Review by Arnhem Knight
"World War II + James Bond = Medal of Honor: Frontline."
Whenever I write a review about a WWII videogame, it seems as though I start of with the same damn intro. I get tired of writing it, and I am sure my many fans get tired of reading it. Well, that is too bad because I am going to do it again. World War II was the war that changed the world. 61 million people, military and civilian, lost their lives in the most expensive and damaging war in history. Because of this war, the world will never be the same. Many years ago, EA decided to take this war and craft a videogame out of it, and thus Medal of Honor on the Playstation was born. Soon there was Medal of Honor: Underground, a game base on low-key sabotage missions throughout Europe. Moving now to the next generation consoles we have Medal of Honor: Frontline. This game takes the same basics from the previous Medal of Honor games, added more detail and a better look, and somehow made it much better.
Shooting games are never known for their deep and amazing stories. Very rarely do I finish a shooting game and say Bravo! That was amazing! It just doesn't happen. Frontline is no different. The game starts buy thrusting you into one of the most intense levels in any game ever. The mission is D-Day, and it is pure awesomeness. From there you are asked by the OSS to work with them, and from there the story is started. Basically, the Nazi war machine is hiding a dirty little secret that could turn the tide of the war, and as a WWII era James Bond, you will have to find out what it is, and you will need to bring an end to it. Not much too the story.
Since there isn't a great story, the gameplay better be damn good. Oh, it is. But as with anything in real life, there are problems, and I will start there. The enemies in this game are lacking in the brain department. Sure, I know they are soldiers, and they probably aren't too bright for fighting the United States and England in the first place, but this is ridiculous. The soldiers very rarely take cover in this game, and they display hilarious acts of stupidity throughout the game. If you throw a grenade, an enemy soldier will stare for a second, and right before the grenade explodes, he will decided to kick it back at you. God help the German boot camps. Then again, the men you fight alongside aren't too intelligent themselves. First off, they never die. They will fall, and then they will rise again to fight. This helps, yes, but for a realistic WWII game this really takes away from the experience. It wouldn't be too bad if they hid behind cover and took a hundred shots, but they don't. Instead they fire from the open and take a barrage of hits. This won't matter too much as you are rarely with other men anyway. Most of the time you are taking out hundreds of Germans on your own.
The above paragraph is my only beef with the gameplay. I will move on to the game itself. This game is fun. From the start the game will put you in the middle of some simply fantastic missions. You will sabotage a port, liberate the Dutch countryside, start bar fight (that isn't what the mission is about, but that is an awesome sequence), and you will hitch a ride to somewhere on a train at the Nazi's expense. All of the objectives are fun, but a few truly cool standout. Such objectives are the aforementioned bar fight, jumping off a high ledge into a wheelbarrow, and lighting fire to an aged Dutch building and windmill. You will never be bored while you play these missions. My only minor complaint is the linear design. This game is very linear and scripted, but as I said, this is very minor as the gameplay itself is great. Also, the difficulty hits a huge jump about halfway through. Through the first 10 or so missions, you will face little trouble, but after that, the game gets a great deal more difficult. Stick with it, though, as it is well worth it.
With gameplay that good, one would probably conclude that the game also looks fantastic, but such is not the case with Frontline. Don't get me wrong, the game's ambitious cities, train stations, and ports all have detail, but the detail lacks detail. The game has muddy textures that are blended together, and they give the game an overall bland look. The characters are the best looking part of this game, as they feature huge amounts of detail, and they move in a fluid and realistic motion. Lighting is nothing to fancy as the lighting on the guns rarely changes and when it does, it does so in an abrupt manner. The guns themselves sport some pretty decent details that closely resemble their real life counterparts, and they boast some nice reloading animations as well. What is impressive is the amount of things going on at once. In the first mission, you will be surrounded my men, planes, bodies, machine gun fire, and falling bombs. All of this occurs without a single stutter in the smooth framerate. That is what allows this game to impress when it looks so dated.
The one thing that stands above all in this game is the audio. The game has an epic soundtrack that suits the tone of the missions. For example, in one of the earlier fast paced missions, you will be treated to a quick and catchy tune, but in the Dutch countryside, the music will be slow and relaxing. There are also a number of different tracks that all sound amazing. The guns and explosions also sound great. Each gun has its own unique sound, and there are different sounds for explosions so that you almost never hear the same one twice. And if you do, then it won't matter because it still won't seem familiar. The characters are all voiced well. Not one character sounds out of place, and the accents of different people are well done. Frontline kills any other game in the audio department.
After all of these good things, I have to end it with the multiplayer. Unfortunately, it disappoints. The game features only two modes, and the options are limited. The maps are simply taken out of the single player game, but they do have a few modifications. There is a decent character list, but that can't help this multiplayer at all. It is a nice diversion, but it won't last long.
Well, I have reached the end. I highly recommend that every shooter fan play this game. Hell, every shooter fan should own this game. It is long, challenging, fun, and historically accurate in a way, and it is well worth a purchase.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 07/27/05
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