Big game buzz, especially the kind surrounding reboots like Medal of Honor, creates a field of skewed perception which complicates reviews and critiques. It's a big franchise seeking a big comeback, so it's naturally held to hard-to-reach standards, and anything less than heaps of glowing praise is considered a disappointment by the hive. It's unfortunate, because it is a very good game, if not the greatest.
But the current average critical response isn't wrong. Medal of Honor's campaign contains some great moments, but it runs short, and its gameplay fails to stand out. The DICE-developed multiplayer is solid, but, like the single-player, fails to be more than very competent, and doesn't stand out either. It's a hard sell against the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops, except in the unlikely event that Black Ops fails. But MoH is still a well-made game, even if not a revelation, so it seems odd that EA has already gotten defensive.
Without providing any figures, EA has assured us (and its shareholders) that Medal of Honor sold "great" on its first day.
"We anticipate Medal of Honor to be one of the biggest video game titles launched this year," said Bob McKenzie, EA's merchandising VP. "This underscores how video gaming has emerged as mainstream entertainment."
On another front, Visceral boss Nick Earl, who is in charge of EA's third-person action games, spoke in place of EA's first-person shooter head, Frank Gibeau, telling Gamasutra, "We are absolutely and positively not giving up on the first-person space. The reaction to Medal of Honor notwithstanding, we believe it's certainly going to be a commercial hit."
He continued, "And Battlefield is a very strong franchise in the first-person space. We're going to continue to pursue first-person - but I'm personally completely laser-focused on the third-person action-adventure space. It has nothing to do with our success or lack of [success] in the first-person space. My mission is to take this group and establish it as the top-quality action-adventure space."
It sounds to us like EA is saying, "Okay, so we didn't steal the FPS 'crown' away from Call of Duty, but we still have some great franchises and games and they'll still be successful!" And that's exactly what we were already thinking. Battlefield and Call of Duty are fantastic franchises, and in the third-person department, Dead Space is an office favorite (but what we really want is Mirror's Edge 2... please?). And EA has also scored a publishing deal with Respawn, the developer created by the Infinity Ward exodus. The team hasn't announced a game yet, but we're confident that it'll impress.
So buck up, EA! And remember, even though Medal of Honor may not have unseated Call of Duty, we still like you a lot more than Activision right now.
Oct 14, 2010