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Posts Tagged ‘Medal of Honor’

Review (Single-Player): “Tier 1 vs. Black Ops” or “Shooters and Other Disappointments”

November 15, 2010 2 comments

I finished both Medal of Honor and Call of Duty: Black Ops recently. It didn’t take long for me to accomplish both goals, since each game is only about 5-7 hours. MoH is probably a bit shorter than Call of Duty.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy both games. I did, and they had their own strengths and weaknesses, but throughout Medal of Honor I couldn’t keep this one nagging thought at the back of my mind: “This is a very subtle Modern Warfare ripoff.”

Tier 1

Medal of Honor has some very cool, action-packed moments. I particularly liked the siege when the team is in a house next to a mountain with droves of Taliban pouring in from all sides and no hope for help or rescue. That was an intense setting. I normally play FPS games on the “Nightmare” setting, so that mission turned out to be especially brutal. But what stood out for me was the level of intensity the developers were able to capture and the grit soldiers in the field must exhibit to get through a day.

That being said, the adrenaline that mission brought about was more of an exception than the norm. There were AI pathing issues, and the AI, in some cases, was simply too dumb to spot me walking around their camp in plain sight. The scripted events were structured in a way that hindered the realism when you did anything outside of what you were supposed to do.

For example, in one Taliban camp, I saw an enemy unit with his back to me, naturally I sneaked up and stabbed him in the back. He stood there, unblinking, still oblivious to my presence, still alive. I tried again, once again my knife went into his back, there was a ripping noise, and yet the unit stood there, his back to me, enjoying the scenery. It was then that I realized that my AI partner had been talking to me the whole time about silently taking out the guy himself. He then walked up to the enemy, grabbed him from behind, startling the previously oblivious bastard, and finished him off. That was a huge turn-off. Scripted events are cool, but at no point should they be so unpolished that they break basic game mechanics, such as you stabbing a seemingly invulnerable-and-downright-indifferent-to-your-presence enemy unit.

There were other issues. One of the things I have enjoyed about the Modern Warfare series is the ability to see the battle play out from multiple viewpoints, without getting lost in the narrative. While Medal of Honor also tries the same novel idea (I wonder where they got it from!), very often I was a little confused as to which character in the story am I controlling now. Rabbit, Hawk, Deuce, Dante, or someone altogether new, mostly I just fired my gun and moved on.

Between the rescues, the rescuing of the rescuers, and the survival missions, I often found myself a little lost with the narrative (not in the narrative, but with the narrative). I wasn’t sure what the story was, except one long series of disjointed missions to destroy the Taliban, and by the end of it, we didn’t really get anywhere at all. Perhaps that was because much like the war, no mission in the campaign clearly identified the goal of the whole affair.

I’d give it a 6 out of 10, mostly because the concept was cool, and the idea was somewhat innovative, but in the execution they xeroxed too many pages from the Modern Warfare doctrine, and ended up with a half-baked game filled with glitches and other disappointments.

Black Ops

The Call of Duty franchise released its seventh game shortly after Medal of Honor and to resounding success. Let us briefly compare the two in terms of chronological releases:

Call of Duty

  • Call of Duty
  • Call of Duty 2
  • Call of Duty 3
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  • Call of Duty: World at War
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops

Medal of Honor

  • PC releases
    Medal of Honor: Allied Assault
    Medal of Honor: Allied Assault – Spearhead
    Medal of Honor: Allied Assault – Breakthrough
    Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault)
    Medal of Honor: Airborne
    Medal of Honor
  • Console releases
    Medal of Honor
    Medal of Honor: Underground
    Medal of Honor: Frontline
    Medal of Honor: Rising Sun
    Medal of Honor: European Assault
    Medal of Honor: Vanguard
    Medal of Honor: Airborne
    Medal of Honor: Heroes 2
    Medal of Honor
  • Portable releases
    Medal of Honor: Underground
    Medal of Honor: Infiltrator
    Medal of Honor: Heroes
    Medal of Honor: Heroes 2

Notice anything? Call of Duty took three games for the developers to realize that they needed to breathe some fresh air into the franchise, and thus came about Modern Warfare, one of the most innovative and novel tactical shooters in recent memory.

Look at how many games it took for Medal of Honor.

Beyond that, the latest installment of the Call of Duty franchise reinvents itself yet again, dumping you smack-dab in the middle of the cold war, the Vietnam crisis and an international conspiracy spanning multiple continents. The story was shockingly solid, with a twist at the end that I didn’t see coming, and I am normally very good about that sort of thing.

On top of all that, it is a solid shooter, one that doesn’t just focus on what might be cool to play or see in the game, but genuinely focuses on what will be fun. From an assassination attempt on Fidel Castro to surviving a brutal gulag, from blowing up a soviet rocket to fighting in the trenches of Vietnam, and from flying a B2-Bomber to hunting down psychos in secret hideouts, this game had it all, and it brought it all together in style.

This isn’t to say the game didn’t have any issues. There were a few graphical glitches, and the game wasn’t balanced in terms of difficulty. You either blew through anything in your path, or you got your ass handed to you, forcing you to reload and play that sequence again and again. (Yes, I played on the toughest difficulty setting again). There was simply no middle ground.

The voice acting, while otherwise top-notch, sucked because of goddamn Sam Worthington. You may have seen him as the titular hero in Avatar and the first humanoid machine in Terminator 4: Rise of the Machines. He’s Australian you see. And regardless of which role he undertakes, he cannot, for the life of him, mask his Australian undertone. That kind of ruined it for me, but I suppose you can’t have it all.

I’d give Black Ops a resounding 9 out of 10. It is a brilliant game, with an original story, and intense action. Well worth your money if you are a shooter fan.

“Why Medal of Honor is Unrealistic?” or “Headshotting the Noob”

November 5, 2010 1 comment

I am not an American. But that doesn’t mean I can’t recognize the brave men and women who fight for their liberties and countrymen against an enemy so entrenched in the ancient ways of warfare, no civilization has ever been able to subdue them. The War on Terror is a messy, horrid affair. It is bloody, there are casualties and ultimate sacrifices are made on a daily basis.

When I picked up Medal of Honor, and perused through the marketing lingo with such bold catch phrases as “realistic military shooter” and “play today’s war firsthand”, I was intrigued. The original Medal of Honor landed you, in Saving Private Ryan style, on the beaches of Normandy. It was a terrifying affair, and one that permanently imprints you with the utmost sense of respect for the insanity, the violence and the sacrifices the Greatest Generation had to go through to topple the Third Reich. My expectations, understandably, were quite high for this latest installment.

Instead I got a bunch of bearded jocks who trash talked their foes, fought an unrelenting enemy without so much as breaking a sweat, walked around in plain sight without getting spotted, reigned death upon their adversaries while jamming to heavy metal, and proclaimed themselves the “not the hammer, but the razor edge that will decide the war”.

The troops that stormed the beach on D-Day seemed like a band of brothers, patriots till the end, fighting for what’s right. This new game made those respectable soldiers seem like a bunch of dicks who got some new cool toys to play with and they genuinely took pleasure in wiping out the enemy. My point is that the new installment, in its pursuit to be a cool,  “trendy” military shooter, instead came off as a lame attempt at capturing the war through Michael Bay’s lens with an equally abysmal cast of forgettable and fake characters.

The reboot sucked, and the final nail in the coffin, in all likelihood, will be in three days, when Call of Duty: Black Ops launches, and headshots MoH like the fucking noob it is.

“Compromised Quality Conundrum” or “Conniving Quotes Controversy”

November 4, 2010 1 comment

I have very fond memories of landing on the beaches of Normandy and being utterly stupefied at the D-Day realism portrayed by the original medal of Honor game. I finished the 2010 version recently. To put it mildly, it was less than stellar. To put it moderately, it sucked big bags of donkey balls. To be harsh, I would rather watch paint dry while gouging my eyeballs out with plastic sporks.  The AI was horrendous, the scripted events were a nuisance that interfered with in-game mechanics, too often the control was wrenched away from you, the story hung on by a thread in its half-hearted attempt at cohesion and immersion, and practically every mission seemed to be ripped directly from Call of Duty. There were a few moments of (at times scripted) brilliance, that helped me trudge on, but all in all the title was a disappointment, and left a very bad taste in my mouth.

Yesterday I came across this interview on Eurogamer, and it made me a tad angrier. Here are two direct quotes for your perusal:

Quote 1:

“What I can say is the game didn’t meet our quality expectations. In order to be successful in that space, we’re going to have to have a game that is really, really strong.”
EA Games’ Patrick Soderlund to Eurogamer

Quote 2:

“The game is better than today’s reviews are indicating.”
EA Games’ Patrick Soderlund to Eurogamer (yes, the same interview)

Here’s a question: if you yourself know your game did not meet quality expectations, why release it?

Here’s another question: if you did release it, and it was met with less than stellar reviews, why continue to claim, in the same breath no less, that the game was better than the reviews it received? You know you screwed up, you even admit to it. Just don’t go backtracking to save some face. If you were challenging a singular review, you could blame it on a difference of opinion or perhaps reviewer bias. But thee overall experience has been quite disappointing, myself included, and considering that it didn’t meet your own internal quality standards, why on earth would it receive favorable reviews upon release?

Bear in mind, however, that this doesn’t mean the game did poorly. On the contrary, Medal of Honor sold two million copies in just two weeks post-launch.

Categories: Review

“Honesty is the Best Review Policy” or “Too Many Games on my Plate”

November 2, 2010 6 comments

I have a metric ton of video games to play through right now. I just finished Medal of Honor, but that doesn’t feel like much of an accomplishment, since the single player portion lasted all of five hours and some change. That and it wasn’t as epic, except for select, spectacularly scripted events, as that certain other video game the name of which I quite forget right now.

Then there is Red Dead Redemption, of which I have played the beginning 7-8 hours twice now, and the only way to continue playing is to do it again. The first time my ROM was corrupted. When that got fixed, my hard drive crashed, killing all save data. So now I can either forget Red Dead Redemption, and just enjoy the Zombie goodness in Undead Nightmare DLC, or start over. Again. I haven’t made up my mind about that yet.

Then there is Enslaved, Halo: Reach (not particularity impressed so far honestly), Plants vs. Zombies (sheer brilliance), Mafia II, Vanquish and Fallout: New Vegas.

And before I can even think of finishing any of these, we already have Fable III, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II and Call of Duty: Black Ops out. *sigh*

Muhahahaha indeed!

Being an addict though, despite my massive backlog of titles, I couldn’t help but indulge myself in some reviews to see which of the three new releases mentioned above were worth investing in. The one that intrigued me most was Fable III, partly because the title has managed to generate a lot of hype around it, partly because it features some of the greatest voice talent cast, and partly because a diseased part of me hopes and begs and prays each day that Peter Molyneux would release something that actually lives up to the incredible amount of hype he manages to generate around his games. The reviews I came across ranged from “mildly mediocre” to “stupendously superb”, and the range of opinions was so wide and disparate, that I couldn’t make up my mind about buying the title.

That is till I came across Michael Abbott’s review of the game over at The Brainy Gamer. In recent memory, that is probably the most comprehensive, honest and unbiased review I have read about a video game. Granted it is only for the first few hours, but I for one will be monitoring Abbot’s progress and feedback on the game to see if it improves or degenerates. Abbott, if you’re reading this, you alone have the power now to make Mr. Molyneux another $59.99. Rock on!

Keen on the other end, is quite happy with his first ten minutes in the game.

“Games Radar” or “Too Many Tracked Titles”

June 27, 2010 2 comments

I updated my Games Radar to the left today. The following is a list of games I am looking forward to in a few months. I will talk about them individually over the course of time as well.

One thing that stands out to me is that my interests have diversified considerably over the course of time. Which is a good thing because diversity is the spice of life, and bad because, well, I have such limited time between family, work and social as it is.

I guess I better figure out how to operate on an hour of sleep a day!

MMOs on my radar:

  • Black Prophecy
  • Jumpgate Evolution
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic
  • The Secret World

Non-MMOs on my radar:

  • Assassin’s Creed II: Brotherhood
  • Brink
  • Bulletstorm
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops
  • Crackdown 2
  • Crysis 2
  • Deathspank
  • Deus Ex 3: Human Revolution
  • Dragon Age II
  • Fable III
  • Fallout: New Vegas
  • Gears of War 3
  • Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
  • Halo: Reach
  • Homefront
  • Hydrophobia
  • I Am Alive
  • Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days
  • L.A. Noire
  • Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
  • Mafia II
  • Max Payne 3
  • Medal of Honor
  • Portal 2
  • Privates
  • Red faction: Armageddon
  • R.U.S.E.
  • Singularity
  • Spare Parts
  • Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions
  • StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
  • The Witcher II
  • Two Worlds II
Categories: Bronte