Medal of Honor

Infinity Ward's Call of Duty franchise is one of the biggest phenomenons in gaming history. With only Halo selling better, it remains as one of the most played online FPS games, or any online games, in video game history. But we aren't here for Call of Duty, are we? No, in fact, we're actually here for Medal of Honor, the WWII franchise that started all the noob-tubing of little 12 year-olds before was ever a sparkle in any gamer's eye. Medal of Honor's PS1 debut was a extreme spectacle of what could happen to FPS games after Marathon, Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, or Duke Nukem 3D's time. It was fun, though it wore out the history lesson gameplay as soon as the market of those games had been over-saturated. What with the explosion in modern war, EA had to somehow step up their game and they found out just how to do it.

You play as a Tier 1 operator in Afghanistan performing a operation that was done back in 2002. With the Afghanistan setting, the story feels a bit more authentic and the added help from real military men telling how this mission went down makes this the ONE of the most realistic military shooters to date. The story of how this happened is not something that can be easily replicated as anything the military does is often pretty hard to explain. I'll leave it to the players to figure it out by themselves, but don't think of it as laziness on my part.

As you walk down the frozen pathway along a Taliban encampment, you notice a small sound behind you. You pull a quick 180 degree turn and see nothing. Deciding to investigate, you warn your superior about a tango that may be nearby. As you scan the way, you notice something. The wall. You draw closer to it, desperate for why it looks so out of place. "Dusty!" you whisper as he rushes to your side.
"What is it?" he asked before realizing the problem. You both stare in awe at the unfinished white and brown piece of bird shit that is the wall.

And that pretty much sums up the graphics. Character models, environments, weapons, vehicles, and everything else look unfinished and rushed. There are so many pixels that I couldn't help but wonder if the developers were doing anything before this got put out. The graphical part of the presentation is just messy and that ends up being a damn shame, mostly because Call of Duty 4 had better textures than this. The soundtrack, however, is an entirely different story. The voice acting is superbly done and the gunfire from across the map is very much a beautiful sound to hear in this game. While hearing shots sound off next to your ear may not sound great in real life, it sure does in this game. Every weapon has that extra kick of sound to make it seems heavier than that piece of plastic sitting in the gamer's hands. The musical score is cool, but it isn't something we all haven't heard before in a better quality than is presented here. The presentation spawns a "meh" feeling in me, and could have stood for extra development time, rather than just being pushed out to compete in the holiday madness.

The gameplay, for the most part, is a very good experience. From the very moment you shoot something, you realize one thing, though. Call of Duty has invaded Medal of Honor. From the quick pace to the animation from your allies opening the doors in a semi-crouched position, and to the controls, it bleeds influence from Activision's juggernaut franchise. Through a few different thought thrown in, it can avoid being called a CoD clone for minor reasons. For one, there's actually a button to let you lean and shoot, a move that is more than handy as your character can only take a few hits, something that Call of Duty doesn't think should be happening in their easy as hell games. Other than that, I call it a clone, but one for EA. The biggest major flaw is actually one with recoil. Everyone knows that the secret to being a professional in FPS games is being able to handle the weapon's recoil well enough to get some accurate shots out of it. The recoil here is nonexistent and that pretty much means that anyone in an online match can pull to the lead because of a cheap flaw that Danger Close never fixed. Before anyone asks, yes, this is a humongous flaw that hindered my enjoyment with the game which is automatically bad.

If that weren't enough, the frustrating checkpoint system can have you go back another 5 minutes every time you screw up. That's isn't fantastic because the AI is so cheap. They're smart enough to take cover, but too stupid to see you, yet they somehow manage to shoot you while pointing their weapons down. How cheap is it when they can kill you by not even pointing it at you? For an "authentic" experience, cheap AI is annoying and horribly placed checkpoints aren't good for the actual gameplay.

Even with all the hype surrounding this game before release, it remains to be seen whether gamers will be playing the multiplayer too long without a recoil patch. For what its worth, this is a very solid first person shooter, but it becomes very obvious, very fast that EA was trying to shove this game out before it should've been. It'll have a fan base, but the majority of players will go to Black Ops, for sure. Flaws or not, I'm waiting for a sequel already.

Score: 8.75

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