Gaming & Technology

'Medal of Honor' moves to the 21st century, but it brings along some shortcomings

The newest version of Medal of Honor is set in Afghanistan. One of the game's drawbacks is that it won't let shooters lie prone.
The newest version of Medal of Honor is set in Afghanistan. One of the game's drawbacks is that it won't let shooters lie prone. Courtesy Games Press

Unhappy with being surpassed by the stellar Call of Duty franchise, Electronic Arts has revived its Medal of Honor series, which appeared four years before Call of Duty showed up.

This revival moves Medal of Honor out of World War II in favor of more modern action, but it falls short of surpassing Call of Duty's exciting gameplay and multiplayer mastery.

In crafting Medal of Honor, EA opted to bring the series to Afghanistan and worked with Special Operations personnel to give a more realistic "boots on the ground" feel to the game.

Campaign play allows gamers to slog through some of the toughest missions the Afghan war has to offer. But, unfortunately, that is all you do. You navigate a linear track and dispense with waves of bad guys with a total of only about six hours of gameplay for the main campaign.

Those six hours are broken up by scenes worthy of being in an action movie, even though the scenes are filled with melodramatic dialogue and overly indulgent scenes of the deaths of fellow soldiers. That's pretty much the standard for contemporary shooting games these days.

As an avid online gamer, I usually base most of my judgment of a shooter on the quality of its multiplayer arena, and Medal of Honor falls flat in that realm. That's only a euphemism, though, because you can't literally fall flat.

For some reason, the developers decided that players should not be able to lie prone. I wonder whether the Special Operations people consulted for the game told them that when their squad fights the Taliban, the Geneva Convention bars lying down because it makes them too difficult to hit.

Also, when you are killed in multiplayer, there is a set area where you spawn to return to the fray. Many, many times I would spawn to find an opponent posted up just hosing down the spawning area with machine-gun fire, or I would be taken down by a sniper's bullet after taking only two or three steps.

These are shortcomings that Call of Duty's Modern Warfare series doesn't have, and it is proof that even though it came after Medal of Honor, it remains the gold standard for military shooting games.

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