Medal of Honor is EA's attempt to dethrone Call of Duty as the king of the modern FPS, but that's an incredibly tall order to fill.
So does Medal of Honor topple ol' King CoD? No, it doesn't come close. However, that doesn't mean there isn't any fun to be had.
Medal of Honor is basically split into two different sections - you have the campaign side of things, that features a fun single player story mode, as well as the multiplayer side that will allow you and some friends to go online and lay the smack down on unsuspecting newbies.
Now that we've covered the different game modes (which are pretty standard for FPS players), we can talk about the Campaign section. The actual campaign in Medal of Honor is pretty fun but doesn't offer anything different from Call of Duty titles. However, that doesn't mean there isn't anything different between the brands. For me, the one stand out feature was the ability to run and then slide in and out of cover. The move is fun and will make you feel like an action hero anytime you run and slide towards an enemy - while filling him with lead.
The actual story behind the game is simple, and somewhat lacking - which is something we've come to expect from the genre. You'll be thrown into the metaphorical boots of three different characters throughout the campaign and each is in a different division of the army, taking you on a journey that lasts two days within the game's world. The story is only 10 chapters long and the game is even shorter than any other FPS title - which is really disappointing. The title's hard mode doesn't even live up to its name and could only really be considered hard by those who have never touched a shooter in their lives.
Though, what the game lacks in depth it makes up for in violence. Medal of Honor is surprisingly violent and one awesomely disturbing feature let's you actually blow heads off of enemies utilizing a shotgun. This leaves nothing but brain mush and a spinal cord where the opposition's head was. People will of course be offended by the fact that the game has American troops being killed by members of the Taliban, but DICE and EA knew what they were doing when they decided to make a game based on the current war.
One feature, that is easily the most important in any first person shooter, is the weapons. If the guns you have aren't any fun to use then you're not going to be in for an enjoyable time. The basic weapons found in Medal of Honor add enough variety to keep the game fun, but the best weapons are saved for the game's campaign. You'll take charge of a high powered sniper rifle in several levels that allows you to remove heads and limbs with a single shot. Another awesome weapon comes in the form of binoculars that can summon air strikes on selected targets. Both of these weapons are fun, but neither can compare to the awesomeness that is taking the gunner seat in an attack helicopter. You can unleash so much devastation in that thing that it should be illegal, but that doesn't change the fact that it's heli-fun (get it?).
After the campaign has run its (all too short) course you can dive into "Tier 1 Mode". This mode adds a mild amount of replay value to the game's story by putting you through the levels again (minus the helicopter level) but now you have to complete them within a certain amount of time. If you die even once in Tier 1 then it's game over and you have to restart the entire level. Even still, the challenges aren't too difficult and can be finished under par time pretty easily. There are also leader boards for you to try to climb - a nice touch.
Now for the multiplayer modes in Medal of Honor. Multiplayer is a huge part of MoH that would keep players entertained long after the campaign was beaten, or at least it was supposed to. The game's multiplayer isn't bad, don't get me wrong, but it's not really that great either.
There are five different multiplayer modes available in MoH: Combat Mission, Team Assault, Sector Control, Objective Raid, and Hardcore. Combat Mission has a team trying to destroy five different objectives - and you will find yourself either attacking or defending in this game mode. Team Assault is essentially a team death match and Sector Control is similar to king of the hill - where you must capture a flag and hold it to increase your score. Objective Raid has players either defend or attack two points simultaneously and Hardcore is a combination of all of these modes - but you don't have a radar and you die quicker. Not a terrible list of multiplayer options but still not particularly robust.
Once you have selected a mode ,and found a game, you'll be able to select a class from one of three options. Rifleman, Spec Ops, and Sniper all have their own weapons. Just like in Battlefield Bad Company 2 you will unlock new weapons and upgrades as you level up each individual class. This was always a neat feature and it gives you something to aim for - besides ribbons and achievements while playing online. The one problem that this does cause though is an uneven playing field for those who have yet to level their classes.
The first time I fired up a match I wanted to go prone (laying down), but apparently your character can only go prone in the campaign. Clearly DICE wanted to limit camping in the game, but it's kind of stupid how you're character has randomly forgotten how to lye down in between modes. Unfortunately, removing the ability to go prone has not stopped camping in the slightest and the fact that there is no kill cam, or even an indication as to what direction the bullet that killed you came from - so camping is an overly common occurrence on the battlefield.
In general, the multiplayer is fun, but it takes a little getting use to before you'll be efficient enough to find yourself MVP in a match. Depending on which game mode you play, camping can be atrocious and will no doubt ruin any chance you had hoped of having fun, because, let's be honest, it's more fun to get kills then to be killed... over and over and over again.
Medal of Honor feels like EA grabbed a checklist of everything that was in Call of Duty and just crossed it off as they added it to the game, but this checklist was made by someone who was hungover and felt like waffles for breakfast. What's really sad is that we have nothing else to compare the game to but Call of Duty, so of course, in comparison, Medal of Honor is going to come up short.
In the end I had a lot of fun with the campaign, but not so much with the multiplayer. If you're looking for a shooter to tide you over until Black Ops arrives then you can't miss with Medal of Honor, but for the $60 price tag the game's value just doesn't live up to the cost.
What did you think of Medal of Honor? Let us know in the comments.
Medal of Honor is available now for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.