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Cian Hassett
17 Oct, 2010

Medal of Honor Review

360 Review | It wasn't supposed to be like this.
Trying to compete with two of the biggest FPS franchises on the market requires more than gameplay, more than story - it demands brilliance in every area. Medal of Honor has attempted to offer something on a par with Modern Warfare 2 and Battlefield: Bad Company 2, each distinctive and each terrific in its own area of expertise. Before development started, Electronic Arts must have known that the odds were against them. Medal of Honor is recognised as a classic war game with great set pieces, but this latest addition to the series brings it into a present day setting. There's been plenty of hype and excitement for what promised to be the most refreshing Medal of Honor game ever made. In hindsight, taking a leap into the 21st Century was a tragic mistake.

It doesn't take long to spot the problems. One of the most important elements needed to make an engaging military shooter is an engaging story. Medal of Honor doesn't have one, as the narrative is non-existent. You'll be able to take control of three different characters, each of whom places you into a separate part of the U.S. Army. We're supposed to be dealing with the most elite and ruthless people in the military, Tier 1 operatives. As you're about to find out, this game doesn't do the brave men and women any justice whatsoever. They've all got typically silly code-names, they're all completely lifeless and any sort of character development is sorely absent. The biggest issue with the story is that the objectives are too general; there isn't an overarching goal or a main terrorist leader to track down. You're basically just shooting waves of Taliban in Afghanistan, and not much else. If the intention was to portray a realistic military experience that shows respect to the American troops in Afghanistan, then Medal of Honor is a disappointment on almost every level.

Delta, Zulu, Beard, Charlie, Echo, Roger?

Delta, Zulu, Beard, Charlie, Echo, Roger?
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As soon as you pick up the controller, you'll notice that Medal of Honor rips off Modern Warfare 2 button for button. With the exception of being able to lean (a useless and awkward addition), the game handles in exactly the same way. The only other new feature is a sliding cover system which rarely works so it's impossible to rely on it. Kicking up dust and clinging to a rock looks good, but it's not very practical when you're left out in the open. This wouldn't be too much of a problem if the actual content was entertaining, but it's an incredibly linear experience. Each mission is well paced and there's plenty of variety on offer, from driving an ATV across a snowy mountain to destroying an Afghan village with a Harrier, but the gunplay itself is banal to say the least. Medal of Honor lacks the creative spark needed to make it stand out from the crowd. Had the story not been so convoluted and disinteresting, then maybe it would have compensated for some of the most monotonous gameplay of 2010. The developers really haven't done themselves any favours here. Any potential sense of urgency is removed by telling the story through predictable CGI and non-interactive cut-scenes. Even though there are a couple of atmospheric moments (the opening in particular), the lack of any control means that you're never going to be on the edge of your seat.

Medal of Honor's weakest trait, without question, is the AI. It's astonishing to see just how pathetically incompetent your team mates are when faced with a group of soldiers. Don't expect them to kill any more than a handful of enemies throughout the course of any given mission, it's your job to eliminate about ninety percent of targets thrown at you. There was plenty of pre-release talk about how your team moves using real life commands, but this sort of attention to detail is irrelevant when they can't aim straight. Enemy AI is just as brainless if not more so, they'll get stuck in rocks and leave themselves completely open to fire in many situations. FPS veterans won't find a challenging solo campaign here, Medal of Honor won't push you back, even on the hardest difficulty. Compared to getting through Call of Duty 4 on Veteran, this is a casual afternoon stroll in a world full of clueless idiots. Is this a true representation of war? Of course not. It's borderline propaganda at times, depicting groups of American soldiers slaughtering a horde of enemies without any clear motive. Medal of Honor doesn't replicate reality, it has more in common with Team America.

Woops, must have stumbled into a barricade made of invisibility.

Woops, must have stumbled into a barricade made of invisibility.
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One of the few positive aspects of Medal of Honor arrives in the form of some decent graphics. Although just like everything else in the game, it's inconsistent and never feels complete. Certain missions which drag you through the various villages in mountainous Afghanistan have great textures and particle effects, but that's not always the case. The graphical blemishes are most evident in the first half of the game when textures grow increasingly muddy and light casts extremely blocky shadows. Weapons are usually quite detailed, but overall the game's presentation doesn't hold up. The frame rate will drop on far too many occasions and vehicle models fail to render quickly enough at times. A game shouldn't be judged on visuals alone, but when the quality fluctuates so often, it's hard feel properly immersed with these soldiers. The soundtrack goes some way towards heightening the atmosphere with some traditional instrumental music and the voice acting is quite solid. Although this brings us back to the earlier problem of character development, these men don't have the personality of Ghost or Price, they're just bearded clones with a name hovering over them.

Medal of Honor's single player campaign is disappointing, so it should come as promising news to hear that multiplayer was developed solely by DICE. Using the same engine as Bad Company 2, it appears as though the initial goal was to blend the fast paced action of Modern Warfare with the tactical prowess of Battlefield. What people seem to forget is that these are two entirely different forms of gameplay, with two separate target audiences. Online warfare is better equipped than most other shooters out there, but DICE is capable of producing a more streamlined experience. There are four different modes, most of which are ripped from Battlefield's Rush and Conquest, with the remainder filling in the generic slots. There are only eight maps and they're all locked into individual modes. For example, if you prefer to play an objective based game mode, there will only be three maps on the rotation list. Unlike the depth of class manipulation present in its rivals, Medal of Honor only has three; Rifleman, Special Ops and Sniper. Rank progression leads to better unlocks but there simply isn't enough content here when two better alternatives are available. Invisible walls mean that it doesn't have the free roaming capabilities of Battlefield, and the limited options leave it trailing behind Modern Warfare. It's an identity crisis, Medal of Honor has no idea what it wants to achieve.

What the hell are you doing?!?! The fighting is over here you idiot!

What the hell are you doing?!?! The fighting is over here you idiot!
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Hypothetically speaking, if you started playing Medal of Honor when you wake up, the game will be comfortably wrapped up before lunchtime. The 'story' is no longer than four hours and there's no co-operative mode. One feature called 'Tier 1 Mode' allows you to replay the campaign in a battle against the clock, skillful killing will extend the timer and there are no checkpoints. Considering how Medal of Honor reeks of mediocrity, this addition is too little too late. If you're truly desperate for a new multiplayer experience before Call of Duty: Black Ops arrives in a few weeks, then you might find some enjoyment here, but it's not going to be able to sustain a healthy community next year. This is nothing more than a mindless recreation of actual war, and when you have two superior (and cheaper) games on the market, it becomes impossible to recommend Medal of Honor as anything other than a tolerable rental.

If EA envisioned Medal of Honor as the most accurate portrayal of modern combat, then it has failed miserably. The industry has been fortunate to see the likes of Battlefield and Call of Duty maintain the high standards that we expect from them, but Medal of Honor will never be remembered as a top quality FPS. It's a shame to see a series, once hugely respected, hit rock bottom. Unfortunately, it was always going to be a losing battle and we don't need any more combatants. EA has to go back to the drawing board, otherwise we could lose this classic franchise forever. Medal of Honor isn't the worst game in the world but when everything here is sub-standard, you'll be left wondering, what's the point of it all?
The Score
A new candidate for the most disappointing game of 2010, Medal of Honor doesn't deliver on any of its promises.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Medal of Honor Content

Medal of Honor sequel confirmed
21 Feb, 2011 That's not good enough, do it again soldier!
No more Taliban for Medal of Honor
04 Oct, 2010 Talibanned.
Sneak peek at the Medal of Honor campaign
20 Sep, 2010 Friends From Afar.
64 Comments
3 years ago
Hahahahaha. Nice.

The beta was f**king awful so I didn't expect much icon_smile.gif
3 years ago
Feel the burn.
3 years ago
Kinda surprised that you didn't mention the amazing sound effects they have happening on the vehicles and guns.

It's pretty much the only thing MoH has that really beats most other games out there.
3 years ago
I'm glad this sucked and glad it's getting average reviews.

EA can make good games when they want to, but this was a super quick cash in on the COD popularity of late.

To me, this is like the FPS version of the disaster that was NBA Elite 11.
3 years ago
Eyce wrote
Kinda surprised that you didn't mention the amazing sound effects they have happening on the vehicles and guns.

It's pretty much the only thing MoH has that really beats most other games out there.
Amazing? Really? They were ok I guess...
3 years ago
Ouch, I got it when it came out and I was really disappointed in it but I think it's a 6.5 at best.

The campaign was WAY too short and too serious that it was boring as hell, there were some cool mechanics but it wasn't enough to change from COD. The multiplayer from what I played was fun but not worth the full price.

But I agree that this is one of the most disappointing titles of 2010.
3 years ago
There was no way this game could compete or come close to Call of Duty. Epic fail.
3 years ago
I am so glad I didnt waste my money on this. EA's top shooter franchise is the Battlefield series (especially Bad Company 2, I found that game amazing).

Medal of Honour hasn't been relevant in years and despite I dont blame them for trying from a business sense: publishers need to learn that 'shameless cash in' usually doesn't work.

Look at what Driver did when it tried to be less Driver and more Grand Theft Auto. Look at the Sonic games from 1995-2009.

Remember Shaq Fu? Bubsy? Charles Barkley's Shut Up and Jam?
3 years ago
The campaign was way too short, I finished the campaign on Hard mode in 5 hours, very disappointed with the game
3 years ago
Am I the only one who remembers back when Medal of Honor was the premiere war series and Call of Duty was the plucky young up-start? Oh how times have changed...
3 years ago
Wow, harsh words, but probably warranted.

I was on the fence about this game but glad I didn't buy it, sounds very generic. One day if I'm bored I might hire it out just to say that I've played it. :-p

I'm praying that Black Ops is as awesome as I hope it'll be and won't be another let down.
3 years ago
Mr Waffle wrote
Am I the only one who remembers back when Medal of Honor was the premiere war series and Call of Duty was the plucky young up-start? Oh how times have changed...
Well, Jason West and Vince Zampella, who worked on what is arguable the best Medal of Honor game Allied Assault, left EA and went on to create Call of Duty.
3 years ago
The beta was lol-worthy. Not surprised by this review.
3 years ago
Shame this will go on to sell lot's just due to the name and marketing budget.
3 years ago
Quote
The biggest issue with the story is that the objectives are too general; there isn't an overarching goal or a main terrorist leader to track down. You're basically just shooting waves of Taliban in Afghanistan, and not much else.
I didn't really see this as a problem. If anything, I think the game is better off for not having a big overarching goal or villain. I don't know much about military operations, but playing it felt more authentic than any other modern-setting shooter I've played. I saw the story more like a snapshot of what it's like for a modern-day soldier. Now as a video game, you could argue that this doesn't work because we're so used to having definable goals and the big villain we're trying to defeat, but if you look at it from the developers vision of the game trying to be realistic then it works. Although we didn't really see much character development, if what that meant was not seeing something like MW2's storyline, then we're all better off. I would much prefer a realistic storyline than one with so many scripted events and twists and implausible bad guys. And I would rather not see the deaths of my team members used in a way that's supposed to make me more emotionally invested in the game. That would just cheapen the game.

(I am just talking shit here because I was initially disappointed with the SP storyline, but I've played through the campaign twice and thought about why I was disappointed and have since changed my view.)
3 years ago
5.5? rock bottom? Harsh to say the least. This game is not a 5.5 at all. Its not more than an 7-8, but it is no 5.5.

If this game had no hype and was not expected to do well it would have score higher at a lot of places
3 years ago
el_supraman wrote
5.5? rock bottom? Harsh to say the least. This game is not a 5.5 at all. Its not more than an 7-8, but it is no 5.5.

If this game had no hype and was not expected to do well it would have score higher at a lot of places
5.5 is rock bottom out of 10?

EDIT: Oh, I see you were quoting the review. Nevermind then.

Keep in mind though that if we were to give the game an 8/10 it would have to be pretty damn fantastic. From the sounds of Cian's review the game suffers from quite a few issues that certainly deter it from an 8.
3 years ago
For me the worst part of the game is that the single player is only 5-6 hours long..as i dont play online..and that Tier 1 mode required xbox Gold Live to play..essentially paid $79 for a 5-6 hrs experience...What i hated in the campaign was how linear everything was why do i need to go to a specific place to call in an airstrike?? and why cant i advance to the next stage before my teammates does...sometimes your just stuck in an area for 2-3 minutes waiting for your teammates to get there...Weapon variety was horrible..also out of the 10 missions only 1 small part of the campaign i particularly enjoyed was defending a position with enemys advancing..Other than that i would give this game a pass..I agree with el_supraman, probably a 7...Sounds and visuals were preety good but short of extraordinary...
3 years ago
Ouch, what a bad score. I see history repeating itself; post Doom FPS rip offs and now post CoD FPS rip offs. Frankly, the FPS genre in my opinion has been on a downward slide for a while now.

MoH Airborne was actually quite a good experience. It's a shame it was followed up with this.
3 years ago
Wasn't Modern Warfare 2 only like 5-6 hours long? I vaguely remember finishing it pretty bloody quickly. Granted I didn't play it on Veteran, still it was woefully short from what I remember.

That said I would probably only give MW2 about a 7.5, and mostly because of the multiplayer. As a result, if this is worse than it in every way I can see why a 5.5 was on offer.
3 years ago
Sin Ogaris wrote
Wasn't Modern Warfare 2 only like 5-6 hours long? I vaguely remember finishing it pretty bloody quickly. Granted I didn't play it on Veteran, still it was woefully short from what I remember.

That said I would probably only give MW2 about a 7.5, and mostly because of the multiplayer. As a result, if this is worse than it in every way I can see why a 5.5 was on offer.
Most people I know who got MW2 didn't even care about the single player.
3 years ago
But single player/spec ops was the only good part of MW2 :\
3 years ago
MW2 was a little bit longer than this, but it's in a completely different league. Every part of that campaign was top notch.
3 years ago
Really? I found it was a carbon copy of what they did in Modern Warfare prior to it but lacking significantly because it wasn't as "fresh".

Also for a game that was so story-centric the setpieces really didn't flow well together. It felt more like they had an idea of what places they wanted to show off in the game and then tried to loosely base a story around that. Rather than allowing the story to take them to different locales.

Suffice to say, I really didn't think much of the MW2 single player.

I'm not saying that MoH does things better (haven't played it), if anything like I said, if it's worse than MW in every conceivable way then 5.5 is the perfect score for it (because I really didn't think highly of MW2 to begin with).

I absolutely adore Bad Company 2 though, Love the variety and the characters make the game fun, it also flows much better (granted I haven't finished it yet) from what I have played so far. Shame I'm still Silver at the moment so I can't dip my feet in the multi yet.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  14/10/2010 (Confirmed)
Publisher:
  Electronic Arts
Genre:
  Shooter
Year Made:
  2009
Players:
  1

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