A tightly designed experienced hampered by redundanc and glitches
Released in response to the behemoth that is Call of Duty, the Medal of Honor reboot that transitioned the series to modern warfare was met with less critical praise and even less enthusiastic players. I found this strange upon playing MoH myself because while it did fall into predictable trappings of a linear explosion-fest, it was much more intimate and authentic feeling than Call of Duty or any other major modern war FPS on the market. Medal of Honor’s tighter plotting focuses on a group of operatives in Afghanistan over the course of three days. You join in stealthy treks through hillside tundra and villages, fast-paced firefights, and behind military drones. Developer Danger Close does a good job of changing up the combat and using innovative tricks to enhance the immersive reality and altered perspectives. In one specific instance you see through a low-res camera in order to spot mortar teams hidden within ridges in a cliffside giving a sense of authenticity to a game that really is only a few ticks below CoD on the fantasy-o-meter. You deploy your missiles and watch for a few seconds while your targets have no idea their fates have been sealed. It's hokus-pokus military propaganda just like it's contemporaries, but the gritty approach goes a lot further to sell it's fantasy. Now if only the game didn't try to constantly reassure us that it's really real because they talked to some real soldiers and fired real guns, it might be easier to defend. It still boils down to this: if it's wearing a turban, shoot it.
MoH has a rich naturalism that comes through its attention to the Middle Eastern environment (from sandstorm particle effects to sun rays gleaming through it), as well as bringing focus to the plight of regular soldiers, rather than SEALs or guys on top secret missions where the fate of the free world rests in your hands. MoH is much more humble in its ambition, being about a routine mission gone typically haywire. It's absolute worst moments are anything scripted and any tiresome pre-rendered cutscene where it tries to take a lazy stab at bureaucracy and ruthless commanders sitting comfortably in Washington versus the "real heroes" in the field. It would have been more compelling if we learned about our characters as people, about their lives, and feelings in dangerous situations in such a disconnected conflict. It would have hugely separated the title from its competition, and feels like a missed opportunity without it. I've heard rumblings about people upset over the oversimplification of the political situations surrounding the games setting and plot (as well as for the sequel), but by the first cutscene the game is already so simplistic and silly, it's hard to entertain the notion of finding anything it does offensive.
Even if you get past the "realism" thing, the abundance of technical glitches hamper the experience, where are the result of a rushed release. AI is stupid, objectives won’t progress, enemies clearly spawn within sight. Although valid criticisms and reasons to dislike the title, I feel Medal of Honor does enough right in presenting itself as a more thoughtful and artistic version of the Call of Duty machine that the single-player experience is satisfying, immersive and rewarding -- warts and all.