Chiefly because it refrains from reinventing the wheel and concentrates on delivering a polished multiplayer experience, the current beta for EA’s October release, “Medal of Honor” is a lot of fun.
It’s very reminiscent of the free-for-all mode in the first “Modern Warfare” game, albeit built within DICE’s ‘Frostbite’ engine, which means gloriously destructable cover is the order of the day. Three character classes are available to choose from – soldier, specialist and sniper – with conversely different weapons. I ended up going with Specialist on the Allied side, as I couldn’t get on with my usually preferred sniper in the multiplayer.
The sniper rifle is pretty deadly when you can use it – in my time with the beta, I found that I couldn’t pull off wholly realistic and in-no-way OTT head-shots as easily as I would like (Fellow listeners of the “Weekend Confirmed” podcast are welcome at this point to enquire as to whether I have considered sucking less).
Choke points, wide-open transition sections and tight corners are all present and correct in the available maps, as is our old online friend, a little bit of latency – more than once I found myself shooting somebody quite convincingly at point blank range, only to find that my own family would be taking reciept of a shiny new casket. A slight bugbear to be sure, but not one which puts me off playing the game.
Ranking progress is decent, the rah-rah jingoism is (mostly) muted and the accomplished fundamentals on display indicate that DICE are holding up their multiplayer end of the “Medal of Honor” bargain – it’s not massively different from Activision’s 800 pound gorilla military shooter, but as many in the community appear to be on a break with That Game Series, this could fill the gap nicely (or if you’re feeling flush, it could serve as a nifty aperitif before “Call of Duty: Black Ops” kicks in the door and sprays the room with plausibly deniable gunfire in November.