REVIEW: “Medal of Honor” falls short of expectations

Chris Harris | Staff Writer

The men and women who put on military uniforms deserve nothing but respect, so when a game like “Medal of Honor” promises to deliver a more realistic experience to war in video games, one should hold the game’s presentation to a higher standard than military fantasy games like the “Modern Warfare” series.

To say that the game’s plot is simplistic would be a compliment. The story takes place during the beginning days of the invasion of Afghanistan where players shift between the perspectives of multiple soldiers. The plot is more situation-oriented, rather than story-oriented. Learning beforehand that actual soldiers were consulted for the game’s development, it is amazing how cliché the characters in the game turned out to be. This tale of hackneyed warriors include a military overseer in Washington, D.C., making bad calls and soldiers who journey back over the enemy lines to rescue one of their own against direct orders not to leave.

The game’s sound is perhaps the better part of the single-player experience. The voice acting and musical score in the game are fine but forgettable. The real audio star is the sound effects, which range from lowly pistol shots to massive explosions – every diegetic sound is right on the money. In terms of graphics, it really is a mixed bag. Some character textures are nice, but the environment has an annoying capability of being absolutely stunning one moment and looking downright terrible the next.

In terms of gameplay, it does not depart too far from the standard first-person shooter. The only real difference this time around is that players can lean out of cover to fire off a few shots. The inclusion of allies supplying ammunition is a nice touch that should really be incorporated in future military shooters. The game fares better online since EA had commissioned DICE to work solely on the multiplayer. While the online aspect isn’t a problem, it lacks an identity all its own as it borrows heavily from the “Battlefield” series as well as the “Modern Warfare” franchise. To put it simply, everything done in the game has already been done and done much better.

Medal of Honor” is more of a disappointment than an outright terrible game. In fact, in some places it really shines and occasionally provides a more gut-wrenching experience compared its competition. However, it relies too heavily on military clichés to present a clear story and struggles with finding its own voice in today’s sea of competitive military shooters.