What EA began way back on the PS1 has developed into a full-fledged blockbuster franchise, despite a few lackluster installments here and there. Medal of Honor hasn’t really reclaimed all of its former glory, and most will say no entry in the series has topped 2001’s Medal of Honor: Frontline for the PS2 and Medal of Honor: Allied Assault on the PC. However, the very promising Airborne just dropped on the Xbox 360 and PC, and for handheld gamers, EA is preparing another encouraging title- Medal of Honor Heroes 2 for the PSP. More details have recently come to light on this fast-paced WWII FPS, and we’re all set and ready to fill you in. But bear in mind that upon finishing this preview, you might be suddenly inclined to pick up a PSP if you don’t have one already. …you’ve been warned.
Most fans of the MoH series have noticed the rather significant change in focus during the last few titles. But for Heroes 2, EA has stepped up and said we should expect a single-player campaign and storytelling that is very reminiscent of earlier games in the series, which sounds like good news to us. You’ll be playing as OSS agent Lt. Berg, and if you don’t know what “OSS” is, just consider it a secret U.S. government position that goes above and beyond the duty of a typical soldier. You’ll be dropped in as a member of the 5th Rangers on an undercover assignment, and from there, you’ll undertake a variety of missions, each of which have very specific objectives. You may remember the original MoH and Frontline, where you had to complete both primary and secondary objectives in each mission. Well, you’ll be approaching the game in much the same way in Heroes 2.
But at the same time, it seems the classic gameplay style may have a slightly different tinge to it. We’ve heard the action is more hectic than ever, which means runnin’ and gunnin’ will be the name of the game more often than not. Therefore, if you’re wondering when you’ll be able to step into the stealthy shoes of Snake – which you could do every once in a while in earlier titles – you probably shouldn’t waste your time. While we’ve no doubt there should be a sniper rifle somewhere in the game, the more we hear, the more likely it seems that you’ll be moving very quickly from start to finish. And remember, this game comes complete with the promise of an intense 32-player online experience, and that is bound to be a ton of fun. Couple this with amazingly detailed environments rarely before seen on the PSP, and you’re looking at a game that really shouldn’t be missed by any avid FPS fan. Sure, they’re always best played on more powerful platforms, but hey, sometimes you need your fix on the go.
We should also see a diverse assortment of backdrops and environments in the game, which will (of course) take place in a variety of different locations throughout Europe. You’ll be battling your way through both France and Germany, and you won’t be limited to the typical bombed-out towns and villages, either: Lt. Berg and Co. will find themselves in lush countryside, running around submarines, and infiltrating heavily guarded and reinforced German strongholds. Each level will not only provide you with both sets of objectives, but you’ll also have multiple ways of approaching each objective. Granted, there is that very clear emphasis on fast-paced action, but provided you have some help from your allies, it’s up to you how much faith you wish to put in your comrades. We’re really hoping for some solid AI from both the enemies and our buddies, primarily because this generally hasn’t been a strong point of the franchise.
But at the very least, we fully expect the top-notch controls from the first Heroes to return in this sequel. Many will question how well a FPS will control on the PSP, just because the handheld’s button configuration doesn’t necessarily lend itself to accessible and fluid control. But you needn’t worry about that: you simply move with the analog and alter your pitch with the face buttons, which means getting started should be a breeze, especially for fans of the original. Furthermore, EA is planning to include a great record-keeping system, and they’ll try to get the player to maximize his/her skill. In other words, it’s something like the Achievements we find on the Xbox 360; over 20 awards await the diligent player, and these will include things like Endurance (finishing a mission without dying once). So in addition to the option of those secondary objectives, which can always prove challenging, you can step up to the plate and go for even more.
Medal of Honor Heroes 2 is scheduled to hit this November, so we suggest you keep an eye out for it. We hope to find out more regarding the game’s AI, and we certainly think the developers will deliver on their promises of over-the-top action and reliable 32-player online entertainment. The original was a solid title, but this franchise has had a frustrating knack for being very up and down over the past years…let’s hope EA manages to buck the trend and keep up the momentum.
9/6/2007 Ben Dutka