Review: Medal of Honor

Steve Butts | 15 Oct 2010 14:25
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Medal of Honor's multiplayer, developed by DICE, is much more enjoyable. The levels are more open than those of the single player portion of the game, so you'll almost always have a handful of ways to get to whatever your objective happens to be. The maps themselves are small enough that you'll have lots of action even in less-populated sessions. It's true that the long corridors of some of the levels can get a little snipe-tastic, but the game compensates by removing the prone command for multiplayer , making it easier to spot the snipers at a distance. The modes and unlocks help add to the variety of the overall experience, but they're not really all that different from what we've already been playing in Call of Duty. EA's take on the shooter won't beguile you away from that other game; it's just not different enough to get out from under the massive shadow that Activision has cast on the genre.

One last point: EA removed the Taliban label from the opposing force in multiplayer. I'm personally indifferent to the issue, but I seem to be the exception. Many of the most vocal gamers seem to feel betrayed by EA's decision to compromise the realism of the game. Taking out the Taliban name may protect EA's public image, at least as far as the protestors were concerned, but some gamers feel such an ideological concession harms the advancement of the medium.

Like I said, I don't have an ax to grind one way or the other. I just want to suggest two things: First, EA didn't seem to develop sensitivity to this issue until it became clear the game was going to be banned by the very military institution it was meant to honor. Second, the more we demand recognition of gaming's relevance to society, the more responsible we need to be in handling controversial subject matter. Does that mean across-the-board censorship? Absolutely not. But neither does it mean carte blanche to ignore the perceptions, superficial though they might be, of non-gamers. Whether you see EA's decision as right or wrong (or somewhere in between) is much less important than what you think of the motivations behind it.

Bottom Line: EA's take on the modern shooter is good but not great. The combat is genuinely thrilling, but the heavy scripting and predictable plot points leave little room for surprises. Multiplayer is fun but not different from what we're already playing.

Recommendation: Multiplayer is the only thing that's worth more than a few hours of your time. If you're not already heavily into Call of Duty, this is at least worth a rental.

What our review scores mean.

This review was based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.

Steve Butts's advice to game writers: If your story isn't dramatic enough, maybe you just haven't added enough profanity.

Game: Medal of Honor
Genre: Shooter
Developer: Danger Close/DICE
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: October 12th, 2010
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Available from: Amazon (360), Amazon (PS3) , Amazon (PC)

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