Medal of Honor: PAX 2010 updated multiplayer impressions

My first experience with Medal of Honor's multiplayer was with the PS3 beta. I was intrigued but not-quite-convinced.Since then, multiplayer developer DICE (EALA is handling the campaign)hasmade a host of improvements, most notably to the game's graphics, balance, and hit detection. Those improvements, as well as a new mode, were playable on PC here at PAX. I was only able to play one match, so my impressions are limited, but here's how it felt...

The newly-shown mode is objective based. Our mission was set in a rocky, mountainous area which was designed to funnel traffic from high, cover-laden hills into rocky crevasses. Like Battlefield, the match was about capturing and securing strongholds, but the action was much more directed than it is in Battlefield games. Invisible walls kept us confined to a very clear, straight-forward combat zone, so there was little running around to do - we were constantly fighting. Also unlike Battlefield, we didn't spawn at captured points. Instead, we could choose to spawn back at our base, or on the front lines with the rest of our team.

I may eat my words in the future, but based on my limited experience, the result was phenomenal - a sweet middle-ground between the scale and strategy of Bad Company 2, and the frantic nature of the Call of Duty and previous Medal of Honor games. Unlike in the free-for-all MoH beta, and in say, Modern Warfare 2, we never ran around looking for a fight, and we were never alone, nor were our enemies. The game was like a football match - a very condensed, linear metaphor for war. We had a line and they had a line, and our job was to push them back as far as we could. I foresee some epic clan battles.

As for the improvements DICE recently listed, there's not much I can say yet. The last time I played MoH, I played it on the PS3, so I can't comment on any graphical changes -the game obviously looks differentrunning on an ass-kicking PC (it did look great, if that helps). As for improvements to the hit detection and balance, I just didn't have enough time with the game to make any definite judgments.

I will say one thing, though. I almost always favor sniping when I play mutliplayer shooters, and this instance was no different. I think I'm pretty good with scoped rifles, but I'm no expert. I doubt my PAX-going opponents were experts either, but they stood in a long line to play, so they alsoweren't casual participants, and I was shocked at how successful I was. Either the sniping should be more difficult (more realistic bullet physics, less accurate guns?), or I just had a really good game. It's hard to say, especially since I've been playing shooters with analog sticks for a few years, and switching back to a mouse and keyboard felt really, really good.

Again, I only played one match. I had a lot of fun with it (a lot more than I did with the beta), but don't assume that my glee is solidified. Multiplayer modes require a great deal of scrutiny to judge.

Medal of Honor is out October 12th. We'll have moreimpressions of the single-player campaign, and of course, our review, soon, so stay tuned!

Sep 4, 2010

Associate Editor, Digital at PC Gamer