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When it comes to Birthday and Christmas presents I am apparently very hard to buy for, well at least thatís what Jen keeps telling me. So this year I made a list to aid her buying choices and as a result I received Medal of Honor from her brother this year. Iíve never really been a fan of first person shooter games but all that changed earlier this year when I discovered they had become far more realistic. With that in mind I wasnít particularly sure what to expect from this game. I had played previous Medal of Honor titles and not really been impressed but this one looked a little different.
Having coined enough money from the World war concept it seems that Medal of Honor are trying to keep up with Call Of Duty. This time round you play the role of a Navy Seal in a Group of 4 sent behind Enemy line into Afghanistan. This is the first time the current Afghan conflict has featured in one of these games and upon its release was a source for much controversy. Itís a subject I feel Electronic Arts have handled rather well and given that conflicts such as World War 1 & 2 have both featured it seems like only natural progression that this game would allow the player to shoot, bomb and tactically work their way through the Afghan countryside.
Seal Team Is A Go
The game is split into two different factions. First of all you have the single player campaign mode, which lets you play as the Seal team and later a Ranger rescue team working through the mountain tops of Afghanistan. This is where I came across my first problem with the game, despite its run time and some incredibly impressive settings within the game the plot doesnít really work. The cut sequences and in game graphics do look good but the actual story it is all telling is very weak and let down massively by the ending, which in my opinion came far too quickly.
This of course leads me to problem number 2, which is the incredibly short game time. I played the game for a couple of hours over three days but in terms of total game down it took me only a little over 8 hours of game time to complete, which I found to be very disappointing. In fact the end seems to come just as the story and the action really look like they are going somewhere and with the disappointing way the story is brought to a close left me feeling a little flat.
Itís not as if it is a poor game though as the actual gameplay element is put together with incredible detail and patience. The realism of the sniper sequences where you have to hold your breathing just right and the stealth levels work particularly well, it is just a shame that there are so few of them. In particular the sniper section of the game had a lot more potential and longevity but was over almost as quickly as it began.
What the game lacked on the single player mode it more than made up for in the Team online games. You are cast as either an American Soldier or a member of the Taliban, this is the part that brought the game a ton of criticism, and play in teams to attack each other and score the most amount of points. On some of the levels there are objectives such as Road Blocks and Towers to defend, whilst others are simply a gun fight in a town to see who scores the required points quick enough.
I tend to play this using the Playstation 3ís built in wireless card and have yet to have a game suffer any lag time or out and out delays. The quality and detail of the multiplayer online function is exactly what the game needed to safe the short game time of the single player campaign.
My biggest problem with First Person Shooters was always the lack of realism, in fact some of the old Medal of Honor games looked almost cartoonish in their appearance. In this new release from Electronic Arts though all that has changed. Every single aspect from the other members of your team to the enemy and even the environment the game is set in look good. Gone are the days of permanent cover as walls disintegrate under heavy fire, it shows that the developers are trying to improve these games and with the look of this latest game they are certainly succeeding.
Just like the graphics the improvement to the special effects and in particular the sounds are incredible. From the sound of your weapon as it fires on an enemy position to the change in breathing as your character prepares to take a shot with a sniper rifle, every detail has been accounted for. Even the music and cut scene sequences sound and look as you would want them to enhancing the gaming experience.
Game Play & Control
Itís for games like this that the console control pad actually comes into their own. Each of the buttons performs one task and one task only and as the game is told from the eyes of your character looking down the barrel of a gun it is pretty easy to work out the controls. The firing action is quite easy and even though it took me a little while to work out the running action is also pretty simple.
The left joystick is used to make your character walk and turn and as the game progresses you get more used to the response time between your controller and the character. In fact this is one of the first games Iíve played in a while where the character doesnít get stuck against a wall making it a really easy game to pick up and play. The controls are a pretty basic setting but itís a setting that really works on all of this style of games and certainly wonít need changing any time soon.
Even in the multiplayer mode it still reacts the same way as the main game and this makes the change from single player campaign to multiplayer pretty smooth. In the multiplayer the buck and cover movements are needed a lot more, but they too are very simple to get to grips with.
As Iíve already mentioned I wasnít really that keen on the Medal of Honor first person shooter type games but as the graphics and game play have improved then Iíve started to find myself becoming more interested. Whilst this one has some pretty major problems, in particular the short game time on single player, I did still enjoy it. The story could have been longer and told in a better way but once you see the landscapes, the cut sceneís and the general appearance and playability of the game all of that can be forgiven.
The problems with the game are more than saved with a decent online side to it, another aspect I didnít really see the appeal of but this game has changed those perceptions. I think if you enjoy first person shooters then despite the short game time this is worth playing. The graphics and sounds are fantastic and it would be fair to say that the developers have really put together a decent game, even if it is far too short and ends terribly. One that despite these flaws, I would be happy to recommend to fans of this style of game.
Platform: PS3 Other Platforms: PC & Xbox 360 Age Ė 18 plus