Medal of Honor (photos)

EA is rebooting the Medal of Honor franchise with a gritty take on the current conflict in Afghanistan.

Jeff Bakalar
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The Afghanistan-set shoot-em-up game ignited controversy following word that an early version of the game would let participants play as Taliban fighters. Publisher Electronic Arts finally bent to public criticism and changed the name of the force opposing Americans to the term "Opfor" as in opposition force.
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From a review in Planet Xbox 360:"Unlike other modern war shooters where the single player doesn't stray far from the multiplayer, this feels like two different games in one package, that's what made writing this Medal of Honor review so difficult. The result: a jarring mixture of different ideas, designs and overall feel."
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Rich McCormick in PC Gamer: "If Medal of Honour's enemy count is even vaguely accurate, the coalition forces in Afghanistan are outgunned seven hundred to one. New fighters pop into existence every couple of seconds in the game's lengthy and repeated 'defend until extraction' objectives. These vignettes are tense but tiresome: in a real battle they'd be frantic scraps for seconds of life; in Medal of Honour, they're click click click from behind the same point of cover until a timer ticks down to zero."
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San Josy Mercury News: Initially, the battles seem interchangeable with "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" or "Battlefield: Bad Company 2." Players won't see much difference. The firefights are tactical as players move through urban areas in their four-man teams. They help each other out by handing extra clips or boosting a buddy over a wall as they try to flank Taliban militants. But as they advance through the campaign, players will see an uncanny level of detail and realism in the environment. That's how "Medal of Honor" distinguishes itself. At times, the game is a revelation, showing how hard it is to fight in the dust and glare of an Afghan sun. Other moments show how powerful modern weapons can be. A bomb not only creates a crater, the blast also makes the dirt rain atop soldiers. Meanwhile, some scenarios such as the chopper mission are eerily similar to real life. It bears a striking resemblance to the scandalous WikiLeaks video from Iraq..."Medal of Honor" remains neutral. It doesn't take political sides. It doesn't say whether the conflict is right or wrong. It just conveys to gamers what U.S. service members could be going through at a time when war stories aren't always front-page news.

"It reminds players about our troops and their sacrifices by taking players to the virtual front lines. It's not a controversial message, but when compared to games about orcs or robots, Danger Close has the courage to depict a real-life issue, one that affects all of us. "Medal of Honor" shows that games can tackle tough subjects even if critics call the concept "controversial."

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Stars and Stripes: "Technically, the game is very good. The controls are smooth and efficient. The graphics do a good job of portraying the stark landscapes and desolate villages of Afghanistan. The character rendering and animations are solid...Despite dropping the name "Taliban," the mode does offer a few things that might seem uncomfortably close to reality. Some of the maps -- "Helmand Valley," "Mazar-I-Sharif Airfield" and "Kandahar Marketplace," for example -- are very familiar. And the turbaned OPFOR fighters have the ability to pull out a cell phone to detonate explosives, IED-style. It hits a little closer to home than most other combat games."
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The Associated Press: "Some gamers might appreciate the more minimalist approach to multiplayer, but it feels like a mishmash of what's been seen in "Modern Warfare" and "Battlefield" - and isn't as slick or addictive as either.

And there's something slightly unsettling, though not totally monstrous, about playing as the Opposing Force.

"Medal of Honor" doesn't quite reinvigorate the series the way "Modern Warfare" did for "Call of Duty." Die-hard military shooter fans will no doubt need a taste of the solo campaign's unapologetic authenticity and the multiplayer mode's breakneck skirmishes, but everyone else should wait until "Black Ops" is served. Two out of four stars."
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