Medal of Honor Preview
The last time I played a great Medal of Honor was back in 2001 when Frontline wowed many a PS2 gamer. Since then, I’ve been waiting for the franchise to reclaim some – or ideally, all – of its former glory, and based on what I’ve seen thus far in the beta test, there’s a chance it could happen. Of course, I can’t test the single-player aspect but I have confidence EALA can deliver a solid and satisfying campaign, and the footage I’ve seen thus far has been most impressive. Besides, with two teams dedicated to the single-player and multiplayer modes respectively, there’s a much better chance that Medal of Honor will represent the full entertainment package. And I can always judge the controls and visuals without having to get involved in the main campaign; the beta may be a little rough, but if this is “rough,” that’s a good sign for the final product. EA has plenty of time to iron out some obvious kinks.
Firstly, you may have heard about some lagging and hitching in this beta and although my experience has been mostly positive, I have noticed such issues. The most common is a definite lag after you die; there was frequently a pause of a few seconds before you actually kicked the bucket, despite the fact that respawning was prompt. I also got booted a few times and there were a few instances of players with super powers…due, of course, to the lag. This being said, it’s hardly unplayable and I’d like to assume that EA will be working on the entire online presentation and process between now and October. When the game does operate correctly, you can really start to see the immense amount of potential and there’s a fluid seamlessness to the gameplay that reminds me of a cross between Call of Duty and another highly refined military shooter like Ghost Recon or Rainbow Six (yes, I know the latter two are third-person shooters).
But maybe the latter feel comes more from the authenticity than the visual display and basic control. Much like MAG, you really won’t survive many shots, and well-placed bullets from snipers are almost always instant kills. This lends the experience a pervading sense of urgency and general tension; open areas are about as deadly as they can be, so running and gunning is ill-advised unless you’ve got several team members by your side…which leads me to the other aspect: when playing as a part of a team, you invariably feel safer when packed in with your teammates. This reinforces the cooperative aspect of the game; I’ve played many shooters where even team-based matches feel like regular deathmatches due to the all-for-one atmosphere. It’s clear that Medal of Honor will require patience, skill, and a dedication to your comrades in arms. Depending on your online FPS experience, it may take some time to adapt to the speed and style of MoH, but it’s worth the effort.
The maps are pretty cool; they offer multiple spots for snipers, ambushes, and the erection of impromptu team fortresses, and the weapons are fairly distinct and effective. Now, it might just be because I’m still trying to get the colors exactly right on my new TV, but the graphics do appear to be a touch bland and washed-out. There just seems to be a preponderance of light tans, greens and browns; there’s a definite lack of any vibrant colors or hues. This sort of turned me off at first, but maybe that’s because I’m used to other games that really put an emphasis on bright colors. Besides, the palette fits the style and the more I played, the more I came to terms with the speed and flow. Despite the occasional lagging, Medal of Honor is loaded with potential and if you have the option to dive into the beta, you should definitely give it a try.
6/28/2010 Ben Dutka