Medal of Honor is the second of three hugely anticipated shooters to appear in 2010. The first, Halo: Reach, touched down last month, earning generally strong reviews. The third, Call of Duty: Black Ops, is due out November 9th, and comes with a proud track record behind it.
Sandwiched between these two overly macho, slightly sweaty chunks of bread is Medal of Honor, which faces a tough task to compete. Halo and Call of Duty have continued to strengthen their reputations, having seen good quality annual updates over the past two or three years. In contrast, Medal of Honor has been in the wilderness since 2007. But has it grown wiser and more wily in its absence? Could it really be a Call of Duty beater?
Hint: No. And again, no. Here’s why:
Eurogamer (full review here) thoughtfully strokes its chin while it reflects on the game’s ham-fisted story-telling. Then gives it an eight:
“As a game about the Afghanistan war that does its absolute utmost to avoid being about the Afghanistan war,Medal of Honor is arguably just a shooting gallery spliced with a fairground ride and a solid multiplayer accessory which owes a lot toBad Company 2. It certainly does little to advance the theory that videogames are responsible enough to tell stories within sensitive contexts.”
Official Xbox Magazine (full review here) suggests the game is flawed in both singleplayer and multiplayer:
“Medal of Honor fails in making an honourable return to the frontline. It’s an inconsistent package that doesn’t fully deliver on the single-player, nor distinguish itself enough in multiplayer to make it an Xbox Live contender. A real shame.“
GamingTrend (full review here) gives the game the highest mark I’ve seen so far, with reviewer Ron Burke admitting he was moved to tears by the ending (for the right reasons, I think):
“While there are some graphical issues and multiplayer polish problems,Medal of Honor gets so much right that it’s hard to ignore. While the battle between the two modern warfare juggernauts will be settled in multiplayer, the single player stands well enough on its own to justify your purchase.“
Joystiq’s Andrew Yoon (full review here) says what every EA shareholder will be silently dreading: when it comes to multiplayer, Call of Duty just can’t be beaten:
“In any other genre, a stellar single player experience would be enough to garner a whole-hearted recommendation. But it’s impossible to ignore the importance of multiplayer, especially when Medal of Honor‘s primary competitor tends to excel at both. Medal of Honor‘s campaign is an exceptional experience, but the total package simply doesn’t beat Call of Duty.“
IGN (full review here) gave it one of the lowest scores around, made extra significant by the fact that IGN is pretty much the most widely read game reviews site out there:
“Medal of Honor’s real problem may be Danger Close’s inability to commit to a particular direction for the game. Swinging wildly between the horrors and danger of war and unrealistic action movie moments and hampered by a surplus of boring scripted sequences, not even DICE’s talented multiplayer designers are able to elevate Medal of Honor to something memorable.”