One of the four games in Nintendo's so-called "Zapper Alley" was EA's Medal of Honor Heroes 2, the Wii sequel to the PSP-exclusive entry in the long-running World War II shooter series. It follows the first Heroes adherence to the Medal of Honor gameplay, already established by numerous games and expansions on virtually every platform, but also contains a Wii-friendly on-rails shooter mode. My first hands on time with the game was spent with the more arcade-style light gun-esque mode, one that should prime FPS noobs for the more complex half of the game. While Medal of Honor Heroes 2 doesn't shatter the mold, it does nail both modes from a control perspective. Unfortunately, there are a handful of problems.
My biggest issue with the Wii title was with its AI behavior. I was having a blast shooting dozens of Axis soldiers in the face, but got quite a few unintended chuckles out of the asinine behaviour displayed by my Nazi rivals. Hordes of German soldiers sought cover behind tiny cable spools, bent over as if they were behind much larger structures, content to be shot to bits by myself and my team. Others raced down platforms, running right past me on the way to their waypoint before turning around and firing upon me. On the flip side, some of the game's bad guys displayed amazing accuracy as they fired semi-automatic rifles at me from hundreds of yards away, while I struggled with my sniper scope.
My team's AI didn't fare much better, caught in silly looking firefights in which our opposing factions shot at eachother from opposite sides of the same crate. Sometimes, U.S. soldiers and Germans faced eachother at the corners of giant crates, inches away, waiting until I shot the helmet off an enemy. "Save some for us!" they would shout.
Despite some wonky behavior, Medal of Honor Heroes 2 was surprisingly fun to play. As an on-rails shooter, it's no Ghost Squad. But the on-rails portion, paired with a standard FPS game, should make for a good time with the Wii Zapper.
The standard FPS mode is best served played with the standard Nunchuk and Wii Remote combo, as the game features a strong control scheme with some welcome motion control additions. Peaking out from behind cover, for instance, requires a slight tilt of the Nunchuk. Precision aiming via your rifle sights can be done with a press of the A button, then a quick aim with the remote. It works well in tight situations, but the standard firing reticle is pretty forgiving. The only control complaint was using the Wii-mote as a mouselook replacement, something that can be challenging when things get hairy.
Furthermore, I expect that many Wii gamers won't pay much attention to the game's spotty AI, since they'll be playing many of their games online. While the E For All demo wasn't showcasing the online multiplayer, which supports 32 player matches, it will surely be the biggest long-term draw for Medal of Honor fans.
Medal of Honor Heroes 2 may not be a star performer in the graphics department and it's certainly got some rough edges, but it's still a fun trip. Some clever implementations of the Wii remote and one of the few games that's built for the Zapper make it stand out. It's out in a few weeks, so hold tight for reviews, but it could be a fun diversion for Wii owners looking for something to do between bouts of Super Mario Galaxy.