Medal of Honor: Frontline
Continuing with the Medal of Honor series, EA has released its latest addition, Medal of Honor: Frontline. Set around the battles of World War II, EA once again delivers an experience that brings the war to your living room. Starting with the battle on the shores of Normandy, you'll quickly find yourself absorbed in the various missions as the Nazi advance is slowly repelled. With a number of different weapons at your disposal and the Allies supporting when they can, it's not long before you find yourself in a critical position to help ensure the victory of this war and change the course of history.
Medal of Honor: Frontline is the first release of the series on a next generation console and as expected, the graphics in particular have received a substantial facelift over its predecessors. Besides the graphics, other areas like sound effects where gunfire and explosions sound realistic are also welcome bonuses as you'll even notice the Nazis speaking in German. Other issues like soldiers reacting accurately to the location of a wound and opposing soldiers showing cunning by timing their attacks or running to an empty machine gun nests also creates a more realistic battle. The only issue that can cause some initial frustration is the controls. Especially when firing at an enemy up close, the crosshairs can be difficult to keep from jerking and can cause repeated misses of the target. Although the problem lessens after the first few missions and you get more comfortable with the controls, it can still cause some frustration from time to time.
Even though the controls carry a learning curve, Medal of Honor: Frontline still excels in a number of other areas and getting accustomed to the controls doesn't take long. In addition, a progressive story line will keep you interested in completing each mission and see the results of your victory. Overall, fans of first person shooters or war games will enjoy this game but since the controls aren't smooth and require some skill to operate, others may not have the patience to master it.
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With the war on terrorism raging on, World War II movies have taken a backseat. But don't worry, Band of Brothers fans. This Medal of Honor sequel is so broad in scope that it gives you everything you could possibly want from a dozen Nazi war films put together: mass destruction, espionage, prison breaks and scores of troops eager to "take one for the team" by jumping on live grenades.
MoH's opening D-Day assault sets the tone of the game perfectly. You'll know what we mean when your screen shakes and you hear the "thump, thump" (over 400 audio files per level) of artillery exploding in every direction. Oh s***. Then there's the crackle of machine-gun fire and the sight of your fellow troops getting thrown into the air like rag dolls. Oh s***, Oh s***! This game manages to pack more wallop in two missions than some games stuff in 20. Scott Langteau, producer at DreamWorks, sums it up perfectly: "We're trying to scare the hell out of you."
And they're really good at it. They tapped military advisors (Capt. Dale Dye from Platoon, Band of Brothers) and the Smithsonian to make sure their Nazis acted and looked authentic, right down to the way their uniforms were buttoned. "We even sent the art director and associate producer to the Netherlands to visit the locations we feature in Frontline," said David Prout, lead artist at Dreamworks. They went to the Netherlands for free...to scout locations? Yeah, sure guys.
Whether or not DreamWorks' management is gullible doesn't matter. The developer's thirst for detail definitely paid off, particularly evidenced when you trade fire on the battlefield. The baddies won't sit and eat your lead. Instead, they'll scramble for cover or turn over a table to make some. A few of the bastards are so dodgy that you'd swear it's easier to get a clear shot at a groundhog on a foggy golf course. (That's your signal to use a bazooka.)
Not every moment will grind your teeth. A handful of covert-ops offer a breather by turning you into a working-man's James Bond. (Sorry, no Martinis here.) Your numerous chores include disabling trucks and clearing road blocks, in addition to finding secret files. Hell, we wouldn't have been surprised to see "scrub a swastika off a toilet" after gawking at the to-do lists.
Our favorite assignment of the bunch was using a fake ID to sneak around a German compound Castle Wolfenstein-slyle. (Oh, the Apple II memories!) Come to think of it, forget all the cool stuff we just talked about. Any game that rekindles our fond memories of that breakthrough Nazi-buster is enough to get us excited.
You probably won't find anyone named Jimmy Patterson in this day and age, but that's what they call your hero in the sequel to EA's World War II blast-fest. Seems the lieutenant has to complete five missions (with three levels each) in order to find a HO. Don't get too excited--we're talking about the HO-IX, the experimental German equivalent of the Stealth Bomber. At least you don't have to go at it alone. Seems good 'ol Jimmy can radio orders to a squad of his drinking buddies while he fights on notable fronts such as Omaha beach and Nijimen Bridge. The Nazi killin' begins this summer, so cut that vacation to Cozumel a couple days short.