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Medal of Honor Review

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On 01/05/2011 at 01:50 PM by Nick DiMola

If you haven’t purchased this game yet, good choice – if you have, you probably should’ve just waited for Black Ops.

Fans of the Battlefield series may want to consider the game solely for the multiplayer mode.

It’s been awhile since the Medal of Honor series has had any amount of relevance. Unfortunately for fans, even with the release of the latest in this series, it remains irrelevant. Medal of Honor is, for lack of a nicer term, a Call of Duty rip-off. It borrows the same style of quest, features similar controls, and even bares semblance to the multiplayer mode. You would expect that if EA was to borrow all of these elements it would at least do them better, but what we are presented with is a game that doesn’t match up to that series at all. Without question, players would be better off checking out any of the past three games in the Call of Duty series instead.

Back when Medal of Honor was first announced, there was some controversy over the plot and story. Being based in modern times around an ongoing war that continues to take the lives of thousands of American troops offended many. However, none of the surrounding conflict or controversy seems necessary once you play the final product. Perhaps it’s my complete inability to have any amount of empathy for video game war stories, but nothing in particular about the game’s setting or story stood out to me; either that or the developer, Danger Close, did an extremely poor job of representing the current conflict. For all I could tell, I was just shooting every bad guy that moved in arbitrary torn up cities and obscure sections of the desert.

Not only did they poorly represent the conflict, but the Tier 1 Operator hook is also inconsequential. All being a Tier 1 Operator has amounted to in terms of gameplay is that you are accompanied by a small number of friendly soldiers on your missions throughout the game. The meaningless story didn’t bring any relevance to the use of these soldiers either.

As previously stated, Medal of Honor channels the energy of the Call of Duty series, especially in the single player mode. Once players start moving around in the game, they’ll feel right at home. All of the buttons and controls are identical, right down to the need to aim down the sights in order to get a good shot at enemy terrorists. Players will need to tactically progress down streets, while taking cues from teammates on what must be done in order to stay alive and complete the mission’s objectives.

While much of the gameplay and control is very similar, it’s noticeably slower moving than Call of Duty, with the enemies and locales being far less interesting. The difference definitely comes down to realism, as Medal of Honor skews closer to real life than the Call of Duty series does. Though this may sit with different people better or worse, for most it will be perceived as negative because it offers less interesting and dynamic gameplay. War isn’t fun, so a more realistic representation of it isn’t either.

Worse off, the entire single player campaign is around four hours long, which is around half the length of comparable games. Between the less than stellar pacing of the missions and the short length of the quest, the single player mode of Medal of Honor is extremely underwhelming.

Multiplayer is quite literally a separate affair, as it was handled by DICE rather than the Danger Close team behind the single player campaign. This mode felt like a strong mix between Call of Duty’s multiplayer mode and the multiplayer gameplay found in the Battlefield series.

As with basically all online shooters, players level up as they participate in more matches. Each kill will net a different number of points depending on the player killed and the current circumstances of the match. Leveling up enables purchase of better weapons, providing an edge while playing future matches. Additionally, as players perform well during the match, they will earn in-game abilities like the mortar strike to assist their team and add to their own kill count and score.

The Battlefield influence comes from the three player classes (Rifleman, Special Ops, and Sniper), as well as the opposing force, two team gameplay. This creates the biggest departure from the apparent Call of Duty style, but like the single player mode, multiplayer also has a more realistic feel. Guns are stronger, enemies die quicker, and even aiming is more difficult because the weapons are more realistically represented.

The massive team matches are far more fun than anything found in the single player mode, especially when working with the rest of your team to push back the enemy. However, things can get a little hairy if your team is distinctly worse than the opposition, as these kinds of matches are quite lengthy, and all efforts feel futile. Because there is no free-for-all mode, players are stuck dealing with this possible situation no matter the game setup.

Fans of both Battlefield and Call of Duty will likely enjoy Medal of Honor, due solely to the multiplayer mode. The game’s single player mode is completely throwaway, but at least worthy of the few short hours it will take to complete. Overall, EA’s effort is largely underwhelming and is extremely derivative. Unquestionably, all three of the most recent Call of Duty games best both the single and multiplayer offerings found here.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



Esteban Cuevas Staff Alumnus

12/01/2011 at 06:12 AM

I've wanted to try this game for awhile now but I know it hasn't gotten favorable reviews. Would it be fair to say that the more realistic style of gameplay results in boring gameplay due to pacing or uninteresting situations or something else?

Nick DiMola Director

12/01/2011 at 08:38 AM

It's a bit of both in this case. The Modern Warfare games are very similar, but better in every regard. Not much more to it, really. I know this has been bargain binned hardcore, so if you can find it for $5 - $10 it wouldn't be the worst investment.

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