Written by  :  Matt Neuteboom (989)
Written on  :  Oct 23, 2005
Platform  :  PlayStation 2
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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An emotional, immersive WWII FPS

The Good

A sequel to the PS1 games Medal of Honor and MOH: Underground, the series comes back with a highly immersive, and highly entertaining game which was only surpassed by the PC title Allied Assault before it. This is one of the most immersive, and emotional games I have played, and appeals to both casual gamers, hardcore games, and history buffs alike.

This game is one of the most immersive games I have ever played. From charging the beaches on D-day to fighting alongside allies in a French village, this game will really make you believe that you are in WWII fighting German Nazis. The ambiance is amazing, and with surround sound will blow your mind. Scrupulous attention to small details like Flak cannons in the background, Axis soldiers talking REAL German, and great lighting effects makes you feel in the game. On the D-day mission you will be thrust into battle as machine gun fire rattles around you, and you can see your friends rushing up the beach to confront the enemies. You can hear them shouting orders to each other and screaming for reinforcements. Buildings are done to look like they were personally handcrafted one by one, unlike this games predecessors which were a repetitive mix of the same buildings. The HUD display has been minimized to only health and ammo to provide the best view of the action. You could sit at the game for hours playing missions with your undivided attention, only interrupted by mission briefings and bathroom breaks. Or sleeping. But who does that anymore?

The graphics are on par with its prequel Allied Assault. Great efforts were definitely put into this game, so that you could see all the attention down to the last brick on a building. Character models are done exceedingly well, for both allies and axis. Explosions and smoke effects are the best I've seen on a console. The game suffers from no frame-rate slowdown whatsoever, even in the scenes with immense battles and there are tons of enemies and friendlies fighting on the screen at once. All in all, the graphics of the game definitely worth noting in a game such as this.

The musical score is the best I've heard out of any video game. The scores are varied to be fast-paced for those action-packed moments, and emotional in somber at sad levels. You'll be humming the songs after you shut the game off. Even the main menu music, which is the most amazing music ever composed, draws a tear to your eye when you hear it. The ambiance is done extremely well with authentic machine gun sounds and well done-voice acting.

Even the history buffs, who like to play historically based games will find that the historical accuracy of the game is very high. Most, if not all of the game's events took place in real life, and even the game's main character was a medal of honor recipient. The games cutscenes are not rendered, but instead are something that you would find on the history channel. They are black and white documentations of WWII, with commentary on all of them, providing a entertaining while educational reward.

The guns, while I not say are plenty not rich, are accurate models of real WWII used weapons, like the M1 Garrand, the BAR, and the Thompson machine gun. Both the allies guns and the axis guns can be used, for a bit of variation.

The Bad

The missions are terribly linear for such an immersive game. For the first time in a mission you will piss your pants because the missions are so fun, so detailed, and so immense. However this is not the truth the second time around. A lot of times the levels are made strictly the same every time, down to the gun placement, and most of the time, enemy placement. The first time you will see something cool, and say "Wow, that was pretty cool. Enemies in this game must be pretty smart to do that." Then the second time you see it and say "Oh, hes gonna do that EVERY time. That's sorta stupid." The basic problem is that the game "cheats" to much on the AI, which makes it seem very smart, but in truth it's all prerendered. You will find that the second time around is nowhere near as fun as the first time, and the third time around you will be completely tired of the level. As a result, the game has a pretty bad replay value.

I am completely mad at the AI of the game. Allied Assault had a great AI, so why would the CPU's lose most of their brain power on the console? Allies are sluggish, hiding behind crappy cover and jogging slowly into battle while you are forced to rush into battle and take out the enemies beforehand even before they get there. Enemies are terrible as well. Most will stand there and shoot you, without any attempt to go for cover or evade your gunfire. This lowers the replay value even more.

The controls, as you'd expect from a console are pretty bad. You can spend a while trying to aim at a person and completely miss an entire clip. Movement is fairly smooth, although there tends to be problems when you try to climb up and down ladders

The guns, while I would like to say are interesting, are very few. Even though most guns you can pick up off enemies and use, the same 5 guns are used mostly throughout the game, with weapons like the sniper rifle and the bazooka thrown in during specific missions.

The multiplayer mode is not exactly the greatest in the world. Truly, since all of the levels are designed to be linear, the game looses a lot of its appeal during multiplayer. As well as this, the game has no bots, and is completely boring with only two people. Guns are very limited, and the views are very constricted. Even the GameCube and Xbox versions, which support 4 person multiplayer, aren't all that well with multiplayer, and a 2 player multiplayer isn't all that entertaining either.

The Bottom Line

Medal of Honor is a great game that has appeal to all players. The game should have, and could have, won game of the year for outstanding graphics and sound if it weren't for a crappy AI and the linearity of the levels. The game is not made by its multiplayer, but by its one player mode. Because it is so emotional and immersive, I recommend it to both casual players and hardcore fans of the series alike. Even though it is an old current gen game, it has loss none of its appeal to the newer sub-par sequels. It is one of the two best in the series, only bested by its predecessor, the FPS gaming bliss that is Allied Assault.