Thursday, October 7, 2010

Medal of Honor

The new Medal of Honor is coming out in a few days and I'm feeling really sorry for it. Things seem to be working against it.

On one hand there's the whole idiotic debate about using the Taliban as the antagonists and letting people play them. It's completely hypocritical that for the people who complain about this we can play as Nazis or even unnamed terrorists but using an actual name on virtual figures is somehow wrong and disrespectful. There always has to be another side, and this game had the guts to let players confront that other side. Because of the many complaints about the game EA have changed the Taliban name in the game to OpFor - Opposing Forces. I understand why EA did that but I'm disappointed that they caved in.

Now, I have nothing but respect for any soldiers who fight and die for the whims of other people but, if anything, letting people play this game in a more realistic setting can help them understand the situation more.I've been playing the open beta that's out until today and I must say that even the multi-player matches seem very reality-based and respectful of the conflict in general. There is always a background to where you are and what your side is doing there. Granted, most young people who play this will probably never bother to read the introductory information for every map, but if even just one does, it's already an achievement... that means you have some random person without any original desire to find out about the conflict suddenly looking for information online. But this can't happen when one side is simply labeled 'OpFor'... now this is just a game about good guys and bad guys. When the other side was the Taliban, one could get a sense of place and situation - who these people are? why are they fighting? Now it really IS just a game of warfare.
There is nothing that disrespects the lives and deaths of the soldiers in this game, and I think that the people complaining about it just get carried away about this whole anti-game movement and moan over anything game-related that they don't understand. EA should have been stronger against it. In any case, this will likely hurt their sales (or, conversely, it could make them skyrocket - so who knows?).

However, this isn't the only hurdle I feel MoH has to overcome. The game itself - at least the multiplayer - feels very rough. What I said before about the setting and background is all well and good, but the gameplay itself and the mechanics of the matches seem in need of serious tweaking. Player spawning, for example, has a very disorganized feel to it:
You spawn at random places every time and it is very likely, when spawning on the front lines, that you will be shot literally within a second of spawning. There should be some way for the player to either control where he or she spawns or have a short invulnerability buff to help the players get their bearing on the field. Of course, the latter would go against the whole point of more realistic-feeling warfare, but I think that players enjoying themselves is more important to keep them coming back.

The weapons as well are in need of fixing, I believe. At the moment, you can fire a burst of bullets at a faraway target and get a hit with virtually no kickback. This does seem unrealistic as it shouldn't be possible for someone using an AK to snipe you from miles away with a single burst of fire from an entire magazine.

Regardless of the above, though, I do enjoy playing it and I'm trying really hard to like it - I want it to do well. I don't think I'll buy it as soon as it's out, though. My favorite aspect of the game is the single player so I will wait for a review to see if it's worth getting. I really hope the game succeeds but, as I said, things aren't looking good for it.