I had some pretty good times playing the early-2000’s Medal of Honor titles. 2002’s Frontline and 2003’s Rising Sun are two that definitely stand out in my mind. Who didn’t love that first Frontline level where you storm the beaches of Normandy on D-Day and fight your way up to the top of the hill? It was a thrilling piece of gameplay, especially for its time. Nowadays every single level of Call of Duty’s single-player is an outrageous one-against-many Jerry Bruckheimer-esque sequence, but at the time it felt quite exciting. That feeling that the outcome of the war rests on your shoulders, and that you could die at any given moment, is one that fans of shooters live for.
This is mind; I was pretty excited when I heard there was a new MoH title coming out, and even more exciting about the name – simply Medal of Honor, no subtitle. This conveyed a sense of starting fresh, and bringing something new and exciting to the table. This is the age of reboots after all, so why not? Perhaps this would be a game worthy of tackling the very popular Battlefield series, or the behemoth Call of Duty.
Boy was I disappointed, and I don’t think I’m in the minority.
Early reviews of the title were not-so-great to say the least, so I figured I would rent it instead of dropping the $59.99. I like to give games the benefit of the doubt, despite reviews.
The best way that I can put it is that this game has no soul. Even taking place during a current-day ongoing war, I found it incredibly difficult to care for the characters or their struggles. Yes, they have haggard looking beards. Yes, you are directed to believe that these are some real no-nonsense guys; the best of the best. However, the entire time I played through the single player I just felt like these concepts were being forced onto me. I didn’t buy it.
The level designs are poor, the enemy AI is predictable to say the least, and the bugs are plentiful. I wouldn’t say that the multiplayer is bad, at least not at first, but over time I started to feel the same way as I did about the single player – soulless. This is coming from someone who got way into the addicting MP structure of the Call of Duty franchise, as much as I hate to admit it. Point being, there’s a reason those titles keep you coming back for more day after day.
With 2012’s Warfighter on the horizon, maybe the franchise has learned from its mistakes and will bring something new to the table. Unfortunately, this release did not. The CoD/Battlefield juggernaut may be toppled eventually, but it’s going to take a real contender with something amazing to offer to do so.