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Medal of Honor gameplay preview

David Brown is ready to be called upon to do his previewing duty

I wish I had a medal of honour. You know, a big Iron Cross or... no, scratch that one. Just a round medal of some kind to show people how valiant, brave and heroic I am. Something to make me stand out from the crowd, like the military equivalent of a sideways Mohican. Make it razor sharp around the edges too, so I can use it to defend myself against my enemies and/or slash the throat of Russell Brand if I were in the same room with him.

We imagine the people who qualify to be Tier 1 Ops have lots of these medals. Enough to use them as shuriken, at least. They're so skilled and sneaky I'd never heard of them, which just makes Green Berets and Commandos look rubbish.

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These guys are the best of the best, the elite storm troopers of freedom, born to be inserted into dangerous locales around the world, kill some goons and be back home for tea, crumpets and the odd spot of consultancy on EAs' game projects, such as the relaunched Medal of Honor. Which is what we've finally begun to discuss. It's been a long time since we were delighted by Allied Assault. Far too long. Since then, all sorts of pretenders have approached the Medal of Honor throne, to tip the ailing series onto the floor, plump the cushions a bit and so usurp its place at the helm of World War II shooters. We've even had people being mown down in an airport with barely even enough grenades to do adequate damage to the civilians. That's not at all honourable and it's about time someone did something about it. EA and their Tier 1 Ops buddies are doing that.

RESPECTFUL GAMING
The relaunched Medal of Honor is going to be all about authenticity and respect for the soldier, say EA. So it's unlikely we're going to see any bad Americans in this then, especially as it's set in Afghanistan. So EA are perhaps wise in steering clear of the controversy bandwagon. Making light of business types and holidaymakers being butchered in a fictional airport is one thing, but it's an entirely different kettle of fish to twang the public's jangled nerves about the current conflict in the Middle-East.

The real Tier 1 special ops guys, drafted in as consultants, won't stand for any disrespect of the armed forces. Scenes have apparently already been cut or altered because of this, specifically one referring to the death of a soldier. Also they're refusing to reveal genuine military tactics (or, at least, some of them) because they refuse to compromise the position of individuals still serving in dangerous areas. Crikey.

The game itself though is, and let's be frank about this, another Modern Warfare 2. Certainly EA have already spoken about how there are going to be lots of scripted moments, like when your allies stack up around a door and kick it in. That'll all be scripted, at least until the wooden door splinters open and you get to shoot some terrorist's screwballs. We don't know if the shooty bit will be slow motion like in MW2, though.

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STAYING TRUE
Moving on from there, it goes without saying that you shouldn't go expecting any OpFlash or Armed Assault-style simulation antics here. Medal of Honor is going to be true to its roots, the ones that pioneered the Hollywood FPS type of game. Exciting set-pieces with rockets hitting jeeps, moving around the dusty streets of embattled Afghan towns, growing your characters' beards to phenomenal lengths in order to infiltrate the enemy cells: it'll all be in there.

One of the big selling points EA are keen to play up is how you'll be playing as more than one character. (Yes, but didn't you do that in Modern Warfare as well?) Anyway, this might lead to a tighter, less stretched storyline than MW2's, one of the main stumbling blocks found in Infinity Ward's magnum opus. It'll also have dedicated servers, which could be a line in the sand checkpoint between the two combatants. And, perhaps most excitingly, there will be drivable (and pilotable) vehicles, something the MOH team can definitely point to and look a bit smug about. There'll be obligatory static gun situations, but you'll at least be able to trundle about a bit. And the controllable attack helicopters look fun.

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