Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor on the Xbox 360 offers realistic weapons and scenarios
- A relatively frank depiction of a modern day conflict that offers the sort of thrills gamers expect from this genre, online multiplayer options should provide a legitimate alternative to Call of Duty
- It's not as polished as Modern Warfare, story doesn't impart a sense of resolution or closure, small technical issues pop up from time to time
EA's reboot of its popular war franchise brings the action to a familiar battleground, one where technology and specialisation are the order of the day. While Medal of Honor treads the same path forged by Modern Warfare, it offers enough to be a potential challenger to Call of Duty's dominance down the line. It doesn't win the war but it definitely has enough to carry its own in what should be a protracted battle.
Price$ 109.95 (AUD)
It's difficult—maybe the better word here is impossible—to talk about the new Medal of Honor without mentioning the Modern Warfare series. Producer Greg Goodrich did an admirable job of it at a recent press event, referring to the game's depiction of "today's war" and "today's soldiers," but that bit of coy synonymical manipulation doesn't hide the fact that Medal of Honor is trying to conquer territory Activision has already planted its flag in.
The good news is this marks the return of an old superpower for what I hope is a long and protracted battle between the two publishers, if only because competition breeds innovation, and I don't want the modern war setting to become as stale as the battlefields of World War II. The bad news is that MoH won't steal the spotlight from the upcoming Black Ops because Call of Duty is just too deeply entrenched and fortified and developer Danger Close has some work to do if they're going to catch up.
For its shortcomings, the one thing MoH does better than Call of Duty is the tone of its depiction of a modern day conflict; I replayed through the original Modern Warfare shortly after beating MoH and it came across like an episode of '24' compared to the much more subtle tact that Danger Close took—no doubt, this was a result of the role actual troops had in cultivating the development philosophy. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a realistic depiction—this is a video game, after all—but there's a sense that they intentionally avoided sensationalizing or glorifying combat.
There are still plenty of awe-inspiring moments in the game, like laser targeting ground targets for close air support to obliterate and taking control of an attack helicopter to rain down some serious firepower, but there isn't a "Hollywood" vibe here, reinforcing the sense that the events depicted in the game has actually happened and is happening right now.
Unfortunately, the real world setting proves to be just a bit too hot for Danger Close to fully embrace, and as a result, the narrative suffers—there just isn't enough emphasis placed on why you're doing the things you do. While the developers made a big deal about the real world setting, they chose to carefully hold it at arm's length. For instance, there is no true villain in MoH, just an endless wave of generated enemies who are apparently a part of the Taliban; its action movie pretensions aside, Modern Warfare at least recognized the need for a villain and set up an unholy triumvirate of foes—Zakhaev, Makarov, and General Shepard—to contend with.
Tellingly, the only character actually worth detesting is an American general who, from the comfy confines of his office hundreds of thousands of miles away, hands down orders that put political considerations ahead of the welfare of the men on the ground. It's an interesting bit of characterization, and you have to think it's indicative of the attitude some soldiers have towards the brass who shuffle them around like pieces on a chessboard, but there's no payoff and no resolution because there's no actual goal or end game to build towards.
It's a bit of a letdown from a gameplay perspective, and I don't mean that as a slight to the men and women currently serving in Afghanistan—if anything, the game, which ends with a moving tribute to soldiers, does a terrific job of reminding you that the war you just recreated isn't some made up fiction—but MoH isn't a documentary, it's a video game, and there are certain needs that must be met.
From a purely visceral standpoint, MoH hits all the expected notes, giving you access to a variety of realistic weapons and scenarios to experience—the game's overall look, feel and game mechanics will immediately be familiar to anyone who's beaten both Modern Warfare titles—but the entire game comes across like a series of loosely connected levels, rather than an overarching story. You can pin that mostly on the fact that it's based on a conflict that is still ongoing, but the lack of resolution is definitely noticeable.
There also a handful of rough spots which take some off the shine off the game. I experienced random audio skipping and texture popping during my playthrough, and I noticed a strange echo whenever I got too close to an NPC—every soldier is armed with a comm system, so if someone near you speaks, you hear their actual voice and their comm voice. The head's up display also needs work: it cleverly hides itself out of view—you can bring it up with a press of the Up button—but go anywhere near an ally and a giant prompt reading "Press X to request ammo" pops up on the screen. Walk over any dropped weapon and yet another giant prompt reading "Hold X to exchange weapon X for weapon Y" appears as well. It's a distracting eyesore that could have been toned down.
Ultimately, I think MoH is an interesting attempt to address war in a respectful way, and it should find its niche as a legitimate alternative for gamers who don't want to jump on the Call of Duty bandwagon. It hits most of the same gameplay notes as Modern Warfare does, even if it doesn't do it with nearly as much panache, and while it won't singlehandedly topple the empire Activision has built up, it could make up some ground with future titles if EA and Danger Close commit to improving the franchise. I personally am rooting for the franchise because having two legitimate companies competing in the same field will lead to innovation and evolution, which will hopefully ensure "today's war" doesn't become as tired as yesterday's news.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® Portable SSD
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Acer Swift 7
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Huawei Mate 9
Google Daydream VR headset
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Surface Pro 4
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 2 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 3 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
- 4 Panasonic Blu-ray recorder PVR set-top box review
- 5 Garmin Fenix Chronos fitness tracker smartwatch review
Latest News Articles
- Legendary RPG Planescape: Torment is getting an Enhanced Edition, 17 years later
- Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro finally adds 4K video support for local files
- StarCraft Remastered updates a legend with 4K widescreen support, updated audio, and more
- Obduction's new VR hand-tracking makes Myst's spiritual successor even more stunning
- Star Citizen dumps DirectX 12 plans to focus on Vulkan-powered graphics
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- Subaru XV 2017 review
- LG G6: unboxing, hands on review and detail shots
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- CCSAP FICO ConsultantWA
- FTTechnical Consultant - SQL Server programming skillsACT
- FTField Services EngineerWA
- FTJunior Network EngineerNSW
- CCPerformance AnalystQLD
- FTCisco Network Engineer (FIFO)WA
- TPGIS Officer | Map InfoQLD
- CCEnterprise/Solution ArchitectNSW
- TPProject Manager - General InsuranceNSW
- FTChief Architect - Public SectorACT
- FTAgile CoachVIC
- CCLightweight Directory Access Procol (LDAP) DeveloperNSW
- FTFinancial ERP Customer - Solution Consultant / System AccountantNSW
- FTReporting Analyst - HR / PayrollNSW
- FTImplementation LeadVIC
- FTApplication Services Administrator (Linux)NSW
- FTSeeking all Java Developers!QLD
- FTSolution ArchitectVIC
- FT.Net DeveloperVIC
- CCIT SharePoint SpecialistNSW
- FTSenior Project ManagerNSW
- FTSolution Architect l MS Exchange, O365NSW
- FTNBN Sales Consultant / Account ManagersSA
- CCTechnical Project ManagerNSW