Review by hiero00x

"Good game in a sloppy package"

"Medal of Honor (2010 / PC) Review"

Medal of Honor is long waited reboot of Medal of Honor series. It departs from its World War II roots and attempts to modernize its place at First person shooter market. Developed by Danger Close and Dice, Medal of Honor takes more realistic approaches to its game design.

STORY

Single player campaign tells story of Afghanistan War. It's told through multiple US Tier 1 units. Tier 1 units are Special Forces like Rangers, Delta and Navy Seals. Each unit's story combines to make overall story of the war, but the plot or lack thereof has no definite start or end. The story is collection of events that transpires in the war. The campaign could have started or ended anywhere and wouldn't have made much difference.

Overall story is hard to follow since there isn't a clear goal the story is trying to achieve. The story in battlefield, however, is much more interesting. Each mission has a clear goal. It moves in a fast pace and left me engaged to the mission.

Despite having short campaign and multiple characters, characters in mission are memorable. They have distinct personality which mostly comes though their voice acting.

SOUND

Good voice acting and lip syncing throughout the game and cg cut scenes. There's extra touch like when one of AI team talk next to you, you'll hear two sound feedbacks from their mouth and from radio in your ear.

Dialogue between the colonel and the general is bland. Dialogue between teams on the field has much richer personalities. In the helicopter mission, pilots in the helicopters were entertaining to listen even though I couldn't see their faces.

The game has great sound design like Battlefield Bad Company 2. Sound effects like gun fire feel authentic. Bullets flying by, explosion and vehicle sounds are all well done.

Soundtrack very is not memorable. There aren't too many to start with due to the game's short campaign. It does serve its purpose to invoke emotions like urgency and tensions in the battlefield. Soundtrack is under played by the voice acting which does more to set the mood of the battlefield.

GRAPHIC

This is where Medal of Honor shines. Medal of Honor is one of the best looking games on the market. It has tons of jaw dropping scripted events like assisting AC130, flying Apache helicopter or fighting off many dozens of Taliban.

Textures on characters and guns look amazing. There are lot details on characters. Guns look authentic and animate realistic.

Scale of each level is massive. Especially in vehicle missions like driving ATV through massive canyons and hills or flying though mountains in Apache helicopter. Smooth frame rate though out the game even in these fast vehicle sequences. I never had a frame drop.

There are few texture pop-in in extremely large map or in vehicles sequences, but they are not very noticeable or get in a way of enjoying the game.

Effects like explosion, smoke and lighting are top notch. Lighting and shadows in general look realistic, but lighting looks great in darker levels. There is good contrast between light and dark. Flare blinds you in night vision. Gun flashes in night fire fight are realistic. It's very satisfying to drive an ATV with its headlights on over the hills in the moonlight.

There are few hiccups in Medal of Honor's presentation. In general, characters animate believable, but there is more work to be done to link these animations more naturally. Sometimes when enemies try to get into a cover, they skip sliding animation.

They will crouch then stick to cover without any animation. Many times, I saw dead bodies of enemies fold as if they were made out of rubber, and shake their limbs like a balloon.

There are tons of clipping issues. Player character and AI teammates will consistently run though each other and other objects like metal sheet cover. The game's collision detection is prioritized to scripted events. Anything getting into the scripted events is ignored.

There are clipping issues even in these scripted events. I saw one AI character watching a room with its head blocking the door way. Other AI character will run through the head to get into the room. This is not dynamic event. Developers knew that one character was in the way of another character. They did not bother to animate the character to move out of the way.

Clipping does not break the game, but this could have been fixed easily. And it does break realistic mood the game is trying to deliver.

GAMEPLAY

Medal of Honor is first person shooter. It is very linear. Player's objective is to move from point A to point B though various scripted events. The player is always accompanied by at least one AI character. The player must use cover. Some covers are destructive forcing the player or enemies to find new cover. The Player or the enemies can shoot though some boxes and walls. Controls are identical to Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2.

Guns have little to no recoil. On PC, I shot enemies in far distance with a hand gun. Guns feel authentic but players should not expect realistic ballistics.

Medal of Honor controls fine. Shooting and getting into a cover feel natural. However, the lay out of the control feels bit odd. The player has to press left on keyboard to ready grenade launcher. It makes sense on Xbox360 and PS3 controller, but on keyboard, the player must take one of either hand off from the control just to operate grenade launcher making transition awkward in the heat of the battle.

Other oddities are grenade and HUD. G is for grenade. H is for HUD. I often threw grenade when I just wanted to check my next objective. It wasn't a big deal once I got used to it, but the developer obviously made control console first and pc second.

AI teammates are always with the player. They are invincible, but not overwhelmingly powerful. They can take care of most enemies themselves, but there are still enough left to give the player fair challenge. Enemies are smart enough to find a cover and find new one if that cover is compromised.

Medal of Honor is very linear in terms if objectives, but it has few open spaces which let players to choose how they approach a battle. Players can go up to gain higher ground or around a building to flank. Also, there is a stealth mission later in the campaign where players are given freedom to choose to remain stealthy or to go gun out blazing.

Vehicles and bombing sequences are nice change of pace. Medal of Honor mixes them up nicely so players won't do one thing too long. These sequences bring variety to the campaign and give sense of scale of the war.

Medal of Honor feels realistic in many ways, but some design choices take away some of immersive experience Medal of Honor tries to portray.

In the single player campaign, there is almost no HUD unless the player presses H to display HUD momentary. There is a headshot indicator whenever the player lands a headshot. It wasn't necessary to include a headshot indicator. I think it defeats purpose of having no HUD.

The player can get infinite ammo from your teammate as long as you have military issued weapons. This was a design choice by developers. It is use in later part of the campaign where the player and AI teammates face tens of enemies and slowly run out ammo. This part is done well, but though out rest of the campaign; the player has no reason to aim carefully. It gives the game arcade feel.

There are tons of jaws dropping scripted events, but Medal of Honor fails to hide the junction of each scripted events. There are many points where I could not across in the level until AI teammates or enemies finished their scripted routines. It creates many invisible wall where you should be allow to go but can't until the game lets you.

As previously mentioned, normally Medal of Honor does not have a HUD. There are lots of context sensitive actions as an objective, but there is no indication when a new objective pops up. So often, I stood around waiting something to happen when I was suppose to kick open a door or climb a ledge. I got in habit of consistently pressing H to check next objective even when I didn't have to.

Medal of Honor gives you illusion of freedom, but in most cases, my action didn't matter. In early stealth mission, stealth cover is blown no matter what I did. In other missions, the game remains in stealth mode.

One example is in a sneaking mission riding an ATV. The game gives you freedom to operate headlight on or off, but when it's necessary to turn on or off, the game takes over and turn on or off for you. But then why give ability to do so in the first place?

Other example is in a sniping segment in night. I was told shoot the guards in tower so AI teammate can sneak past. I purposely missed ten times, shooting near enemies. Enemies did not react to any shots. They just walk about their scripted routines as if nothing happened.

Single player lasts about 4 hours. The game is relatively short, but the game moves in very face pace and full of content. As far as the gameplay experience goes, Medal of Honor does hit all marks what first person shooter experience should be but only just.

REPLAY VALUE

There are 3 difficulties easy, medium and hard. Not much replay values there. On medium and hard difficulties, cover is essential other than that there is no real change in gameplay tactics.

Medal of Honor has Tier 1 mode as its multiplayer. It's developed by DICE using Frostbite engine.

Frostbite engine is well known for its destructibility of building and other environment. There is no destructibility in Medal of Honor. It is difficult to address campers because there is no destructibility and guns have no recoil.

The multiplayer does not look as good as the single player. Textures are fine, but map looks generic and colors look washed out. Effects like lighting, smoke and explosion still looks great. Guns and characters have good details too.

Sound is still intact like the single player. Gunfire sounds authentic and echoing sound from gunfire and explosion is exceptionally well done.

Multiplayer has a class system. These classes are rifleman, special ops and snipers. Rifleman uses rifles. Special Ops uses heavy weapons light rocket launcher. Sniper uses sniper rifles. Each class can unlock weapons and customize load outs.

Medal of Honor uses point system kill streaks. Kills, kill assist, headshot and objective completion give points. 40 point can call mortar strike or surveillance of the map. 100 points can call rocket strike or match ammunition. 160 points give missile strike or body armor. Despite lacking variation, these kill streaks are fun to use and well balanced.

Medal of Honor's multiplayer is fun while it last, but it feels lacking in content. There are new modes coming soon, but so far there isn't much to attract players from its competitors.

Overall

Medal of Honor has lot of good to deliver but in sloppy package. It fails to hide that Medal of Honor is just a huge check list of what first person should be, but it does hit all the marks and does it well.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 11/12/10

Game Release: Medal of Honor (Limited Edition) (US, 10/12/10)


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