Playstation medal-of-honor-preview

Published on April 9th, 2010 | by prime


Medal of Honor – Preview

Just like in any career, you learn skills and take them with you from post to post, says Medal of Honor’s Senior Creative Director Richard Farrelly, commenting on his 12-year history working on some of the biggest gaming names. But among all the Wolfensteins, Quakes and Kingpins that bulk up the ex-level designer’s CV, there’s one particular title that stands out from the crowd: Call of Duty.

After having worked on Treyarch’s entire back catalog of Call of Duty titles, there are fewer better suited than Farrelly to head up development on a game that seems destined to have every element of its future compared with the industry’s most lucrative franchise. Of course, it’s not particularly difficult to see why those comparisons with Activision’s finest are being drawn, particularly off the back of the latest demo that EA chose to share with us.

We’re on an undisclosed hillside in Afghanistan at dawn, as we join a group of operatives preparing to engage in their first day’s work of the operation ahead. An AC-130 circles overhead, capturing every inch of movement that rustles on the hillside, relaying positions of enemy infantry to the ground units below. The scene is somewhat peaceful and relaxed, fairly reminiscent of ‘All Ghillied Up’ as the cold, emotionless operatives banter between themselves over radio chatter as one suddenly wrestles an enemy insurgent to the ground. The mission is a go.

While its influences are obvious, this modern day revival of the classic shooter series oozes style, confidence and top –tier production values

At this point it’s worth pointing out that, much like Call of Duty, Medal of Honor’s campaign is balanced between players fighting as Tier 1 operatives and US Army Rangers – or as EALA calls it, the ‘scalpel’ and the ‘sledgehammer’. The former are a group of bearded highly trained undercover operatives; an invite only club for the world’s most efficient killers.

They’re the best of the best; the elitist of the elite. On the flipside, the US Army Rangers are relatively rowdier and more easily affected by the onscreen slaughter – it’ll probably be these segments that’ll host the games more Hollywood-esque moments.

Back to the mission, though. The four men (enough for an unconfirmed co-operative mode, perhaps?) sneak out of the long grass and straight into the shadows, using the cover of darkness to advance up the mountain. Unlike the majority of shooters, the use of stealth seems to be a key component of Medal of Honor, its usage helping to dictate the pace and flow of the game, and to allow for more punch when the game’s shock and awe sequences finally do kick in. and when they do, you’ll be blown away. A firefight breaks out of the ground as enemy insurgents switch flashlights for assault rifles, while the AC-130 above springs into life, tearing into a city in the distance before raining hellfire on down on the convoy ahead of us. Since when does EA care about Danger Close, we find ourselves muttering.

But while its influences are obvious, this modern day revival of the classic shooter series oozes style, confidence and top –tier production values. Witnessing an AC-130 rip through enemy defenses or watching a pair of synchronized snipers take down a group of unsuspecting targets may never get old, but if it can avoid simply falling into the Modern Warfare trap and come up with some ideas of its own, Medal of Honor could not only avoid its fate as being labeled as a mere CoD-clone, but also be in the running for one of 2010’s top shooters.

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