Medal of Honor: Open Beta Impressions

You know, MoH, I’ve always been a fan. Your semi-accurate telling of wartime stories, your shooty goodness, and most of all, your cover mechanic that allows you to dynamically move around cover. I even went so far to say that there’s a chance that your newest installment, simply named Medal of Honor, wouldn’t simply be Call of Battlefield.

You know that I hate to be wrong, MoH. So now the beatings must begin.

/sigh, okay, let’s run this.

MoH has essentially the same idea for mission design as BC2. Actually, since they’re made by the same developers, Dice, there’s a lot of similarities, but we’ll get back to them. The big mission types are Rush and Capture Point, renamed to something new, both of which will be familiar territory for anyone that played BC2. However, you know how BC2 had wide-open maps and multiple ways to get to a point? MoH drops a hammer on that in favor of small, linear corridors with invisible walls abound. It gets especially frustrating when one tries to find a vantage point on a gently sloping hill that faces the enemy stronghold, but halfway up the hill you hit a wall. Not an ice wall that would clearly define where the level ends, hell no. The invisible kind.

While this may seem like standard score for this kind of game the levels are built in a way that turns those missions into grindhouses. There’s usually two or three chokepoints on the run and in a game where the sniper rifles are one hit kills anywhere on the body… well, it’s a clusterfuck.

Which brings me to the guns. While the weapons for the assault and engineer (“spec ops”) classes are fairly balanced, the sniper class is a bit off. The bolt-action rifle can kill anyone in one shot, anywhere on their body. This is again a problem with the linear corridors of levels as *everyone* goes sniper and just fills the air with death anytime someone pops their head out. Not good.

The assault rifles have that odd problem with damage that BC2 had. Since the bullets are actual objects, not just magic lines, they have travel time to hit the targets. This is fine, good even, but the bullets tend to go a bit slower than they should. You’ll occasionally end up with an enemy ten feet away from you and you’ll both spray bullets, one reacting a bit after the other. But since the bullets travel so slowly the other guy has that split-second to get off a shot and kill you as well. Thus, it’s not rare for you to see “You were killed by X, You killed X” pop up when you die.

The engineer and assault both have launchers/ rifle grenades respectively, which leads to a ton of noob tubing, but that’s been done to death so I won’t heavily touch on it.

Oh, the killstreaks. These are something that were improved, believe it or not, because they work on a point system, not by kills. Thus, two assists is the same as a kill for the purposes of a streak, which is how it should be. That and the choices between offensive and defensive streaks for every level of points is a great addition. However, there’s an odd problem where you can’t drop airstrikes on places that you can’t walk on, the part of the map that’s still in the enemy territory. This is an issue because your bombs can’t go in the zone, but enemies can. Thus, you’ll end up with five enemies having a tea party on the other side of a rock, but you can’t call in an airstrike because they’re in “safe”.

Of course, one could try to coordinate a team effort and work together to win. If only there was some way other than typing in the middle of a firefight to communicate with your team mates. If only there was a way that you could simply speak and they could hear you through the magical tubes of the internet. Apparently, despite the usefulness and virtual universalism of in-game voice chat, Dice decided that it wouldn’t be all that necessary. They did the same thing with BC2, and it suffered for it.

Really, it seems like Dice tried to take the general idea of CoD and shove the mechanics of BC2 in there. But BC2 is built for large maps with lots of room, not claustrophobic meat grinders. I was hoping for a lot more from MoH, I must say that I’m a bit disappointed. But, such is life.

And before you say “durr it’s just a beta, calm down” the game ships in a few days. I don’t think that they’re going to make great mechanical changes before then. Maybe they’ll patch it later, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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