Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Review of Medal of Honor (2010)

I was on the fence about getting this game.  If they didn't offer guns that were only available through pre-ordering, I may not have even gotten the game.  But this coupled with the bonus sniper rifle for having BC2 VIP, and my lack of interest in the upcoming CoD game nudged me to the purchasing side of the fence.  Oh, one other bonus is that you get in on the beta for Battlefield 3 (if that's important to you).  And probably there'll be other bonuses through EA's Gun Club.

First off: everything mediocre I've read about this game is true.  The single player is unremarkable in almost every way, it does suffer from a few scripting issues (I don't think worst than other MoH titles I've played, but our standards have gone up since then), and the graphics stutter in a few places (seemed to me to be mostly around save points).  On the plus side, the sliding into cover system they have in single player is pretty cool.  Unfortunately, this isn't available in multiplayer.  Which is the other unfortunate thing about this game: how disconnected the singleplayer is from the multiplayer.  It was done by two teams, in two countries, with two different engines, and they seemed to communicate very little between them during development.  It's amazing how much time (3 years) was spent on the singleplayer and yet it still rings pretty hollow at the end of the day.  Interestingly, EA's stock dropped 6% on launch day, due to investors being worried by the mediocre reviews.  There are a couple of interesting levels, but nothing we haven't really seen before and no level sticks out in my memory as "woah, that was awesome!".  There's a level where you get to use attack helicopters, a sniping level, a level with ATVs, and the cinematics are pretty good (and you could skip them if you wanted to, which I've not seen in recent games).  The storyline could have been a little tighter (for example the incompetent, friendly-fire causing general is all but forgotten later in the game), but I did like that it was grittier and had fewer Jack Bauer-esque moments than MW2's storyline.

For the mulitiplayer side: It's actually pretty good, and I've found the description as a hybrid of BC2 and MW2 to be true.  This game differs from BC2 in that there is limited destructibility (one of the coolest things about BC2), and most game modes don't have any vehicles (the other really cool thing about BC2), although there are light tanks in one of the modes.  There are perks like in MW2, but you don't roll through them in the frantic pace that seems to dominate MW2.  The guns do seem more balanced than either of the other 2 games.  The maps are bigger than MW2, but smaller than BC2.  One thing that is unique about their perk system is that every time you unlock a perk, you can choose between a defensive and an offensive action.  Defensive actions include stuff like enemy radar and flak vests for your buddies, and offensive actions involve things like mortar strikes and rocket strikes.  But unlike MW2, then chain of perks is not configurable.  Like BC2 and MW2, you unlock new guns and stuff for your guns as you progress ranks by earning points.  The number of rounds to take down an opponent is about the same as BC2 (they have a hardcore mode too, which I haven't tried yet).
The only major downside to the multiplayer is the spawn points.  They're awful.  In BC2, you'd only get popped on spawn if you spawned on a buddy about to get pwnd. In this game I find myself spawning into a mortar strike or into a gang of enemies fairly often.  Which, needless to say, is intensely aggravating (particularly after it happens 4 times in a row -- not uncommon since kills with a perk count towards the next perk).  In some modes, you can spawn back to your base instead of the front, but not all modes have this idea (for example their version of Death Match).  But sometimes you can use this to your advantage.  On some maps, I've been able to run up to one of their spawn points with my M60 a few seconds into the game and wipe half their team before they can put a stop to my mayhem.  A dirty trick, but it made me giggle.

Overall, if you have to choose between this game and BC2 and MW2, I'd say get either BC2 or MW2 (depending on your playing style).  But if you already have those games and are looking for something with a little less Vietnam and RC cars, this might make for a good distraction until something better comes along.  It's definitely not a terrible game, but its not an amazing game either.  The worst thing about it is realizing what could have been...

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