Review by Kutusovskiy

"Nothing Special"

I was excited when I learned that the Ardennes is one of the settings for the new Medal of Honor. That's as far as my excitement lived. Everything is so average that I now question my motives for wanting to play.

The graphics make it look and feel just like Medal of Honor has always felt. It also looks dated compared to other recent titles. Lighting is simple, making any dark shadows few and far between. This gives it a very dull and plastic look. The graphics don't get in the way of your playing, but are nothing to brag about. A big annoyance is the fog, which usually obscures everything beyond 100 yards.

Game play is nothing new for the genre. You essentially travel from point to point and eliminate every German soldier you find along the way. It's so far from realistic that they may as well be using E-11 blaster rifles. It's still based on the overlay crosshair aiming system, resulting in the run-and-gun shooter style that "everyone" loves. Sure, you CAN aim with iron sights but it's only for looks. Even then, you normally look over the rifle instead of properly through the sights. You can't aim and move at the same time either. (Who would have thought of shouldering a weapon while moving through this hostile-controlled house?!)

Weapons are basic and you won't see anything that's never been in a game. You still don't get to choose what weapons you want to take. It's all regulation gear--boring. There's about three weapons per level--boring. There's also a most laughable Rambo power charge, called Adrenaline, along with plenty of med kits and revives to go around. Destroying a King Tiger tank with a few hand grenades is always a nice touch. If that weren't bad enough, they've included a Nemesis in each area who happens to be "conditioned" to take extra damage.

The objective-based game play is nice but is ruined by how linear every event is scripted. You could defeat the entire German army but the magic gate won't open until you've completed a seemingly unrelated objective. Once that gate DOES open, Germans don't appear until you hear a speech from someone that may not otherwise have anything to do with your actions. Despite quite different settings, it all feels the same. You're always facing odds that you should never survive in environments that all feel like a warehouse where there's one direction to go and plenty of boxes and stuff in the way. This game was not designed for a man capable of finding his way from Point A to Point C without a Point B.

One of the most annoying features are the lackeys that "tag along" (get in the way) through your journey. This is some of the poorest AI I've ever seen. You can tell them to go somewhere but they only go about 30% of the time. Once they get there, they're back with you in a matter of seconds. In action there's a few places where you can expect to find them, which are: in front of your rifle so you can't aim, hiding in a corner, or out in the open getting blasted by a machine gun. If you expect them to cover your back while you carefully try to destroy a tank, you'll soon find your hopes thwarted. I've had Germans run by five, that's right...five, allies through our CP to shoot me in the back upstairs without a single act of deterrence. Sadly, the enemy AI is no better. There's about two types of Germans...those that run around like madmen and those that hide behind a wall and pop up to shoot every six seconds. Unless you're out of their range, you won't get to surprise anyone. As soon as you can possibly be within their line of fire, even when you're just barely peeking over a wall behind them, they know exactly where you are and fire within the next second. Their weapons don't have to be pointed at you to shoot you either.

The sounds and music are along the same quality as the other Medal of Honor games. Although the music is repetitive and annoying, it is well done. There's plenty of the Hollywood explosions and weapons fire that everyone expects, and you can easily determine what kind of weapon is being fired by sound. Being able to tell where and how close a grenade landed by audio only is nice. Sadly, enemy machine guns and rifles sometimes (rarely) fail to produce any report although the bullet strike sound is there.

Multi-player is boring and limited. There's no cooperative campaign and no XBox Live.

Being in World War II, little can be wrong with the story. However, the delivery of that story is poor. You're given a very brief background for each place you visit and almost no information about what you're going to do in the mission. Fast-paced action is the focus of this game, not the story.

In all, I find this game to be little more than a means to waste a few hours when all other options fail.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 06/27/05

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