Most of the PS2-to-PSP games have been retooled versions of an existing title, usually cutting some content and adding new bits here and there to justify the re-release. With Medal of Honor Heroes, you're getting the same head-rocking sound effects and attention to detail the console games have enjoyed, but the insane online action distinguishes this one from the rest.
The idea of a 32-player fragfest isn't new, but being able to do it from the tiny PSP is novel indeed. You can check out our impressions here, but all you really need to know is that online is the way to play Heroes. It's not revolutionary or groundbreaking in any way, but it's totally solid and carries over the PS2 games' commanding presence perfectly. All the standard online modes are here, but knowing there are so many other players jockeying for the lead, all on this miniscule handheld, is the one unique feeling the game can offer.
And for what it's worth, that's just enough to make Heroes worth diving into. Online multiplayer is hard to put down due to its sheer level of disorienting chaos, but when going solo, you're in for a very familiar, competent shooter. This one follows the trends set by European Assault, so you've got big yellow icons constantly directing you towards objectives and flashing icons to tell you, "Hey there's health over here!" Previous games in the series ferried you along a linear path, so there wasn't such a need for glowing markers - you just saw a pack and knew it was health.
By placing these digital crumbs, your supposed "free roaming" missions feel more like fetch errands. Each mission demands certain objectives be completed (usually locating something or blowing something into bits), but there are also a few optional tasks to complete. These blue radar blips don't require much extra effort, as they're just pickups that you walk over. Maybe that's fun for you, maybe not - the series has always leaned more towards arcade-style shooting than tactical thinking, so it's not a huge departure at all.
The mission content, however, is somewhat off from the regular series. A vast majority of later objectives revolve around taking and holding your ground as endless waves of troops crash against your squad. What that means in gameplay terms is waiting, waiting, waiting. You'll spend a lot of time simply standing still, waiting for a timer to click through its countdown and say you've taken the area. Then it's off to another blip on the map, where you get to wait some more. This is fine in multiplayer, where you're conquering as a team, but alone it's not excessively fun.
What really gets us though, is the campaign's length. We saved the world from Hitler's wrath in just over two hours, and we're not exactly crack troops. Then, curiously, the game said we'd only completed about 50% of the actual campaign. What it meant, though, is that we didn't get gold medals on every mission. Sorry, but the sameness of this outing wasn't compelling enough to bring us back into active service.
Obtaining those medals increases your rank, which is only meaningful if you want more costumes and characters to use in the online and offline skirmish modes. So, there's not much longevity there, but it's a good ride while it lasts. The gigantor multiplayer matches should keep you and your friends emptying clips for a good while though, and that's exactly how it should be. If we could just have headshots start downing foes in one bullet instead of three, we'd be set. Enough with the superhuman soldiers, already.