved 9/10 score for being the precedent game that the series should have followed. From the in-depth story for a FPS game and the awesome musical score featured in this game you will wish the series had stayed true to this game. As for whether or not to buy this game I am a little conflicted. I had to make this review for the Gamecube version because it is the only version I currently own, but I would highly recommend buying either it or the Xbox version. The Xbox version is 360 compatible also and features online play although I don't know if the community exists for it or not. The Playstation 2 version had a few flaws that the Gamecube and Xbox versions cleared up so if you are new to the series and want to experience one awesome WWII game then this is the game to find out of the entire series.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 05/12/08
Game Release: Medal of Honor: Frontline (US, 11/07/02)
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