EA Games Medal of Honor: Heroes 2
- Graphics and sound are well done
- Terrible controls; hackneyed setting; wait, haven't we seen this game before?
Graphics and sound alone can't save sub-par gameplay and even the staunchest WWII shooter fan won't find much to enjoy with Heroes 2.
Price$ 69.95 (AUD)
The first Medal of Honor game came out on the Playstation in 1999 and put you in the shoes of an OSS operative -- an American special forces unit -- that goes behind German lines to commit various acts of sabotage and bravery in an effort to help win the war.
Heroes 2 has the same premise, which means this is either homage to that original effort or EA has just run out of ideas for World War II combat scenarios. We suspect the latter, seeing as the gameplay follows suit in being the same old entirely unoriginal fare.
Once more into the breach
In addition to being a redundant entry into a crowded WWII genre, Heroes 2 doesn't play or control particularly well either. It handles the lack of a second analogue in what is the now expected format for PSP shooters that don't have a lock-on system: the face buttons as a right analogue stick for free looking, the analogue nub handles movement, and the d-pad handles everything else including crouching, switching weapons, reloading, and a context sensitive "use" button. It's a little clunky, but the default controls are by far the best of the several different schemes offered. Puzzling is the fact that the "use" command doesn't share double duty with reload like most games, which could have freed up a button for quick grenade tosses.
Aiming with the face buttons is hampered by a slow scroll rate and the absence of any kind of auto-aim assistance. The game compensates for this with an AI that has two settings: "run forward into your stream of bullets mode" and "whack-a-mole mode", where German soldiers take cover and pop out in predictable patterns. Playing online -- one of the game's touted features -- doesn't do much to enhance the experience. We had a battle with an editor from another publication where we literally danced around each other at a distance of six feet for a full minute while unloading several clips of ammunition at each other. Clearly, tracking circle-strafing enemies while wrestling with this control scheme is a daunting chore.
Heroes 2's graphics and sound are the lone standouts. The textures, modelling, and animation are above average for a PSP game, while the sound effects and musical score do a good job of establishing the setting.
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