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Medal of Honor multiplayer beta impressions

Developer: DICE | Publisher: Electronic Arts
Players: 1 Player Game | Genre: FPS

Release Date: 10/12/10

Recently, EA launched a closed multiplayer beta for Medal of Honor. CVGames was lucky enough to be granted access, so we decided share our thoughts in case you were thinking about enlisting this fall.

For those who don’t know, Medal of Honor’s multiplayer component is being developed by DICE, the studio behind the Battlefield series. DICE’s fingerprints are all over on MOH’s gameplay, but we’ll get to that later.

The beta comes with two maps, both set in real-life locations in Afghanistan. Kabul City Ruins is an urban sprawl that’s been demolished by unending battle. This map is all about close quarters combat, and visitors need to be weary of the many windows which make for perfect sniping nests. The other map, Helmand Valley, is the exact opposite. Located in a rural landscape, Helmand is a wide-open level peppered with rocky terrain, small villages and a river running straight through the map.

Players are split into two teams: coalition troops or insurgents. Each side is equipped with different weapons; coalition troops have M16’s, while insurgents wield AK-47’s. Like any current FPS, Medal of Honor’s gameplay has an RPG progression system, where experience earned during a match nets players higher levels and thus better equipment.

Experience points come from carrying out objectives or killing the enemy. In addition, medals and ribbons are awarded for particular feats, such as getting so many kills during a match. The beta’s level system caps out at 14, although we’re not sure if that’s going to be the cap for the full game.

Three disciplines of warriors are available to choose from: special ops, sniper and rifleman. Each comes with a unique explosive device. The rifleman has a grenade launcher attachment, special ops carry a rocket launcher and the sniper can plant C4 explosives. Each class also has their own set of unlockable items. After using a class for an extended period of time, the game will dish out weapon attachments (red dot sights, silencers), different types of ammo (hollow point rounds), or simply more guns (shotguns, light machine guns etc).

Compared to Modern Warfare 2, Medal of Honor’s gameplay feels firmly grounded in reality. There’s no perks to make your soldier run and stab with the speed of a superhero, which may appeal to gamers frustrated by Infinity Ward’s continual foray into hyper-realism.

Of course there are some similarities. Kill streak rewards are present, except gamers will have to make strategic choices on which ones to use. After acquiring four kills, users can either call in a mortar strike or request intel, causing nearby enemies to pop up on radar. With the kill streaks, and matches supporting 24 players, MOH’s flavour of online warfare seems to fall somewhere between Call of Duty and Battlefield.

The Battlefield influence is most apparent when playing the game’s objective mode, Mission. Team Assault is standard issue Deathmatch, but Mission is almost an exact replica of Bad Company 2’s Rush mode. The attacking team is tasked with completing objectives, while it’s up to the defending team to stop them.

The gameplay consists of moving from one specific area on the battlefield to the next, either arming bombs or controlling checkpoints, much like DICE’s other military shooter. Another similarity we noticed was the option for players to spawn at the front line with their teammates. Dropping into the middle of the action will mean being closer to an objective but it’s also more dangerous.

Since this is a beta, nothing here is final, including the visuals. With that admission out of the way, we can say Medal of Honor’s graphics are a long ways off. While the debris kicked up by gunfire is impressive, the character models are sorely in need of more detail and animation work. Again, this isn’t the game you’ll be playing this fall, so DICE still has time to add polish. Another detail EA has already taken heat on is the absence of the ability to go prone. For a military shooter it’s a strange omission, one we can see FPS diehards becoming turbulent over.

It’s hard to give a final say on Medal of Honor’s multiplayer because this isn’t the final build. What we played so far was fun, albeit not revolutionary. We’re hoping EA doesn’t get too comfortable with their power to ship multiplayer responsibilities off to another one of their studios, getting the job done fast and frugally. Here’s hoping Medal of Honor will be another online hit for DICE, rather than a side project to be completed in between Battlefield titles.

Medal of Honor is set to release on October 12, 2010, for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.

By Mark Melnychuk - 06/28/10
ESRB Details: - Blood, Strong Language, Violence - This is a first-person shooter, set in the modern day, in which players join an elite army squadron hunting down enemy forces in Afghanistan. Players use machine guns, missiles, sniper rifles, and grenades to kill enemy soldiers and take out targeted facilities. Realistic gunfire, explosions, and cries of pain are heard during the frequent and fast-paced combat. Soldiers emit large splashes of blood when they are shot; enemies can be shot after they are killed, resulting in flailing motions and more blood effects. In multiplayer, players can choose to play as either coalition or enemy forces. Language such as 'f**k' and 'sh*t' can be heard in the dialogue.
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Screenshots for Medal of Honor multiplayer beta impressions

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