With Call of Duty currently maintaining a unrelenting grip on the first-person shooter market; EA has decided to reboot the Medal of Honor franchise to try to grab a slice of the modern warfare pie. Did they succeed? Well, if you’re looking for Modern Warfare 3; look elsewhere. But if you want a military FPS grounded in reality with a multiplayer component more reliant on teamwork than rock stars; then you’ll definitely like what EA did with their relaunch of Medal of Honor.
Ever since the original Medal of Honor on the first PlayStation, the series was rooted in World War II. With the reboot EA LA (now known as Danger Close) has taken the franchise right into the current conflict in Afghanistan. Set in 2002, the game follows a few Tier 1 Operators through a relatively short campaign. Where the Call of Duty franchise has turned into a cartoon parody of the military where it relies more on ripping off Michael Bay movies than realism, Medal of Honor is set in a real conflict in events based on things that actually happened. There’s no nukes going off over Washington D.C. here, just some bad ass best of the best Navy SEAL Operators doing their thing.
And while the campaign is short, you’re not left feeling let down. It ends at a good point before you’re able to be burned out by all the action. One disappointment with the single player is the difficulty. Even on Hard, it’s not as tough as even Hardened in Call of Duty so veterans of that series will be able to plow through the single player with no problem at all.
But you don’t buy a FPS for the single player, that’s just a bonus to the real meat of these games; the multi-player. While the campaign was handled by Danger Close, the multi was done by DICE. They basically took the Frostbite Engine from Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and crafted a few multi-player modes that fit in with the Medal of Honor theme. You have things like a team deathmatch, capture and hold modes, and a fun combat mission mode where one side has to secure objectives on the map.
The Frostbite Engine, in my opinion, is one of the best FPS engines out there; especially in multi. The destructible environments and terrain is great for eliminating hiding spots, although that’s used a lot less here than in Battlefield. Still, it’s superior to the relatively static maps you’ll find in Call of Duty.
While the multi-player modes are a lot of fun, the game is seriously hurt by the Call of Duty mentality of one player having to win the map. This game relies more on teamwork, but the Call of Duty kids just can’t get that through their head. They just want to unlock all of the killstreaks and be the bad ass on the map. As a result the game is being destroyed by spawn campers on the maps. Some games, you can’t even respawn without being instantly killed by some kid sitting on the spawn point. DICE seems to be aware of this problem as they just today patched the game to help relieve the spawning issues.
In the end, the new Medal of Honor is a great new start for a franchise that’s become very stale in the last few years. It’s not Call of Duty, and isn’t meant to be. If you go into it with that frame of mind, you’ll probably end up enjoying it.
Final Score: 4 out of 5