Thursday, October 25, 2012

AGTurbo Says: Medal of Honor

What happens when a beloved franchise gets rebooted? AGTurbo takes a look back at 2010's release of Medal of Honor from EA. With a new entry in the series due out this coming Holiday season, how did last year's game stack up?

Medal of Honor, developed by Danger Close and published by EA, was released October 12th 2010. It had a 3 week head start on Call of Duty Black Ops. Medal of Honor was marketed as more realistic, and not a ridiculous over the top like Modern Warfare 2. 

In the single player campaign you play as 4 different soldiers, but it seamlessly transitions in a way it seems like you never changed a soldier. The Tier 1 squad consists of the names Preacher, Dusty, Mother, and Rabbit. The Tier 1 operators are undercover in the Tora Bora mountains, driving to rescue an informant. At night they get stopped by a shepherd and a dozen goats crossing the road. At first the squadmate shouts in the native dialect to move. Then after a long time of 5 seconds, the Tier 1 operative yells “Move!” in English. As if no Taliban soldier would ever notice.

When the Tier 1 Ops, get to the informant, they pull guns on him. They did this to make sure if the informant lead them into a set up. The informant tells the soldiers that The Taliban are bad people and he wants his daughter to grow up and get an education. All the Taliban does in the context of the game is terrorize the locals. This is one of the rare times Taliban is actually mentioned in the game. Throughout the game Tier 1, US Marines, and helicopter pilots refer to the Taliban as “bad guys”. Not tangos, but bad guys. Danger Close couldn’t make it any more black and white.

The US invade the Bagrams airforce base. What makes this odd, is that the takeover of Bagrams was a joint op of US and UK special forces. While Danger Close mentioned multiple times that they consulted with the Tier 1 Special Forces, it seems like Danger Close gave them full control of script writing.

The Colonel in Bagrams airforce base wants to use tactical strikes to slowly weaken the Taliban, but the clueless General in Washington D.C. has no idea what’s going on in Afghanistan, and wants to send marines. The missions consists of destroying Taliban ammo caches, bunkers, installations, getting ambushed, and a rescue mission. There isn’t a good sense of mission pacing of rising conflict, climax, and resolution compared to call of Duty. Due to the success of Modern Warfare’s All Ghillied Up, Danger Close tries to implement stealth in some later missions, but it never has the same effect. The mission pacing is as clueless as the U.S. military's purpose in Afghanistan. The last mission of Medal of Honor just ends. There is no change in pacing such as a massive firefight to indicate the end.

While the game tries to be grounded, and have a serious tone, the Linkin Park music washed all that away. Not just one, but two Linkin Park songs were used in Medal of Honor. It was strange that they licensed some shitty rock songs when they already had an acclaimed Hollywood composer. 

The end credits of Medal of Honor has a long over the top tribute to US veterans. 

My first time reading the slides, I remembered what Chris Antista, former host of the TalkRadar podcast, said in October 2010: “Without your sacrifices we wouldn’t been able to make this game.” The ending deifies the troops. 

Tier 1 consultants basically were given free reign of the story. After playing Medal of Honor, I don’t understand of what the Special Operation Forces does. The Tier 1 could do nothing wrong, and the Marines barely caught breaks. Medal of Honor comes off way more propagandized compared to the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare games, because it never uses real historical events as a setting for their games.
Setting the game based upon real-life conflict was a bit tasteless. It wasn’t pulled off that well. The Taliban could have been called opposing force and it would have made no difference. While it tried to be serious, it never fully committed to the tone. 

It is sad that one of the most influential and creative series in World War II shooters got rebooted to be the pinnacle of this generation's generic contemporary military shooter.


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  1. Medal of Honor was 2010 not 2011.

    1. Sometimes I forget what year it is?

    2. One thing the Medal of Honor post 2010 series does very well is makes you forget. Also Medal of Honor Warfighter metacritic average is lower than Duke Nukem Forever.