Almost Too Much Medal of Honor Crammed In...
Medal of Honor Heroes is an addition into the long running World War II series that closes loose ends, brings old heroes back to the front lines, and combines old school graphics with newer technology. You won't find any new ground being broken in this game, but fans of the series will find something to enjoy.
Medal of Honor Heroes comes from Team Fusion over at EA Canada, the team that brought us PSP ports of games like Rise of the Imperfects, and the myriad of NFL, NCAA, NBA, and Tiger Woods games released year on year. Originally, Heroes was released in 2006, and has since gone to sell over 2 million copies worldwide, putting the title among the PSP's better sellers.
Additionally, this PSP title suffers from super-console-itis, where the action is forcibly slowed down to compensate for the lack of proper controls. The action can get pretty heated, for the PSP, but the game is throttled to support the slower movement and turning speed. In addition, the game can become rather bland, as every level entails the same system of capturing territory, killing a set amount of bad guys, and occasionally destroying something. The repetitive nature would be set off by Medal of Honor's trademark scripted sequences, if those in-game cutscenes were anywhere to be found. Instead, the closest the game comes to cinematic is the black and white World War 2 stock videos that precede each campaign.
Medal of Honor Heroes has received a few upgrades from its predecessors. All weapons have iron sights (a relatively new concept for Medal of Honor back in 2006), and all weapons can melee. Aiming down the iron sights also allows for peering over cover, although this system appears to be based on a set height rather than changing to the scenery, and does not work in many situations. At some point, EA decided to make the game more difficult by removing any checkpoints, meaning if you die, you have to start the level all over again.
I would comment on the AI being braindead, if it weren't such a common trait in earlier Medal of Honor games. Your support is useless, and the AI tends to just stand out in the open, waiting for your delicious bullets to penetrate their soft fleshy bodies. That being said, the true standing of Medal of Honor comes from the multiplayer, where an incredibly impressive 32 players can fight in one server. By any standard, 32 players in a PSP game is nothing to chortle at, and the game manages to pull off online play very well. Being a 2006 release, the game harkens back to an age before every shooter had to have some fancy leveling system in its multiplayer.
From an aesthetic viewpoint, Medal of Honor is reminiscent of the 2002 PC games, although that is more to do with the limitations of the PSP. Given the PSP's track record for third party games that are not exactly optimized for the system, I place much higher gravity on the game playing fluidly, and Medal of Honor Heroes does just that. I can't recall any moments where the game froze up, or had any meaningful drop in fps.
Medal of Honor Heroes features three campaigns, each with five missions that individually take around ten minutes to complete, meaning you could probably complete the single player in just a few hours. Rewards from the single player campaign offer new skins for multiplayer.
Medal of Honor Heroes isn't a port, it is a continuation of a series with an all new campaign. The main heroes are Jimmy Patterson from Medal of Honor and Frontline, John Baker from Allied Assault, and William Holt from European Assault. In addition, the game wraps up the storyline from Rising Sun. Despite the advancements on the PSP system (32 player multiplayer), the game feels like Medal of Honor Lite, and is questionably worth its original $40 price tag.
However, if you can pick up Medal of Honor Heroes new for $9 at Gamestop like I did, the game offers a relaxed look at World War II, and a revisiting to the old Playstation experience. I gave Medal of Honor Heroes for the PSP a 3 out of 5 because, although the game runs fine on the PSP, it just doesn't have the "wow factor." Players who are accustomed to dual analog sticks for their first person shooters will not find much solace in Heroes' control system.