Medal of Honor Frontline
By: Rory on June 5, 2002
Medal of Honor on the original PlayStation is regarded by many as possibly the best first person shooter of all time. Therefore, the sequels have been majorly anticipated by fans. Medal of Honor: Frontline, which has been in development for years, may be considered one of the most previously anticipated games on PlayStation 2. PC fans of the series has had their Frontline-ish action in Allied Assault, Frontline's PC counterpart which is almost identical to Frontline. This new version was recently released to hordes of eagerly awaiting fans this May 30th. When I picked this up, I had experienced the demo and was very excited to see if they had fixed the errors in the demo. Simple answer, they had, and I fell in love with the game.
The story is basically simple, but the individual stuff can be minorly confusing yet still not too involved. The basis of the story is around Lt. Jimmy Patterson, the star of the original Medal of Honor, who has just been assigned to Omaha Beach in the invasion of Normandy. You begin by storming the beaches and basically playing out Saving Private Ryan. The rest of the game involves espionage, sabotage, and some full on attacking. The basis of the rest of the story is you are sent in to try to put a kink in the Nazi War Machine which is what stands between Allied victory and defeat. Either way, while the story is not too terribly involved, it gets the job done.
The gameplay is awesome despite the lack of keyboard/mouse compatibility. Frontline's controls are very easy to learn and anyone familiar with FPS controls on consoles will instantly recognize this setup. The movements are very fluid and allow for some amazing action not seen in other first person shooters. The action is constantly intense and with the amazing graphics, you can even manage to create more mayhem by alerting guards. Firing the guns is awesome and the AI is also a big improvement over the demo version or a lot of other games out there. If you can see them, they can see you, this means no sniping without being sniped at, and that you cannot run behind a crate and expect them not to follow you when you come out the other side. They will also try to make you retreat as far as possible by chasing you back once you begin to retreat. They also react differently when they are shot in different places. For example, if they are shot in the leg their leg will fly back and they will trip but just get down on one knee and shoot at you. If you shoot them in the head, depending on where you shoot, the helmet might fly off and the guy might live or die depending on if the game thinks the shot pierced the helmet.
The levels are probably one of my favorite parts and biggest problems with the game. It is one of my favorite parts because they are immensely huge with no load times while wandering through the miles of enemy territory. Also the levels are well designed with plenty to hold you over and "secrets" which you will find fun to play over and over again. My biggest problem with these is that they are too big. They are huge and are filled with enemies and they can take a very long time to get through with no save points except at the end of the mission which means you have to play the whole thing or none at all. Also this means, once you get almost to the end, if you die you start completely from the beginning of the mission despite the fact you have just spent one and a half hours getting there.
The array of weapons is fair, and complete, but World War II weapons just aren't as impressive as today's guns. However, firing the guns and the overall feel of the guns is authentic. For the machine guns, the kickback forces you to begin shooting higher so you have to constantly keep level. Also the reloading takes just as long as it did in WWII days, which can be a pain as you only get 7 shots off before you need to reload. This means no "shoot everything you see" or you will find yourself out of bullets and time with the Nazis firing at you from all sides. The grenades can be fun to use and are, in my opinion, very useful to dispatch foes you cannot see. For example, a guy is shooting at you from a roof while you are on a roof below theirs, so you walk up to the edge where they cannot see you and just chuck a few over in their direction -- usually they will kick it back at you so be careful and time it right.
The sound in this game is quite possibly the best in any PlayStation 2 game. While the actual soundtrack is not highly impressive, the sounds of the guns firing is as authentic as ever heard in any game and the voice overs for orders and other various things are well done. When you first hear the explosions from mortars or the firing of a machine gun you will think you are actually at war and this game will absorb you.
Overall, Medal of Honor: Frontline is my new favorite first person shooter, but to be honest, it has a few small faults and no quick save which is why it doesn't deserve a perfect score. However, if you give Frontline a chance, I GUARANTEE, if you begin to like it at all, soon you will fall in love with it and need it to live the rest of your life.
Overall Score: 9.1 out of 10
Want a second opinion? Click here to read Matt's review of MOH: Frontline.
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