Medal of Honor Beta Impressions

Written by Sam Lawrence | Thursday, 15 July 2010 19:52


After the success of the Battlefield series, DICE has cemented itself as one of the best developers of online shooters for both PC and Consoles. After the brilliant game that was Battlefield Bad Company 2 I am ready to give anything they make a good go. So I was obviously excited at the announcement that DICE was making the multiplayer component for Medal of Honor, so does it have a chance to live up to the Battlefield games?

In a nutshell? Unfortunately no, it can’t live up to the Battlefield games, but that is because it is aiming down a slightly smaller scope. After playing Medal of Honor for a few hours it is clear that it is going for the Call of Duty crown and all of the money that comes with it. I have been a critic of Modern Warfare 2, but it is still a great game, sure it has a few glitches and can be laggy at times but the games popularity shows that it does something right.

This is why I am worried about Medal of Honor, when you play Call of Duty it doesn’t leave you wanting for other things, it creates an addiction on the upgrades and the point system they are tied to. It also handles like it should for the type of game it wants to be, it has tons of customization options and most importantly of all it feels like Infinity Ward (or Treyarch) have taken the time to think about what the game needs to look and feel right. This is why they set the bar for online shooters.


Medal of Honor on the other hand feels like it is lacking something to make it that complete experience. Killstreaks are addicting in Call of Duty, there is a sense of frustration when you get killed before you earn one. There is no feeling like that in Medal of Honor, it doesn’t reward you as well as Call of Duty and the gameplay isn’t as good as Bad Company 2. Not to mention the lack of customization, that is something that was annoying in Bad Company 2. It took so long to unlock everything that the sense of reward you got at the start dwindled and this is a problem again with Medal of Honor.

Bad Company 2 has a weighty feeling, great destruction, Classes and large maps that keep the objectives moving. Call of Duty has a quicker, arcade feeling, smaller more refined maps and a ton of perks, upgrades and killstreaks. Medal of Honor has (at this beta stage) a combination of both games. It has both Call of Duty and Bad Company (on a smaller scope) like maps and kill streaks, Bad Company 2 style graphics and movement, less customization than either of them, some vehicles on some levels and that is about all it is offering.

There are currently 2 maps in the beta; the first, Kabul City Ruins, being for the Team Deathmatch game mode called "Team Assault". This is a Call of Duty style map, small to medium sized with a lot of quick movement rewarded here. Camping in the game is actually fairly hard; everything seems to have multiple entries unless it is out in the open. From everything I have played hasn’t shown one major power position on the map. It’s a shame that the map is less interesting than most Call of Duty maps, it seems like it could be called “Generic City Map #35.”


The other map is Helmand Valley; this is for the “Rush” style game mod from Bad Company 2 renamed to "Mission". And in all honesty looking at the map you would be forgiven for thinking it was a map for Bad Company 2. It is a large open map set in a desert environment with a few points to occupy or defend (that move as they are taken?). Large open maps are useful for snipers, but so far I haven’t noticed any bullet drop, but it could still be in frostbite engine.

If I am to be completely honest it still feels like a advanced mod for Battlefield Bad Company 2 (minus the building destruction) aimed at the Call of Duty crowd. Bad Company 2’s controls, as good as they are, don’t feel either tight or quick enough to work in small maps like Call of Duty and this is proof. That is one of many things that DICE need to fix before the game comes out.

Another negative are the death animations, it is the same rag doll as Battlefield that looks ridiculous and come on DICE a Kill cam would be great. It also seems the engine needs to be smoothed out with an ugly hitch as you die giving you the feeling that the game is going to free. Also some extra Anti Aliasing would help how smooth the game runs, this is one reason Call of Duty is still the king.

It isn’t all bad for Medal of Honor though, the maps are fun to play (if a little bland), the guns feel powerful when shot and getting connected was quick and the lack of lag was (mostly) good. It certainly doesn’t do the Battlefield Bad Company 2 time rewind to cover lag as much as Bad Company 2 did.


Some things that DICE do great is still brilliant; the sound design is still immersive and the more games that follow DICE on the better. Also the slight destruction (wooden barriers, glass, crates etc) that is around still looks great with the particle effects flying everywhere even if you can’t blow up holes in walls or make entire buildings crumble.

If DICE just tightened up the controls this would be a really good game still, don’t get me wrong with all the negativity. I still had a lot of fun playing the beta; the problem was it is still more fun playing Call of Duty or Battlefield Bad Company 2. It seems to be going to the middle ground and all that is doing is creating more and more features that have become almost necessary to those games that aren’t there. The best thing this beta has done was made me realise how much I liked Bad Company 2 and Call of Duty (4) and make me want to play them again.

DICE please either go for Call of Duty or step on your own toes. I say take on Call of Duty, Tighten up the controls, add in a ton of customization and depending of the quality of the maps we could have a hit on our hands. This is a beta test and there is still a lot of hope for the game but in its current state I can’t see Medal of Honor taking audience away from Call of Duty or Battlefield for very long.