copyright © Jedo Dre 2011

Medal of Honor (2010)

Rati ng:

Impact: Forgettable

Medal of Honor is a generic shooter.

There...that was one of the more efficient reviews. Unfortunately I have a minimum quota of words to fill, so I guess we can smudge this thing over the wall for a little while longer.

Medal of Honor, as opposed to the Medal of Honor from 1999 (apparently the developers ran out of words to add behind the title and just reset the whole thing), is set in the popular world of the Middle East, the part of the planet Earth, which due to the recent exposure in the media, has become the new playground for western teenagers.

"What's Middle East?", you will ask and the answer will be something along the lines of:

"That's a place where armed people in turbans run at you yelling something in Arabic endlessly trying to get themselves killed by jumping on your bullets. I killed about 975,348 of them so far."

Because Call of....Because Medal of Honor keeps its original formula of constantly respawning enemies, it seems that by the time you are done with the game, you have depopulated most of the mountainous area of Afghanistan. But, as we all know by now, it is all part of the usual gameplay.

The gameplay in Call of Du...damn it, I mean Medal of Honor...consists of the same old formula: You - a member of some ultra elite group - spawn on a map; The arrow tells you to go a certain direction; You move that direction, mauling your way through a bunch of enemies, while the generically generic voices keep talking in an attempt to staple a meaning to your run-and-gun escapade; then finally a cutscene showing something explode ensues and the whole cycle repeats itself until the point when either the credits start rolling or your brain melts away from boredom.

Perhaps I am being harsh. Perhaps more of the good thing is good, and I don't say that Medal of Honor is not good, but I'm not saying that it is good either. If something was really good to begin with, like a pizza, you don't mind eating more of the same for a while, but the standard formula that has been carved out for first-person shooters is not so good that you want to eat it infinitely. However way you look at it, when you chew a chewing gum for a while, the taste goes away and the chewing gum starts annoying your gums.

The game's graphics are hardly distinguishable from those of other modern shooters. It is nice how the game manages to feed you the illusion of large scale by smoothening the transition between the pretty background of huge mountains with the linear open air corridor where the you, the player, are standing and are bound to walk through. This sense of scale effect is also achieved via the flying jets and helicopters and by putting you in the shoes of different players that operate in different locations around the same time. Nice trick. The truth doesn't change: the game is as linear as they get.

The story is about...wait...the story is about...something relating to that I think about, that really is all that can be said about the story. There seems to be no specific plot in the game other than there are Taliban here and some foreign bad guys there and you need to take them all out. Well what do you know - I think I just found the first original thing about this game - a generic story. Every other game out there seems to have some kind of apocalypse developing and Medal of Honor is keeping it real.

Instead of the story, Medal of Honor concentrates on getting the situations right: from a stealthy attack, to trying to hold out in a shed surrounded by a gazillion of enemies, to a helicopter run. Transitions between the gameplay situations are smooth. What the game seems to do best is provisioning. Just when you think the whole game will be a corridor run, the game throws you a candy by letting you do something new, before throwing you back into the corridor.

In the end, Medal of Honor is an ok game, despite all its bugs (oh I'm sorry, did I forget to mention those in my review? WELL TOO BAD!) and despite the lack of any real story, and despite the linearity, but it does not really stand out and will be soon forgotten until they pop out Medal of Honor 2 (or Medal of Honor 15 if you count the previous instalments), but by that time I hope that US will start a war in a different part of the world so that the game developers have something new to work with, although the problem is of course that, unless the developers add some colour to their current first-person shooter formula, any new game will probably just taste like the gum you've been chewing for the past decennia.

By the way, the game is quite short.