Battlefield of Duty (Part II)

So maybe I'm knit-picking. I've been accused of worse. To be fair, for a game that's designed to be a shot at a successful franchise, it's only fair to judge it against it's inspiration.

The single player game was the focus of the last review of the new Medal of Honor game, but now lets get into the real reason you probably think about picking it up - Multiplayer!

First off theres something you should know if you're buying it used.

EA setup access codes in all the new games that allow you to play online. It an overt shot at used game sales. If you don't have the code, you only get the single player offering. For this game, the main story is ok, and I can't say you're missing an awesome experience online, but if you're gonna have to pay for it either way, get it bundled i.e BUY IT NEW.

The MoH multiplayer is a fast trigger happy shooter with small very small boards that force you to keep running into the same people. It honestly feels as if Dice spent alot of their time studying CoD4 multiplayer maps as opposed to MW2 maps, and as a result you have alot of linear layout without distance. There is the occasional city/village map with some circular setup, but nothing to right home about. A very wierd thing happens here though, as this game not using the same shooting system as the single player (no peak/lean or prone in multi). It creates a disjointed experience if you go between the two and it really makes me wonder how much they talked, as I'd rather have the multi engine in Single, with some of the single features listed above. I mean it's not like CoD doesn't do that, right?

The most surprising part though, is that DICE failed to innovate or even accurately replicate a solid experience. When I initially tried to get on, the servers kept saying 9500 people online. Unable to find a game. I would assume my connection was wierd, but when my connection acts wierd my X360 tends to drop my out of Live. No Live, no internet, Live, but no EA servers = game problem. This is something I run into alot of EA games for some reason, but not everywhere. The really bad part though is that there are framerate issues in multiplayer, and some generally glitchy things that happen that make it confusing. I'm not the only one whe's been on the OPFOR team and seen someone run by looking like they are on OPFOR and being a Ranger. The game gets confused some times and will display enemies dressed as friendlies and vice versa.

There's an argument that DICE wouldn't bring the best game because they wouldn't want to take people away from their baby with Battlefield, but that's not reall a good point since video game sales don't work in a a non-expanding market. If the sale of one game actually meant the loss of sale to another, or that the money was taken back from a company to give to another, then that would be an argument, but EA owns both IP, and a sale of MoH doesn't hurt either.

Plus it would have been in DICE's best interest to start putting their stamp on multiplayer. One of the most innovative things I've actually seen in multiplayer is the ability to spot opposing teams. This allows you to mark them visually for others on your team without having to say something and it makes enemies trying to sneak up on you stand out to friendlies. This is a little known Battlefield tool, that BF doesn't really promote, but MoH doesn't even have. DICE missed a chance there, and MoH suffered from it. I'm sure CoD is paying attention though.

It's also surprising DICE didn't use it, because by my account MoH is a game made for campers. There is no kill cam, so the only way you know where the person who killed you is, the general direction of the hits, provided they didn't move or tracing bullets. It makes the game frustrating, and can lead to some big blowouts as a great camping spot will be a game changer, expecially considering how the perks work. Now, some would argue there is no killcam in real life, and besides the obvious flaw in that argument, the truth is, I'd be fine with a game mode with no kill cams and only 1 life. It's a successful mode in PC shooters that could be ready for console with a game like this.

Your combat abilities are based off your scorechain which is basically how many points you can get before you die. The upside is you'll probably die alot in some stages, so don't always expect to see them. The bad part is using a perk adds to a scorechain, so it's possible that once you see one, others are right there. The points required aren't that widespread so just using a perk almost gets you the next one, and it's just a few kills away. Again this is a system designed after the killstreak from CoD, but unlike the killstreak, you can deploy either defensive or offensive actions. The first are things like ammo damage upgrades, defensive vests and UAV support that your whole team shares, while the second is the expected missile strikes etc. From my experience it seems alot of the offensive actions are bombardment related and not hovering aircraft. The nice part is, if you don't use the action, you don't lose the action even if you die.

There's also one important difference that MoH added. There is a class set, similar to Battlefield, and you only level up in that class by getting points while using that class. There are a total of 15 levels for any class, and there are only 3 classes: Rifleman, Spec Ops and Sniper. Personally Spec Ops and Rifleman almost play the same, but sniper is the breakout. As a sniper you can either use a long lensed scoped weapon, or a closer targeting battle rifle. Considering how much of the level design was intended for camping, expect to see alot of snipers. Though if you try, it's also fairly easy to snipe as spec ops as well. You get points for kills or scorechain, and that's a 1-1 ratio for your level, so it's totally possible to level quickly if you can kill or support alot. basically find a wall to put your back to, and a hole to peak through and hope you don't get shot before you get a scorechain item.

Pros: Fast shooter, with more polish that DICE's other game. Nice shooting and gun feel, as well as weapons sound awesome.

Cons: Trying to hard to be CoD without the good. Small levels with bad respawn control that can keep dropping you into death/respawn if the campers are in the right place. Campers with no killcam to even hunt them out. No real diversity between the classes. No innovation, just imitation. Different control options than the main game.

Overall, I can't say MoH created a great multiplayer experience. The game resorts to giving you badges for playing the multiplayer modes for 2 hours, and that's never a good sign of expecting you to stay around. There's some fun here, but it's the type of fun you get from a new Map pack of CoD. The multi looks so much like CoD it's hard to find where it tries to stand out, and the places that it could have been innovative are overlooked for imitation. There is some good here, as the multiplayer games are more than just deathmatch, but we learned a long time ago why we need killcams and you can't go ignoring that now. Multiplayer rounds out that package if you buy the game new, and it brings the worth to IMO the $50 mark, but if you're renting or a used game only player, then I can't say I can recommend the access pass pricing to try it out. Put in a game of MW2 and try to imagine you're playing MW2.

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