Wot I Think: Medal Of Honour

By John Walker on October 12th, 2010 at 11:12 am.

Thanks to Matt for this awesome 'shop.

I’ve finished the single player campaign of the reboot of Medal of Honour, and I’m fully prepared to tell you Wot I Think. The multiplayer is such a separate game that it was developed by a separate studio, and we’ll be reviewing it after the game’s been out a while. (We’re going with “HonoUr” just because it saves wiggly red lines when typing.) So below is a WIT of the single player campaign.

Unashamedly following in the massively successful footsteps of Activision’s reinvention of Call Of Duty as a modern-day shooter, EA decided to shake up their WW2 franchise in the same manner. So Medal Of Honour is no longer letters from the good old boys of the 30s and 40s, but now a bunch of American soldiers fighting in present-day Afghanistan. However, for as dramatic a change as this might be to the setting, it’s still familiar MOH territory. A selection of soldiers, whose stories interweave as you jump from character to character. There’s four in total, each accompanied by a different group of buddies, all meandering their way through the mountains, taking out the Taleban, Al Qaeda, and anyone else who fancies shooting at them.

Refreshing is the lack of science fiction. This isn’t about deploying the latest, or near-future tech, but rather about squiggling about on your belly, hitting the baddies in their heads with bullets. While you’re frequently whisked off to shoot from a helicopter, or target things from your digital binocular targeting systemmagig, for most the time you’re a man on the ground, in missions based on real events in the country over the last ten years. And it’s fairly apolitical, for such a contentious setting. In fact, absolutely nothing feels contentious at all. But, well, there’s little else you could describe as refreshing.

Medal Of Honour is going to take you on a journey. It’s going to be a very pretty trip, and it’s going to be packed with action and combat. It’s going to have lots of variety, and plenty of explosions. But this isn’t an expedition, it’s a guided tour.

Only occasionally did I feel like I was playing the game. Medal Of Honour is about chasing after one to three other soldiers who all seem to have a lot more fun than you. The game takes every opportunity to make sure you’re aware that you’re barely relevant to proceedings. The game tells you when you can run. The game tells you when you can fire. The game tells you when you can climb. The game tells you when you can jump over a log. (Literally.) And you’d best do it the way it’s expecting, or everything’s going to grind to a halt.

Take one mountain assault of a shack containing a mounted weapon. We’re sneaking our way up the hillside, running from rock to boulder, being assaulted from three sides. The other three take up all the best cover positions, as usual. (The game doesn’t have any cover system – you just hide behind things, if the others will let you.) We’re getting closer to the target, and I’ve a planned route. But the others won’t come with me. I keep getting slaughtered (something that otherwise happens very rarely throughout the seven-or-so hours – on Normal it’s a very easy game). I decide to check the HUD, because the game thinks it’s a brilliant idea to hide it from you after a bit – in case you were fed up of knowing how much ammo you had, or where you were supposed to be going. I hit H, and there’s a target point just behind the respawn location. I step back into it, and suddenly I’m equipped with the device to call in an airstrike on the hut, the rest of the men fight with me, and we easily trudge on. Make sure to walk over the poorly marked patches of snow please. Keep a hand on the rail at all times.

And that’s when it’s even possible to go ahead. So often if you try to think for yourself you’ll encounter invisible barriers that magically disappear once your team has finished jabbering at each other. Find a door that you can kick down, and you’ll have to wait until the game decides it’s time to allow the kick button to do anything.

Shooters have done this before. The Call Of Duties and the Medals Of Honour, and those copying them, have often had you on rails. But they’ve done enough to disguise it, or make it so utterly thrilling that you don’t care. Here, the disguise doesn’t work nearly well enough. This is at the very worst for the first hour or so, where if you’re able to shoot an enemy before the squadmates get it first you’ll be tremendously lucky. Keep your arms and legs in the car at all times.

For most of the game I felt like a little kid dumped with a bunch of bigger boys who really wished I wasn’t there.

“Can I shoot now pl-” “Um, would it be alright if I hid behind the rock too? No? Oh, okay, no.” “Maybe we could go this way, because we could sneak around the back and-? No – not this way? Okay guys! Wait up guys!”

You’re so ridiculously helpless that you can’t jump up ridges the rest of your team bounce up easily. When they’re at the top one of them has to reach down to pull you up. You’re literally dragged along behind them.

Which made me want to rebel. When you’re playing as Deuce, teamed up with the beardyface from the box, Dusty, you’re going stealthy. These are by far the best sections of the game, and yet still you’re only ever Dusty’s errand boy. “Go over there and do this.” “Now come back.” But here you can do exactly what you’re told not to and start wildly shooting at everyone you’re supposed to be sneaking past. It’s ridiculous that this stands out as special. And of course makes it less fun.

Helllllllllooooooooooooooo.

Weapons pack a nice punch, and the game’s fondness for headshots (madly, a symbol appears on screen each time, accompanied by the most daft squelching sound) makes for lots of precision shooting. There’s also a good mix of weaponry, new guns handed to you as you go through. Ammo is never a concern, your teammates offering up full clips whenever you get low. If you were ever left to your own devices, or even just supported by your squad rather than subservient to it, it could have been a fun corridor shooter. As it is, it’s an average stood-at-the-back-of-a-queue-in-a-corridor shooter (SATBOAQINACS).

It seems that the game is desperate to be “cinematic”. And this is at the expense of absolutely anything else. There’s a story – albeit one of no discernable content – and it’s going to tell it to you, no matter what you want. Everything else seems such a low priority, and so it is that the game feels a decade behind the crowd.

Enemy AI is sometimes poor. I shot someone in the back, which still wasn’t incentive enough for him to turn around or run away. Most bob up and down behind rocks like targets in a shooting gallery. Your squad’s AI is better – too good, with them playing the game for you half the time – but I still watched them running on the spot into rocks. At one point Dusty drove his quad-bike into a tree, and seemingly offended that it didn’t move out of his way, sat there wobbly-ramming at it until I drove far enough away that he respawned with me. But most maddeningly, they appear to have no ability to understand that your bullets hurt them too. They will run through your fire all the time, even squatting directly in front of the muzzle of your gun. They’re the ones playing the game – you just stop trying to interfere.

Then little details I’ve grown to expect were missing. Cars often don’t explode when shot at, unless it’s scripted into the level. Fuel canisters are bulletproof in some areas. You don’t leave footprints in the snow. (Because then you’d have a discernable impact on the game.) Explosions look awful, strangely 2D. You can’t open doors, unless the game tells you to kick them. You have to wait for one of the bigger boys to do it. And you can’t even look around in the lengthy cutscenes, so determined is the game that you’ll bloody well watch its cinema how it wants you to.

The overwhelming sensation throughout is of being uninvolved. So much so that at one point, unable to remember that I was supposed to hold down the right mouse button and then the left in order to target a building for an airstrike (the game flashes up instructions the first time, but miss them and they’re a secret – I had to restart one section to know that I was supposed to be holding down the number 4 key to attack, which was a rather odd choice), I took so long about it the game just called the airstrike in anyway, and the level was won. Me – I’ll just sit here.

It often looks stunning. The snowy mountains can be breathtaking, and it’s plenty detailed enough to allow you to snipe off tiny men at enormous distances. And the acting is absolutely superb. While no one says anything of any substance, they say it with a lot of style. Lots of shouting, military lingo, and orders for you to “take point”, while they then tell you which way to go.

Some of the set-pieces feel like they’d be exciting if they’d only happen while you were in control. Anything thrilling – like a moment when two of you, in desperation, jump off a cliff into the fog below – is robbed from you, the controls taken away and the game enjoying it instead of you. It’s extraordinary the difference it makes to not be able to even turn your head during the cutscenes. Call Of Duty’s beach landing worked because you looked around you as it all occurred, terrified, and then helplessly staggering up the sand. Here the big dramatic moments are television, and half the time you can’t work out if you’re a character in the place, or a floating camera just observing.

You watch the others doing lots of cool stuff, including performing melee stealth kills, while your feet are frozen to the ground. But later, when briefly equipped with a knife, the only time you use it is when the game explicitly tells you to.

As it happens, that sequence was my favourite. You have to find weapons from enemies, fight through a tough corridor with only a pistol, and for a brief moment if feels like you’re actually playing. Then you regroup with your squad and it’s back to normal. There are other moments like it, a few assaults of villages, or an airfield, where you get to play shooting galleries, ducking behind rocks, either advancing or retreating (on the instruction of your team, naturally). They’re fine. They’re nothing special in any way, but they’re entertaining shootery moments.

In many ways you have to argue that Medal Of Honour is competent. If you want to feel what it’s like to be a grunt in a conflict, unable to make decisions or use your imagination, it’s mostly very solid. There’s constant variety in how you’re playing, all flying past you at quite some speed.

It’s an extremely easy game on Normal, and as I may have mentioned once or twice a rather detached experience, and as such a few attempts to have some emotional impact miss quite widely. It’s never disrespectful of the current-day conflict (apart from the strangely distasteful lust for headshots), and it’s surprisingly inoffensive toward Afghanis (although you never encounter a single non-combatant – the game makes a special point of the soldiers checking extremely carefully that they’re only targeting combatants). But when it tries to tug on the heartstrings it ends up seeming a tad silly.

If you want to give yourself an artificial tougher challenge there’s the Tier 1 mode. Here you can take on various levels attempting to score on online leaderboards. Playing the game before it comes out affords you some advantages:

You can attempt to outdo others for headshots, best time, accuracy, etc. It does rather make a mockery of the game, in most respects. And it reveals quite what a lot of baloney much of the missions are. Replaying one area, but not playing properly to see if I could beat the par time, pulled back the curtain rather. I won’t say how, because as Kieron sensibly pointed out just before he upped and left, mechanical spoilers are spoilers, and will change how you approach the game. But it only further underlines how much your actions aren’t meant to determine the game you play.

It frustrates me that something potentially exciting is so restricted by artificial blockages, and a deeply peculiar decision to let your fellow soldiers have more fun playing than you. Those moments between the barriers, between the hopping from idea to idea, where you get to shoot your way through a mountain side – they’re decent. Nothing original, but they do the job.

But for so much of the game it feels like one of those theme park rides where you gently trundle past various dioramas. “Ooh, look kids, here’s one of the helicopters they use for fighting wars. No! Don’t touch it!”

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144 Comments »

  1. Delusibeta says:

    So, basically a poor man’s Modern Warfare 1. I was unimpressed by the betas (which EA basically treated as demos) anyway, so I’m giving this a skip.

  2. Scuzzeh says:

    Disappointing, don’t think I’ll bother with it.

  3. ShawnClapper says:

    About what I expected. Nice to see an honest review!

  4. sonofsanta says:

    So another fine example of the industry not learning the lesson intended from the best examples we have.

    It’s like half these developers have never actually played COD:MW, or Half Life, or Deus Ex… they’ve just seen the video online and copied the form without understanding what is actually going on.

    It reminds me of the Deus Ex perspectives on here a couple of months back, actually, where one person said they thought it was a middling shooter until they played it through again and realised the options, the choice, the sheer genius of the possiblity space.

    • teo says:

      Eh, CoD4 was much the same way. The game’s constantly telling you what to do, especially in the pripyat mission.

    • oceanclub says:

      Yup, I’m not a big fan of COD:MW for the same reason outlined here – much of the time I felt I was involved in a lengthy cutscene.

      I’m enjoying Alpha Protocol at the moment but it also suffers this problem at points – there are defined points where can jump to the ground, jump across gaps, etc, even if it’s looks as if you can could perform these actions elsewhere. i find this kind of context-sensitive actions incredibly artificial and very annoying.

      P.

    • FhnuZoag says:

      That was to convey danger, though. You were a scrub following around a veteran SAS guy, in the middle of enemy territory, and you have to do exactly what he does or be discovered and end up dead. The guy leaves you the fun jobs, anyway, like sniping the lookouts, shooting the two guards at the same time, and eventually he gets wounded and the level opens up as you have to take him to safety.

      I remember watching a documentary where the developers had a playtester wired in to see his state of mind whilst playing that level. IW knew what they were doing, and the review above makes it look like these developers just didn’t.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I agree. The sniper mission in MW is one of my favourite set pieces in a game. Yeah MW was very scripted and trashy, but it was great fun and tricked you just enough to feel you were the one playing. Just because it’s not a work of art or innovative doesn’t make it a bad game.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Just wanted to add. I actually think that MW was basically as good as we can get from incredibly scripted single player. It felt like it should have been the last game like it and now we should move on.

    • JRez says:

      I actually felt like I was going to piss my pants the first time I played through that part where you lie in the grass while the patrol passes in COD4.

      Last time I genuinely felt that much tension in a game. MW2 was a pile of crap.

    • Jimbo says:

      This sounds like it’s on a totally different level to CoD4. Even at it’s most hand-holdy, the Pripyat mission still offers you choices, and it eventually opens out putting you in charge, ending with you having to determine how to best defend the wide open area. It also has two relatively open missions either side of it.

    • Fredrik Wester, CEO of Paradox says:

      I don’t know. John wants a HUD telling him how many bullets have been already fired, a minimap, cars taking fire against the law of phisics, and above all wants to wander around alone while playing a squad based military game?
      I’m sure the game is quite bad and too scripted, but maybe JW is the wrong man to review this game. Peace John, ofc!

      PS: Medal of Honor is the name of a medal appointed by the US goverment or something similar, so Honor is the right spelling. Or maybe I could call you Giovanni.

  5. FunkyBadger says:

    Wait for CODBLOPS then? Poor Beadyman :-(

  6. a.nye.123 says:

    But… but… the 2pm embargo… WHAT WILL HAPPEN NOW!

  7. Spacewalk says:

    Yawn.

  8. Giant, fussy whingebag says:

    Well, Mr. Walker, you’ve made it sound absolutely dreadful. From the sounds of it, you might have enjoyed it slightly more on a harder setting – at least then your input might be required. Who else is going to make all the headshots?

    Maybe this game should be an arcade light-gun shooter. Or perhaps there is a forthcoming Kinect/Move/Wii edition?

  9. Optimaximal says:

    It was Medal of Honor: Allied Assault that had the Normandy Beach assault and it was as awfully scripted as this sounds.

    As an aside, you basically wrote the game off with one sentence…

    Here, the disguise doesn’t work nearly well enough.

    That’s a £9.99 job right there!

    As awful as Modern Warfare 2 was, it’s action bubbles were well scripted enough to make you feel like you were making the difference.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      MW2 wasn’t awful, it was a wonderful candyfloss roller-coaster ride (in single-player). No depth whatsoever, mind, but great fun.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      MW2 was much worse than MW1 though, as MW1 actually had pacing and somber moments, it made you feel like a bad-ass SAS dude. MW2 just made you feel like an extra on a Michael Bay set.

    • dragon_hunter21 says:

      MW2 certainly wasn’t any great achievement in gaming (beyond the eighteen metric fucktons of cash it made). The singleplayer story was decidedly alright (although you really had to play it twice to grasp some of the intricasies, which were well done, I think) and the multiplayer was possibly a little better than average (It was fun, and I hate multiplayer). But for all the shallowness of the story, the dramatic parts were hard-hitting, at least to my virginal eyes. The scene where you’re in the Blackhawk blasting AA sites to bits had me on the edge of my seat, and it made me feel like a true hero. Price’s “contingency” was scary as hell for the first two minutes before you realized what exactly he was doing.

      (I was worried about spoilers for a second there, but I realized that anybody that cares enough about MW2 spoilers has already beaten the game thee times)

    • FunkyBadger says:

      StingVelvet: oh yes, completely. MW1 had two of the highpoints of FPS narrative design (the AC130 level and the nuke), MW2 was absolutely a Micheal Bay film. But they’re good enough dumb fun…

    • Jimbo says:

      Call of Duty 2 had the beach landing at Pont du Hoc. You know, the mission where you climb up the cliffs… Sgt. Nolan North is there.

    • drewski says:

      On the contrary. Very little about MW2 made it feel like I was making a difference. Most of the time you were following around someone else, or just trying to get to somewhere to continue the story because there were endless swarms of enemies to keep you moving.

      The majority of the time, the only reason I bothered killing anyone at all was to stop them killing me. I never felt like it mattered if I tried to achieve the objectives for any reason other than that they were the objectives, and it certainly didn’t matter if I bothered doing anything not specifically required to get to the next bit. It would be like if in the Stalingrad level of the original CoD, all you had to do was wander to exit without dying. And maybe that [b]was[/b] all you had to do, but it certainly [b]felt[/b] like if you didn’t pull your weight, help your mates and kill Germans, everything would fall apart. It felt like YOU had to be the guy dragging everyone else to the finish, not you being the guy being dragged.

      I never played the first MW, but this MoH sounds more like MW2 than CoD1.

  10. mrmud says:

    “Then little details I’ve grown to expect were missing. Cars often don’t explode when shot at”

    Sounds great.
    Cars dont explode when hit with small arms fire.
    If you had a rocket launcher I would expect it to catch on fire but not much else.

    The hollywoodisation of physics bothers me greatly and even if its an unintended consequence of their physics modeling im happy when it happens.

    • Rich says:

      Unless you happen to hit the fuel tank, and only then if it’s recently been emptied and is therefore full of petrol fumes.

    • oceanclub says:

      Did the Mythbuster prove that shot petrol tanks – even mostly empty ones – won’t explode (with a small caveat):

      http://mythbustersresults.com/episode38

      It has already been proven that when shot by a normal bullet a gasoline tank will not explode. However, if a gasoline tank is shot by a tracer round from a great enough distance so that the round can ignite with air friction, it will cause the gasoline to catch fire. By the time this happened the tank was so riddled with bullets (from previous tracers that were fired too close to ignite) that there was no contained pressure, but the MythBusters surmised that had the tank been properly enclosed, it may have exploded; but overall it remains extremely improbable.

      P.

    • Joshua says:

      But they DO explode in scripted sequences (When riddled with your teammates bullets), so…

    • Supraliminal says:

      It’s not about realism.

      They should either explode everytime or not explode at all.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      Small arms fire doesn’t make cars explode (usually), true, but car explosions are not unheard of, and I think they add enough fun to completely unrealistic game to be excused for and allowed in. Besides, small arms may cause something to make car burning. And explode. After all, these cars are full of terrorist stuff, suicide vests, IEDs and so on. Since there are no civilians, only cars there are either used by terrorist or coalition forces, which always carry ammunition or spare fuel. Lots of spare fuel.

      In my country there are several cases of cars exploding not only in crashes but on their own, yearly. Burning only cars (without explosion) are more prevalent, but explosion of a car which is burning is not unheard of. I’d expect that there are plenty of opportunities for that in such game, so why not to let a car explode once in a while? Said that, if the setting is in Afghanistan, then overall probability of even catching a fire, not minding explosion, is quite low. The reason is that vast majority of Afghanistan cars, including these for private use, have diesel engines. Diesel fuel is quite hard to ignite, a even more hard to assplode. The easiest to explode is LPG fuel (autogas, and most exploded cars in my country had autogas installation). On the other hand there are also examples of desel car exploding, last year SUV of wife of Minister of Foreign Affairs exploded, for instance.

  11. Cael says:

    Yet another mediocre console generation shooter.

  12. qrter says:

    Turn off the wiggly red lines while typing (always drives me utterly barmy), and just run the spellchecker when you’re finished writing.

    I’ll get me coat.

  13. Colthor says:

    Corridor shooter in “sounds awful” shocker.

    Thank you for playing it so we don’t have to :)

  14. qrter says:

    I’m kind of disappointed SATBOAQINACS doesn’t appear in this post’s tags. That could be very helpful.

  15. Monkeybreadman says:

    Great review, and he’s still wearing his shades when you’re using nightvision – badass

  16. bleeters says:

    Well, they were trying to capture an accurate representation of warfare, what with all that ‘US special forces consultants’ razzmatazz constantly being boasted about.

    What’s that quote about war being 10% excitement and 90% pure boredom? Mission accomplished, then.

  17. yabonn says:

    “And it’s fairly apolitical, for such a contentious setting.”

    I suppose the insides of the games can manage that, but I’m surprised : it looks like a rather “support the troops” kind of thing.

  18. karry says:

    “a bunch of American soldiers fighting in present-day Afghanistan”

    I’m not aware of any Brazilians or Mexicans fighting in Afghanistan, just yanks.

  19. Urael says:

    Reminds me of Just Cause 2….but with all the fun leeched out by a focus-led committee of vampire bureaucrats which, let’s face it, is what Big Game-Publishing has essentially become, yes?

    No wonder you struggled to enjoy this one, John, when you found even the madness and sandbox player-agency of JC2 frustratingly inhibited.

    What the hell is the point of a game that mostly plays itself? Why not watch a film instead? I really don’t get this trend to make players sit through over-long cutscenes or go through the motions of a scene (Metal Gear Solid, anyone?). Whatever this is, this is not Gaming. No Medal for you, MoH, just socks filled with bars of soap.

  20. StingingVelvet says:

    Hmmm… I expected a linear and very restricted experience, but this sounds like it went a bit overboard. You can be linear but still make it feel like a videogame, obviously.

    Perhaps most importantly you can still have a great story without trying to be a movie.

  21. Baka says:

    Very good review!

    But I wonder, even if you go out of your way to bash on how the tightly scripted scenes annoy, how much worse than MW2 is it really?
    Favela-Level, chasing the badguy that’s going to get tortured:
    - Wait 10 seconds, level lost
    - Run after him too long, level lost
    - Shoot too early, nothing happens

    There were also some scenes where the game waited for you a bit and then proceeded without you, off the top of my head the simultanous killings at the beginning of the snow-level (granted, you get an achievement for it, but it’s more or less the same “problem”)

    Guess I’ll see how much more restricted it feels as soon as I play it “somewhere”, because the open beta alone drove me off a purchase.

  22. Redford says:

    There will never be much innovation as far as realistic shooters are involved, most of them are about shooting people in the head from long range in progressively higher quality textures.

    Many games have done it right, and yet so few actually learn from this and thus we end up with things like this. Thrilling story number 128 of X soldier REALISTICALLY fighting a war in X place there is currently a war going on.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      I’m not sure ‘realistic shooter’ is the correct sub-genre for these games. That’s more like, say, Arma. More sim-like games. You may be better off calling this game similar ones ‘cinematic shooters’.

    • coldwave says:

      @Hmm-Hmm.

      I think the correct word is “military-shooter”, when ARMA is more of a “military simulation”.

  23. demonarm says:

    Dudebro: MSIFUSIHTS/SY2, then..

  24. Demon Beaver says:

    So, it will make hundreds of millions of dollars, get a Metascore above 85, will be critically hailed in the non-gaming press and spawn three sequels, each even worse than the one before?
    Usually I play the different CoDs and MoHs, but I think this is a great time for me to let go of bad habits.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Yeah. I really enjoyed the first MW. The second was entertaining, but disappointingly it was most just the same but BIGGER! I’ve got to say I’m not really interested in these heavily scripted singleplayer shooters any more. I have a feeling that is why Valve have been quiet on Episode 3 for so long.

  25. Ravenger says:

    One of the things that really got to me about COD:MW was the rigid scripted nature of the gameplay, which is one of many reasons I never bought MW2, so it looks like this one’s off my list too.

  26. bob says:

    Sounds even more boring than I imagined it. Would’ve been surprised if it had actually turned out any good. It was a terribly unoriginal idea to begin with imho. But that they’d manage to create a game even more boring than call of duty is … remarkable(?).
    Now wait for it to rack up 85+ review scores and sell millions and millions of copies.

  27. Howard says:

    John, to give me a little perspective on this, what do you think of Modern Warfare 1/2?

  28. Ezhar says:

    You didn’t notice the puddles? Apparently all the puddles reflect the same house, regardless of the house being present or not :)

    Anyways, thanks for playing this so I don’t have to.

  29. Rich says:

    “Medal of Honour™”
    Like to live on the edge, don’t you?

  30. haircute says:

    That is funny because I seem to have the same problem but only when I use the incorrect “Honour” instead of the more perfect “Honor”. See? No red lines on that last one…

  31. Lobotomist says:

    How different is this from MW2 exactly ?
    On-rails is bit more obvious here ?

    Perhaps this is why so many military boys like this game ? They like being told what to do exactly.

    God forbid that they have freedom to decide how they approach the mission by themselves :P

    • Rich says:

      Perhaps the invisible barriers are there to represent the debilitating headaches a grunt gets when trying to disobey a direct order.
      Military research dollars well spent.

    • chokoladenudlen says:

      @Rich:
      I guess that if how one has to look at it in order to enjoy the game.
      Maybe I’ll watch ‘Jarhead’ once again before giving the game a spin – to get in the right mindset…

      I am rather worried, though, the game sounds über-shitty, just as I was starting to gather tiny trace amounts of excitement for it ;(

    • Brumisator says:

      What military boys?

      When I finished my military service and felt a need to keep in touch with my warmongering side, lest I turn into a rotten civilian pussy, I started playing Arma 2.

      CoD and MoH aren’T military shooters, they’re hollywood shooters.

  32. Jason Moyer says:

    Having played all of the CoD PC games and MoH:AA, I find it refreshing that your squad will actually defend themselves like trained soldiers. They’ll still run slightly ahead and sit there until you catch up sometimes, but it doesn’t feel like every operation revolves entirely around the player (although there are plenty of those parts, too). Haven’t tried letting them do everything in the areas where that’s possible, I suppose it would break the illusion. There are times when your squad seems to want to hog all the cover, which is annoying, and I also missed the “press 4 to fire hellfires” thing in the helo mission and sat there for 5 minutes trying to figure out what I was supposed to be doing. Overall, I think the campaign is pretty good. The one real negative I have is that the scripting feels sloppy sometimes, but the use of cover feels great (you can crouch or go prone behind it, and then lean out in 8 directions) and I haven’t hit any moments like the classic “clean out a building and 30 seconds later an entire regiment has respawned there” thing from the first modern warfare. The tone is still fairly hollywood, but it doesn’t have MW2′s Tom Clancy bullshit or the general over-the-top buddy movie thing from MW (which I enjoyed). Oh, and the enemy AI is fairly shit, although once in awhile I encounter a guy who refuses to reveal his head so that I can shoot it, and end up getting pounded in the back while I wonder why my squad isn’t moving up.

    • Wilson says:

      @Jason Moyer – I was thinking about how good the AI guys are at shooting actually. Because obviously it’s rubbish when you have AI comrades who can’t hit the broad side of a barn but are handily invincible (I laughed in one of the Modern Warfare games where a squadmate was repeatedly attacked by a dog. It would jump up and knock him over, he would push it off. The dog would wait patiently until he got back to his feet, then jump him again. Repeat forever. Also, a bit where your squadmates run past a BMP which kills you in a short burst of machinegun fire, but one of them got knocked over, shot point blank for a few seconds, then got up and ran on unscathed). This sounds like your buddies do too much fun stuff, but it’s good they are actually engaging and killing enemies instead of just firing their guns off for fun.

  33. noobnob says:

    Great, another 1st person shooter to ignore…I wouldn’t bother with the beta MP if I were you.

  34. Ziv says:

    damn… I was waiting for it… mostly for the mulayer but still, you pay not only for multiplayer… I guess I’ll either be taking up Bad Company 2 or Black Ops, whichever has the better MP.

  35. Snall says:

    People still play the single player in these things? Weird.

    I’d buy it in a second if I trusted them to let ppl have moded servers…

  36. Fwiffo says:

    Mass market on rails “realistic” shooter fails to deliver to PC gamers? Who would’ve thunk it?

    *Goes back to STALKER*

  37. Ross Bearman says:

    Even small arms fire at a fuel tank won’t cause it to explode. Tracer rounds at a significant distance my do so, although that’s pretty unreliable.

    • Archonsod says:

      If it’s full of fumes the bullet will cause the gas to expand when it hits, causing the tank to explode. As in fail to contain the expanding gas and making a giant pop, rather than the Hollywood style explosion. I suspect you only get them if terrorists have replaced the car body with semtex in some nefarious bombing plot.

  38. sneetch says:

    “Some of the set-pieces feel like they’d be exciting if they’d only happen while you were in control.”

    You know what? That’s my biggest problem with games these days, every time the game decides to take the control away from me, it completely takes me out of the game and I go “what the fuck?”

    You know, put the bombing run in the game, have the leader shout warnings then have the entire compound destroyed and have my guy obliterated if he’s outside of the trench/bunker/whatever I don’t mind, I’ll learn a vital lesson, listen for warnings, just don’t take control away from me just so that you can show other people doing cool things!

    Still, despite all the dodginess, I’m tempted.

  39. konrad_ha says:

    Pah, it’s good enough for the console-crowd.

    • Archonsod says:

      Only because there’s few non-linear, non-scripted shooters available on the console I suspect. But then I guess the FPS genre is about ten years behind on the colourful bricks.

  40. stahlwerk says:

    A game set in a warzone that is highly asymmetrical and characterised by the ability of the enemy to easily blend in with civilians, up to the point that you need to reclassify them from “soldiers” to “enemy combatants”… And you tell me there aren’t any non-antagonistic NPCs in the game?
    So this basically is a ordinary early-noughties-WW2-FPS reskin / palette swap. Yay.

  41. FallAwful says:

    You mean true French, right? Cause that’s where that comes from. Jussayin.

  42. FallAwful says:

    In reply to Optimax above re: True English, obvi.

  43. Alaric says:

    Thanks for the review! Based on what you wrote I will not buy it.

  44. psycho7005 says:

    It’s honoUr because that’s how it should be spelt. Not spellcheckers fault the Americans decided to randomly remove an o.

    • Pete says:

      It wasn’t random. when Noah Webster compiled the first American Dictionary of the English language. He was a nationalist, and so worked to Americanize the language…almost all of the differences can be traced to his dictionary. There were also some that didn’t catch on, like tung.

      Also, I’d like to take this time to clear something up. The word “soccer” was invented by Brits; you guys just stopped using it. So stop making fun of us for using it (not that we use it often).

  45. psycho7005 says:

    I meant u btw ^

  46. DeepSleeper says:

    Sounds almost exactly like being in the military. You do what they say when they say it. Taking initiative is punished and discouraged in every way, subtle and non.

  47. Rii says:

    Am I the only one bothered by the “u” here? I much prefer ‘honour’, ‘colour’ ‘-ise’, etc. but the Medal of Honor is an actual citation awarded by the government of the United States. It’s a proper noun. ‘Correcting’ it seems, well, disrespectful.

  48. Navagon says:

    Wow. That actually makes MW2 sound good by comparison. They should just have made it a lightgun game and left it at that.

    • Navagon says:

      Kotaku have also posted their thunks (such as they are) and predictably there’s no mention of how scripted it is, save for how the scripted elements sometimes fail to keep pace with your actions. If any proof was needed that this was geared directly at the console market, there it is.

  49. Sweefyt says:

    You linger on IT’S A RAILSHOOTER, TOO LINEAR, I FEEL LIKE I’M JUST WATCHING for far more paragraphs than was necessary.

    Personally, them trying to make it dramatic without actually characterizing anyone was the biggest flaw. Without spoiling anything, something happens to someone and the game plays appropriate music, all the characters act horrified, but you don’t care, because the character it’s happening to is nothing more than a weapon model.

    There is also no story. Oh yeah, you’re somewhere, there are bad guys, you shoot them.

    Oh well.

    • stahlwerk says:

      Marine 1: “Damn, my M16 just jammed.”
      *cue dramatic music*
      Marine 2: “Nooooooo!!”
      Dusty: “Snap out of it, Kiddo! OO-RAH!”
      Marine 1: “War is hell.”

    • Rich says:

      Probably the fact that it’s on rails is given so much attention because it doesn’t do a good enough job at making you not care. As you said, not engaging enough.

      Also, the invisible barriers and things just serve to destroy what limited immersion there is. It’s like going on a haunted house ride where they’ve forgot to cover a big back stage section, where a guy’s drinking coffee and smoking a fag. The illusion, such that it was, is shattered.

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