Medal Of Honor: The First Reviews Are In (And They're Sorta Mixed)

EA’s Medal of Honor is available today, and the very first reviews have already appeared online. The general verdict: not too bad. Not perfect by any means, but bad at all.

What’s sorta surprising is that, as of 9:30am, I’ve only spotted four reviews: Rock, Paper, Shotgun; Eurogamer; Joystiq; and Kotaku. I guess I’ll update this post throughout the day as other reviews pop up.

So, consider this Chris Jericho-style highlight reel of some of the reviews.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun: In many ways you have to argue that Medal Of Honour is competent. If you want to feel what it’s like to be a grunt in a conflict, unable to make decisions or use your imagination, it’s mostly very solid. There’s constant variety in how you’re playing, all flying past you at quite some speed.

Eurogamer: 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 to Bad Company 2. It certainly does little to advance the theory that videogames are responsible enough to tell stories within sensitive contexts – it’s compelling and enjoyable to play on a visceral level, but it’s a shame it lacks the creative bravery to match the courage of the heroes it so reveres.

Joystiq: When viewed as a standalone offering, Danger Close’s campaign is one of the finest shooters I’ve experienced in years, successfully finding the middle ground between a realistic military simulation and a great piece of entertainment. The story, which covers two action-packed days in the US military’s ongoing battle against insurgents in Afghanistan, masterfully switches between the perspective of an elite group of soldiers (Tier 1), and the Army Rangers, and offers a genuine, realistic look into the struggles of being a modern warrior.

Kotaku: Medal of Honor falls somewhere between [Call of Duty 4 and Modern Warfare 2]. I was surprised to find just how quickly I made my way through the game’s campaign, wrapping it up in a tidy five hours or so. But in retrospect I realized that there wasn’t a scene I would cut, a level that annoyed me, or any backtracking to speak of. This is a fat-free experience. It’s pure engagement packed with spikes of cleverly crafted crescendos.

Well, more reviews have trickled out over the past few hours, and it’s clear that a pattern is emerging: the game is merely OK. It’s not going to blow your socks off, particularly if you’ve played any number of first-person shooters in the recent past.

IGN: It would be easier to look past that if the game did interesting things elsewhere, but Medal of Honor feels several years behind its shooter competition. Enemies typically fire from one place without moving from point to point, and combat becomes an exercise in Taliban Whack-a-Mole as you’ll wait for a head to robotically pop up from cover. The only dangerous points throughout the game came from enemies that I couldn’t see or positions that I literally couldn’t hit before triggering another scripted sequence.

Edge (really, the only review that matters): In its campaign mode, MOH is almost a paean to the decency of US military personnel – even if it pointedly saves its admiration for the troops on the ground rather than those commanding the forces from afar. In fact, it is so keen to exonerate the soldiers themselves, who all operate with the utmost virtue, that it comes across with the forceful naivety of propaganda…. Whatever its bias or excisions, MOH rejects the sort of gung-ho globetrotting baloney seen in Modern Warfare, and makes an honest attempt not to trivialise the lives of US soldiers, creating an air of sober authenticity which is unusual among shooters…. MOH is a robust, if seldom surprising, rebuttal to MW2’s dominance, and its measured tone and diligent observation of military patter make it a marginally more meaningful representation of modern warfare itself.