Anyone who’s even passingly familiar with first person shooters knows all there is to know about Medal Of Honor, right? EA’s long-running franchise has nothing new to offer to the genre, correct? The answer to both of these questions is a resounding ‘No’, judging by the evidence of the latest instalment in the series.
We ain’t in WWII any more, Toto, and it’ll take more than clicking your jackboots together to get you out of the living hell that is the life of an American soldier in modern day Afghanistan. The quality of the gameplay is so tense, taut and fractious that you won’t want to leave, however, as the latest MOH game brings the series bang up to date and gives all the gritty Call Of Duty or Tom Clancy titles a run for their hard-fought money.
From booby-trapped bodies to mobile phone bombs, the Taliban will use whatever means at their disposal to anihilate the infidel and if you’re to survive, either as a special forces operative or a US Army Ranger, you’ll need your wits about you. The action is non-stop, from playing the gunner in a chopper searching the Afghan hills in a bid to uncover mortar outposts to frantic firefights in abandoned villages, careering down abandoned river beds on quad bikes and calling in airstrikes on entrenched enemies. Arguably the game’s strongest suit, however, is the fact that it genuinely feels like your missions make a difference to the overall war effort: when your strike team takes an airfield from the Taliban, you give your army a valuable foothold in the beleagured region, the lauchpad for subsequent missions.
The multiplayer options are pretty impressive, although the inclusion of a co-op mode for the regular campaign would have been a most welcome addition.
The graphics and sound are top-notch, as you’d expect from this series, but it’s the relentless, intense action that lifts this game above the pack. The inclusion of stunning set-pieces will ensure MOH lives long in the memory, none better than when your four-man team is ambushed and outnumbered by hordes of Taliban fighters while trying to secure a landing zone and you’re frantically trying to call in air support while rapidly running out of ammo. Superb.