Medal Of Honor Multiplayer Impressions: Not What's Right, Just Who's Left

I've never seen combat, but I've heard it said that it is hurricane bursts of life-and-death activity bridged by an indescribably tense boredom. EA DICE miniaturises this model in an grimly realistic presentation of war for Medal of Honor

What I learned from my time with Medal of Honor, both at E3 and in its closed beta currently underway, is that the surest way to get your arse killed is to stand straight up and go looking for action. You may expect no forgiveness in this raw military shooter, least of all in the multiplayer. The pacing is slower, and absolutely places a premium on getting to and holding a safe position rather than trundling off in search of action. From there, if you have solid cover and an open firing view, keep yourself aimed and wait for the lazy or impatient to wander across your path.

Multiple kills are how you unlock the Tactical Support Actions of Medal of Honor multiplayer. Similar to the killstreak rewards of, ahem, Modern Warfare 2. Tactical Support Actions vary in that they also offer defensive bonuses to you and your teammates, as opposed to a solely offensive perk that helps you rack up kills in an upward spiral. TSAs - may I call them TSAs? - are known to me only theoretically. My best combat performance was something like a 4 to 11 K/D ratio with two of those coming as an insurgent when a couple hapless allied troops wandered across my open doorway.

That's right, I am no Robocop, least of all in a military shooter, least of all in one tuned to deliver combat as unforgiving as this. I have never served and never seen war. I get the feeling that, untrained, I'd do about as well in it as I would in this game, absent the benefit of respawns (which are, gratefully, plentiful in the video game.) Enemy rounds arrive faster, more unexpectedly and with real-world force - I took a stupefying number of two-shot kills. There was no kill cam in either the hands-on (which I only observed), or the beta (which I am now playing). A kill cam simply has to be in the works, otherwise you're left to repeatedly suffer the bewildering death of millions that have gone before, caught up in a war you can't understand.

Medal of Honor multiplayer supports 12 vs 12 battles, and the larger purpose of this mode is to progress through three different ranks - rifleman, special ops and sniper, both coalition and insurgents - unlocking weapon and physical customisations that advertise how badass you are. When you make Tier 1 operator, for example, you get a beard like the "Cowboy" in the game's cover art, but I could grow, shave and regrow that kind of steel wool in real life three times before getting it in the game.

I played largely on the Kabul Ruins map, and while I built enough of a familiarity with it on both sides, the spawn points tend to favour insurgent forces, as well they probably should. There are two modes on the beta, team assault (kill the most, start over as the other side after the round) and mission. Lacking teammates fully enabled with headsets, or any cooperative instinct, mission just devolves to a deathmatch, which is probably why it has half the number of assault playing at any given time.

Where Medal of Honor really announces itself as serious business is in what it chooses to show you and what it allows you to see. Shouts from insurgent fighters ring out through the Kabul ruins, mixed with the swearing and observations of unseen teammates. There's a lot of blowing trash, which provides its own distraction as you sit in the corner of a bombed out rooftop, waiting for someone to break the boredom and make a wrong move. Your radar's only assistance is to give you an awareness of your surroundings and the sense of someone, friend or foe, nearby. It won't differentiate the two for you. Visually, Insurgents and Coalition forces look enough alike at a distance to give that moment's hesitation that can mean the difference between life, death, and a friendly-fire kill. Did I mention IEDs? The insurgents' kit-bashed landmines are also littered about the map.

This is no arcade game. In the multiplayer, at least, DICE has definitely tuned the experience for realism and grit over fast-paced, belt-notching kills and multiplayer variables that break the third wall. If you're looking to Medal of honour for its multiplayer, know that is what you're getting yourself into - a tough grind that presents either a hard learning curve or a high barrier to entry, I'm not sure which just yet.


Comments

    I scored a beta access key a week ago, but the code always comes up as invalid. But, seeing as multiplayer based FPS games aren’t my thing, I probably wouldn’t have played it much anyway.

    Every single screen, video and piece of news I’ve seen on this just reinforces the fact that this is a no holds barred MW clone.

    Its still asking me for a pre order code. I thought that was on the 17th for early access. Shouldn't everyone be able to access it now?

    I'm also completely torn over what version to get:

    360:

    For: Achievements, easier friend connectivity, strong online.

    PS3:

    For: includes MOH Frontline HD, extra content.

    PC:

    For: Controls, upgradable graphics, strong online.

    "From there, if you have solid cover and an open firing view, keep yourself aimed and wait for the lazy or impatient to wander across your path"

    So... it's a camp-fest?

      yeah, that is what that comment sounded like to me which would make me very uninterested.

    I would disagree with campfest, if you camp you will get flanked. the maps are new people will learn how to get to you.

    I agree kill cam would be nice.

    The game its closest to is Cod4 NOT MW2. There are no super overpowered retarded perks or nuclear freakn killstreaks.

    I like it, its going to be a fun short in and out gameplay distraction when I'm in the need to burn a few mins in a game.

    !SOLD!

    in all honesty this game feels like a mod for bc2 that should come free I'v already cancelled my preorder and i cant say im missing it

    Really looking forward to the beards.
    I have mentioned this already but its worth sharing.

    You are limited to Bumfluff until rank 7 when you unlock a pornstar stache and then progress from there to the beegees beard and eventually the coveted zztop beard signifying you as a Tier 1 operator.

    You can also unlock the blackbeard with the limited edition DLC which has lit fuses attached!
    The grooming minigame in the loadout screen is top notch.
    This is shaping up to the premium Combat Beard Simulator for 2010.

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