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Medal of Honor super review

Danger close to greatness, but off by a hair

If you don't care for multiplayer, think twice before buying Medal of Honor. But if multiplayer is your primary focus, then while you may finish the campaign in justfive hours or so, you'll likely spend much more time combating human opponents.

Keep it simple, stupid

DICE has done a superb job combining the frantic, tight-spaces of Call of Duty and previous Medal of Honor games with Battlefield's open, objective-based matches. My favorite mode, Combat Mission,sees one side defend a linear series of strongholds as the other attempts to capture them one by one. It takes the experience of Battlefield and compresses it into a straight line, which I prefer, as it focuses the action to a single front. Yes, it involves less strategy on the part of each team, but I'd call it "simplification" as opposed to a "dumbing down."

The other modes, Team Assault, Objective Raid, and Sector Control, are standard multiplayer modes, which are common amongst other games of the sort. Respectively, they equate to team deathmatch, "sabatoge," in which the OPFOR must plant explosives while Coalition forces disarm them, and "domination," in which both sides attempt to capture and hold objectives.

There are three classes, Rifleman, Special Ops, and Sniper, and to be effective, you'll probably have to switch between at least two of them. Like Battlefield, the more experience you gain with a class, the more you'll unlock for that class. There are far fewer unlocks than in Modern Warfare 2, but that's not a bad thing. Keeping the number of weapons and upgrades (scopes, extra magazines, etc.) down prevents the game from becoming an arms race - all of the weapons have advantages and disadvantages, and all are worth trying.

Support actions, which are acquired by earning score streaks, are available to everyone regardless of level, and none of them are so powerful that they crush the opposing team's will to fight. Still, there are times when you'll be spawn killed repeatedly as mortar fire and rockets rain down, or when the enemy spawns within firing range. Some of the maps are just too small. It's frustrating, but as part of a frantic defense it makes sense (sometimes). All multiplayer games are frustrating here and there.

But not too simple...

Combat Mission is by far my favorite mode, but there are only three scenarios: Helmand Valley, Mazar-I-Sharif Airfield, and Shahikhot Mountains. For the other three modes, there are five maps... five small maps.They're toosmall and too cramped for my liking.It's not quite enough, but of course, DICE will be releasing new content in the same way it has for Battlefield: Bad Company 2.

But does Medal of Honor's multiplayer bring anything new? Not really. If you're growing weary of military shooters, don't expect MoH to reinvigorate you. While I appreciate DICE's style of multiplayer, it could have taken more from the zeitgeist. I like Modern Warfare 2's customizable tags, which identify players with logos and background. I'm not a fan of Halo, but I'm fascinated by its Theater and Forge modes, and why they haven't been more copied baffles me.

MoH's multiplayer could be more exciting, flashier even. But DICE choose to keep it reserved, and that's okay, because it does what it does so well. It's an experience you can't get elsewhere, but it's safer than it is innovative, and it isn't the Next Big Thing.

Multiplayer Verdict: 8/10 ("Great")

Next page: Is Medal of Honor better than Modern Warfare 2?

More info

DescriptionMedal of Honor's campaign is well-scripted and well-acted, and parts of it are superbly nerve-racking, but its uninventive missions and premature ending left us wanting. The multiplayer, however, is a different game. No, it's actually a different game, and it's what DICE does best. If you've tired of CoD, Medal of Honor might be just the medicine you need.
Franchise nameMedal of Honor
UK franchise nameMedal of Honor
Platform"Xbox 360","PS3","PC"
US censor rating"Mature","Mature","Mature"
UK censor rating"18+","18+","18+"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)
Associate Editor, Digital at PC Gamer