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Medal of Honor multiplayer beta impressions

Our impressions so far have been verypositive, and we don't have any massive bombshell flaws to drop that invalidate them, but we're... uncertain. There are a few issues which keep nagging us.

We weren't as compelled as we wanted to be. Scoring a kill didn't feel as exciting as it should have. Winning a match didn't seem like an accomplishment. Maybe we're just used toModern Warfare's over-the-top "DUN DUN DUN," but it just didn't feel exciting. And it's not that we want it to go all-out arcade and splash "UBER KILL!" on the screen, but it generally lacks character. The soldiers and their animations are generic. The hud and other overlay graphics are plain. It's all too sterile.

Above: Please add pizazz

The mechanics of the game sometimes irked us too. Occasionally, everything came together and we felt like we were working with our team as a unit, flanking and attacking and scoring great kills. Other times we were like a wounded fish in a sea of debris and sharks. We spawned, tried to get our bearings, and took a bullet to the head. We saw three enemies, went after them, and got shot in the back. We couldn't hit much that was moving, or any significant distance from us, and while that may just be a question of skill, it was frustrating to constantly take impotent shots atcamped-out enemiesonly to give away our position and eat a rocket.The inaccuracy of our analog stick felt more apparent that we're used to (we played the PS3 version... PC gamers, fear not!), but control problems aside, ourguns justfelt weak.Also, while we mentioned that the deformable terrain is cool, it was inconsistent. Our grenade launcher didn't do a whole lot to small bits of cover, even when it seemed like it should.

Above: Did we mention vehicles? Though we didn't score many long-range kills with this bugger (we just couldn't hit anything!), we did blow the legs out from under a few nearby enemies

It also didn't help that the beta was rather laggy (a term we use loosely). Now and then our bullets seemed to go straight through people, and every time we started taking damage it felt choppy. Upon death, the screen freezes for a second before displaying the animation - that may be a design decision, but it felt weird, like our last shots didn't count.

But we aren't (too) worried...

This is a beta - an unfinished demo. This isn't everything in the Medal of Honor multiplayer experience. And we need to play more. We need to adjust how we aim to the game's mechanics, and get a better handle on each gun. We need to learn the layouts of the maps. Plus, we're using the most basic load-outs - there's more to unlock.

Above: Whatever our criticisms, it's still better than most of what's out there

So for now, we're excited. It's not Modern Warfare 2, and it's not Battlefield: Bad Company 2 - it feels like a Medal of Honor game. It combines twitch skill and strategic skill in a way that encourages a fun style of play without the massiveness of Battlefield maps. And, most importantly, we didn't see anything that made us worry about balance. No cheap-ass nonsense here, this is Very Serious Warfare!

Jun 21, 2010

Associate Editor, Digital at PC Gamer