Friday, October 22, 2010

EA’s Medal of Honor: New Game… Old Name


The new Medal of Honor. It's certainly different than the current juggernaut that is Call of Duty, but am I going to abandon my quest for 10th prestige? Let's take a look.    


A New Game

Tuesday, the 12th of October, felt a little like how I remember the Christmas mornings from my childhood. Electronic Arts' reboot of the Medal of Honor franchise was going to be delivered and I was a little excited. Actually, really excited. As our eloquent Vice President Joe Biden might say, "A new FPS. This is a big f'ing deal." Unfortunately, the difference between this and Christmas mornings were that, although I act like a kid much too often, I'm far from that age anymore. Even worse, I had to put in a full day of work plus commute before I was able to sit down to a little relaxing multiplayer action. When I finely made it back home, I was relieved to find the box on the front porch as expected. In my experience, Amazon has been really good about delivering pre-orders on their release dates. Especially when you're an Amazon Prime member. I just need to remember to call in sick on those days. Starting the game for the first time required an immediate update. The update loaded quickly and the game started as expected. Right from the start I had an anxiety inducing glitch. I could not connect to any servers in the multiplayer game mode. This is a big deal. Mulitplayer FPS is why I game. After a reboot of the Xbox 360 I was able to connect to, and play, multiplayer games. It seems this little glitch might have something to do with the update, as it hasn't happened again. I'll be looking out for it in future play.


Muliplayer

Unfortunately for EA, Danger Close, and the Medal of Honor team, they've chosen to go up against the eight-hundred pound gorilla, the Call of Duty franchise. The comparisons are inevitable. It's hard for me to not look at this game from the Call of Duty perspective because first person shooters are my bag and Call of Duty: Modern Warefare 2 is the game I currently play the most. I immediately had a distaste for the multiplayer play of Medal of Honor. Initially, I attributed this to a lot of Call of Duty play. A game from a different company, studio, and developers is not only going to feel different, but it should be different. There no room for innovation otherwise. The more I played Medal of Honor the more I began to like it, but there seems to be a limit to that growing affection. When compared to Modern Warfare 2, Medal of Honor feels clunky. The mulitplayer gameplay is certainly not as refined. Comparing the two reminds me of the differences between Valve's Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat. These were two different FPS games based on the same Half-Life engine but they were very different in playability. As in Date of Defeat I feel like I don't have full control of my limbs in Medal of Honor. It's like they flail about a bit too wildly. Call of Duty's gameplay seems much tighter. Medal of Honor feels a bit unrefined.


Single Player

I haven't yet had time to complete the single player mode but I've liked what I've seen so far. I usually play single player campaigns on the middle or "normal" level. This gives me another reason to go back and play the games I like on the harder setting. Additionally, it allows me to suffer through the games that don't quite live up to my expectations without too much pain. My experience with the single player mode up until this point has been a bit better than multiplayer. Most of my complaints about the multiplayer play are alleviated here. The pacing is good and the action is exactly what I want it to be, fun, even if it does seem a little bit too easy. I'm certainly no n00b and I'm a a far cry from the pwn but after almost two solid hours of play, I have yet to die. Story, what story? Single player doesn't seem to have a story. If you're looking for one, you're going to be disappointed. On the other hand, what IS the story in Afghanistan? I assume the guys go on missions and if they're lucky enough to return to base, they do whatever it is they do while waiting for another mission. Contrary to what movies teach us, there really isn't much story in that. The story here, or lack there of, is killing tangos.


Conclusions

I'm disappointed in Medal of Honor. If it was at least as good as any of the last three Call of Duty games, I'd be extremely happy. Although I've only played a little Bad Company 2, I seem to remember it being superior to Medal of Honor as well. I've been playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 for almost a year now and it's still my go to game. I'll finish the single player mode and play a ton more multiplayer, but even without the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops I don't see myself playing Metal of Honor this time next year. These other games feel much more polished and refined. They have their share of problems but I find them superior to Medal of Honor in virtually every way. The game is good enough that I'm not writing the franchise off just yet. Being the FPS fan that I am, I actually can't wait until the next version of Medal of Honor arrives.


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