Liquid Looks at Medal of Honor (single-player for the pc)
Liquid Looks at Medal of Honor (single-player for the pc)
Deep in the heart of the Afghan Mountains you find yourself up against the Taliban in the first attempt at a realistic modern combat shooter. The first person genre is a tough nut to crack. When it comes to the single player you have a lot of fierce competition. Lets see how well it stacks up.
By now the programming abilities of any studio in the first person genre should be impeccably well done and proficient. By no means am I saying that this game is unplayable or completely un-enjoyable, but there are issues that take you away from the immersion of being tier-1 deep in the heart of Afghanistan.
Firstly there was no attempt to utilize the power of a modern gaming pc. Dead bodies despawn horrifically fast, as do dropped weapons. At times it is difficult to be in the exact position to use an item or pick up an item. And on many occasions headshots were not registered, and clipping plains around objects extended rather far. If you wanted me to be Tier-1 Special Forces I want to be able to pop the top of my enemies head off, all the time. On many occasions I found it awkward and even difficult to move around. Getting my boots stuck on obscenely small obstacles. This was awful in a chase and really brought me out of the moment.
Secondly the game just feels light and shallow. There are no obvious effects of gravity or ballistics on your rounds. As seen in the mission with the 50 cal sniper rifle, it’s just point and shoot. Rubble just absorbs into the ground. Blown up things don’t look blown up, just darker. Which is a shame given the detail put into the rest of the games models.
Really this game could have used a few more months of polishing, a few hundred more hours of beta testing, and a little bit more effort.
Gears of War: 3, Bio Shock 1 & 2, and Mirrors Edge are just a few visually impressive games that used the Unreal Engine 3. But you can now add another one to the list. Medal of Honor is a visually stunning game.
The level of detail put into the characters is very impressive. It’s hard not to notice the flares and combat tomahawks strapped to your squads’ backs. There is very little repetition in the use of objects making the game feel very authentic and real. Then only gripe I have about anything visual is that when things are destroyed, I want them to look annihilated. Not just darker and some holes put in em. This is a very small gripe though and by no means does it effect how the game feels and looks overall.
At release for the PC version there were no settings to change visual performance. The game has been patched and there are some settings you can change to better suit your needs. However, it’s not as tweakable as I prefer my games to be. Frame rate was very good on my setup, even on high settings. Overall Medal of Honor is a very visually stunning game.
I consider gameplay to be one of the most important parts of a game. It is where the concept and the mental image of the developer come together to produce what makes a game good. In this instance, with this game, I would have to say they did a good job.
Typically what makes a great game is when something new and unique comes to the table and produces a dynamic that makes things interesting beyond what other titles in the genre have done before. A non fantasy first person shooter has to be
exceedingly spot on to be good. And employ creativeness without sacrificing realism to be great. And, after playing through the entirety of Medal of Honor (on its release build) I would have to say they did averagely with both.
Yes your guns fire, and yes they feel powerful. But where are my ballistics? Why do I miss with a scoped rifle at 100 yards, but can hit a head shot with a .45 pistol at the same distance, same posture, and no problem? It seemed to me from the beginning that they wanted to go for realism. If that truly is the case they fell short. I felt no need to conserve ammo because I would be topped out from any squad mate, and, I rarely ever need to do that cause I could carry hundreds of rounds on me at a time. Also, I never have experienced a misfire or a jam.
Aside from using your squad as an ammo dump, and a disappearing hud. There was very little creativity brought to the
table. Levels were very linear and there was no reward for exploring. Hard vs. medium difficulty didn’t seem very challenging at all. The only thing in the single player side of the game that I did find interesting was the time challenges.
In the end the game feels good, not great. There was everything you would expect a first person shooter to be, two years ago. I believe poor planning on what a game would be today, and changing it to meet the needs and wants of the community we are in now.
What makes a game that will live in your heart as an amazing game? It’s the plot. One that makes you excited. One that makes you care. When there is something that makes you want to relive a digital experience again and again, that is a true masterpiece. Medal of Honor, is no masterpiece.
Before I get into it, I would like to say there may be some spoilers ahead. But worry not, you can finish this game in just a few hours.
If I had to choose one word to describe this game I would choose “short”. “Disjointed” also comes to mind. But mostly it’s just short. Sure you don’t really fall in love with the characters. I mean the bearded guy was cool, what was his name, Smokey? And the nicknames were neat. But nothing really set them apart. Nothing made me care when they jumped in front of my line of fire and I put a few rounds in their backs.
Now keep in mind I don’t have the best memory, I cant tell you what color Uriel Septum’s eyes were in oblivion, or where you get the nuka cola challenge quest in Fallout 3. But I do remember the plots in fairly good detail from the previously mentioned games. I just finished playing Medal of Honor, and I can’t remember much. It had promising expectations from the beginning. Find this guy who knows where the dude is who has the thing, I think. After that I got lost. There is some d*ckhead general giving bad orders, then a lot of fixing his bad orders, followed by a rescue mission. Then it ends. IT ENDS!? You don’t even know if you really rescue, what’s his name. That’s probably why I don’t remember anything from the game at all. I got slapped in the face hard by the hand of a bad ending coming up in the middle of a pretty decent game.
Why did they do this? How could they have not have noticed? I have a theory or two. It was mentioned that they consulted actual veterans from Afghanistan. Potentially there was too much consultation. A soldier is a soldier, a writer is a writer. And even some wars aren’t all that interesting and need to be spiced up a little. My other theory is that they felt that I would be such a creative ending it would be looked at as artistic.
I guess I have been a little harsh. There is a plot. “I” won’t remember it. There are characters, which “I” won’t remember. But in the world of realism maybe a disjointed adventure with a shitty ending though the mountains of Afghanistan is really what it was like for Special Forces deployed there, maybe I was wrong. Maybe this is the most realistic plot of our day. Maybe.
When I first heard about Medal of Honor I was really excited. I am a big fan of the underdog, and Medal of Honor is the underdog in the current call of duty world. I wanted badly for this to be a contender. On top of that I felt that it was time for a game that would honor the struggle and hardship of actual troops in the Middle East, instead of making it an arcade game. I was hoping for realism. I was hoping for something deep.
I am disappointed to say that Medal of Honor is not a contender. It’s a middleweight at best. No competition for the heavyweight that is call of duty. However this is just the single player. I have high hopes for the boys at dice when it comes to the multiplayer.
What danger close did bring to the table is a visually stunning fist person shooter set in a semi-realistic Afghanistan. I have yet to determine if I would recommend it to friends. As the multiplayer in these types of games is what makes or breaks the genre. But if your going to buy it for just the single player, I would wait till it comes down in price.