Review by Rev4n
"Medal of Honor: Disappointment"
I guess that my major mistake was thinking that this is a history game.
I have always loved history, especially Word War II history. I saw this game and jumped at the chance to re-enact real life battles in the comfort of my favorite armchair. I guess I was expecting this to be more like a combat simulation, similar to a Clancy game like Ghost Recon, than a Rambo style all out assault. World War II was not won single-handedly by good ol' American Private Jimmy. I guess EA didn't get the memo that history cannot be changed.
Medal of Honor plays like any shooter. You're a right handed character with no feet, no matter how far down you look, and the only body part of yourself that you've ever seen is your trigger finger.
This game tricks you. It offers a semi-squad-based portrayal of D-Day as the first level. Every level after that consists of you running around and killing at least 50 Germans everywhere you go. There is hardly any strategy involved. You rarely even need to take any kind of cover. Run, shoot, duck, stand up with absolutely no cover, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot, run, Next Level. The game is also very linear. There are no alternate endings nor are there multiple ways to complete an objective. It's just like Bond for the 64. Everything you need to complete the level is placed chronologically throughout the level. There's no sneaking around looking for things, you simply shoot everyone, take/do what you need, and then move on to another area of the level.
The realism, or lack thereof, is surprising. For a World War II game, there sure is a lot of fiction. The plot is one example of this. Although your character participates in a few real battles, they are mucked up by the missions that the fabricated plot requires you to complete. In addition, the main enemy (Sturmgeist), as well as a few MAJOR plot events, like the HO-IX hijacking (this is mentioned on the back of the box), were created for the game, and do not exist in history.
Aside from loads of historical inaccuracy (nearly on par with the Wolfenstein series), I also had issues with the employment of Goldeneye-like health, character knowledge, and capacity. Your character can take at least 10 bullets before he's dead, and that's generally not a problem, as there are medpacks scattered illogically throughout the level to restore you. Just like World War II. Also, there are no weapon specializations. Your character, being the supergod that he is, can use every weapon ever made. He also knows how to operate a railcar, fly a plane, and defuse bombs. What can't he do?! This game would be better if you simply pick up the Panzerschreck (basically Germany's version of a "bazooka") and beat enemies with it. If I gave you a Panzerschreck, would you instantly know how to load/fire it? No. In addition, and most shooters get this one wrong, so it's unfair to pick solely on MoH, but A HUMAN CANNOT CARRY 3 DIFFERENT RIFLES, A PISTOL, AND 2 DIFFERENT KINDS OF GRENADES. There is nowhere to store all that. This is one thing that Halo got right. If Master Chief can't even carry 3 guns, how is Private Patterson supposed to?
One tidbit I did like: When your character is reloading the BAR, he slips when putting a new magazine in the gun, and feels around for the hole to slip it in (since he's not actually looking at what he's doing), similar to someone trying to find a keyhole in the dark. It doesn't really waste any time, and I thought it was really smart of the designers to think of that. Mad props.
Another: The Germans speak German. They don't speak English with an American accent. I think the game is much more fun not knowing exactly what the Germans are saying, but if you absolutely must know what your German counterparts are yelling to each other, there is a subtitle option.
The graphics are nothing special, when compared to some of the more dazzling games like Splinter Cell, Morrowind, or even Halo. The guns look good, when they're in your hands. The enemies, once you've seen all 5 or 6 different un-detailed faces, become unoriginal very fast. Various props and surroundings that are simply included for aesthetics are often rather blocky, almost as if this game is for the N64. The graphics are not bad, but they're nowhere near superb.
This is one of the few redeeming qualities of Frontline. The sounds, whether they are German-speaking Germans or explosions, are very convincing and of high quality. In many of the missions with more heated combat, distant sounds of gunfire and explosions loop in the background, as music is looped in some games. The SFX are not spectacular, but they more than get the job done.
There are 2 or 3 missions that I actually found fun. Since completing the game, I have replayed those missions maybe 5 times in my leisure. Because this game is closed-ended and linear, once you're done, you're done. The only reason I didn't give Frontline a 1 for replay is because the multiplayer can be occupying in small amounts. I pity the Playstation 2 users who bought this game (PS2 version does not have multiplayer).
Frontline's multiplayer is a novelty feature that appears to be poorly thought out. With a small amount of weapons and fairly bland recreations of the single player maps, multiplayer loses any luster very quickly. Do not buy this game thinking you'll have a barrel of monkeys playing multiplayer with your friends, because you won't.
If you want a somewhat entertaining, but easy and bland shooter, rent this game for a weekend. It's worth paying 5 dollars to borrow, but not worth the $30+ it costs to own. If you're dying for a Medal of Honor fix, get Rising Sun.
Replay Value: 4/10
Rent if you must.
Frontline is a terribly unrealistic World War II shooter with uninspired multiplayer and a linear Campaign mode. It has good sound, but everything else is average or worse.
Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 06/27/04
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