Medal of Honor campaign hands-on

At the end of the mission, the Apache duooverlooks a particularly dangerous AA encampment – it'stheir turn to be saved. Another seamless body switch and I’m AFO Wolfpack Tier 1 operator “Deuce,” who’s just put a hole in the AA gunner’s head from a mile.

Tier 1 is the game’s central military force. Unlike Adams and Hawkins with their machineguns and missiles, Tier 1 is all precision. The third mission I played, Friends from Afar, began with a bit of sniper training. Take a look:

The level was a bit disorienting through our scope, and it was big, so I occasionally had difficulty locating the enemies I was told to pick off. Once I switched my optics to thermal sensing, and learned how to display objective markers, however, it was less of a problem.

Gravity was apparently accounted for bymy scope, so I didn’t need to raise my shots, but my big-ass bullets did take several secondstoreach their marks,meaning that I either had to wait for enemies to stand still, or lead my shots. Most importantly, I had to pick off snipers before they did the same tome – the glints from their scopes gave them away.

The rest of the mission was a mix of sniping and close-quarters combat, as we defended our roosts. Our final task was to put our precision to work protecting AFO Neptune, a second Tier 1 squad which was moving up a hill opposite ours. I spied the final of the four playable characters, Rabbit, through my scope, but sadly, after saving their asses, I didn’t get to move on. Preview over!

The levels I played were selected from somewhere in the middle of the 8-10 hour campaign. They didn’t throw convention out the door, or shock me with surprising ethical dilemmas. Authentic as some elements were, the game takes place in a fictional Afghanistan, which is all soldiers and bad guys, and where everyone maintains perfect form. There’s nothing gameplay-wise to report as absolutely groundbreaking, but as I stated, it’s the details and refinement that make it notable.

It’s got great dialog and tense pacing, it looks good (a modified Unreal engine that doesn’t look too Unreal-ey), and its set pieces blow up like they should. If you’re the type to skip campaigns and dive directly into the multiplayer pool, you may want to pay attention to this one.

I’ve got high hopes for DICE’s multiplayer, especiallyafter playing the post-beta version, but EALA is pulling its weight with the campaign,andMoH is well-positioned against the goofiness of recent Call of Duty games. It's no Black Ops - it’s more somber… meatier, even. Less shock and awe and more duck and cover.

We'll let you know if the final product holds up in October.

Sep 16, 2010

Associate Editor, Digital at PC Gamer