Medal of Honor: Expectations
Medal of Honor? MoH? Wuzzat? Well formerly, one of the most looked forward to games of twenty ten, now though? Well that, my friend, is a very difficult question.
There is no doubt that games and the game industry is changing. Ten years ago gaming was on the tip of becoming a real industry. But compared to theater, literature, and music? Gaming was the new kid on the block, and developers knew it. Now? A multi-billion dollar industry, constantly making new leaps in what games can do. Virtual reality seems impossible now right? Well if you asked people ten years ago if video games would eventually look like this (Below) they would have laughed in your face.
So while Crysis (Picture above from game, PC, 2008) may not yet be the standard for video games across the board, it does show just what is already possible, and gives a tantalizing glimpse at what might be considered “run-of-the-mill” for games in the relatively near future.
Now, graphics do not make a game. Graphics are one of some things that I like to call “Static features.” Static features are features of a game that are a definite level of quality. Graphics, like Crysis, can be spectacular or, like other games, not so spectacular. These, and mechanics of a game (It working the way it is supposed to) are examples of static features. So to make a game stand out, developers usually capitalize on things like unique mechanics, story, or certain special themes. That’s not to say that graphics can’t be used to make a game stand out, notable examples being Crysis and Borderlands, they are generally complements to the game, not the main focus. But now if graphics do not make a game, what does? Well, the two examples I gave are story/theme, and unique gameplay mechanics.
Stories are generally what games are formed around. Stories get you involved in the game, and give you the drive to complete it. Curiosity, loyalty, adventure, difficulty, these are all things that a good story uses to keep the reader, or in this case, the gamer, invested in the story. In games, this usually includes either a new and unique premise, or a tried and true premise. An example of unique being Bioshock, and tried and true being any semi-realistic military theme used to date.
Unique gameplay mechanics really can make a game. Reviewers and gamers at large love a game that does something new and different from the normal. Now this is not necessarily required, polishing an already tried and true gameplay method can certainly work too, but eventually it will indeed grow old, and gamers will be left wanting for more.
The best games utilize all these characteristics and blend them into a game. This has been proven time and time again to be a successful strategy if done right. Unfortunately, “Doing something new” in business speak translates, and this is a rough translation now, to something along the lines of “Taking a risk.” That is something most businessmen will avoid like a plague, so it isn’t as widespread as it should be. Or at least, wasn’t. After more and more successes like Bioshock and Assassin’s Creed however, companies are beginning to loosen up on creative freedom which is already turning out some great games.
What does this have to do with Medal of Honor? Well let us analyze it using these ideas.
What makes it unique? Medal of Honor is a military themed older franchise being resurrected by EA. Military themed. In recent years, the military theme has been done into the ground. It’s not that it is a bad thing, and gamers still love it, but the fact is that it is, well, nothing new. There is a unique part to it’s campaign though- It’s based off of a current* conflict fighting against, and with, current allies and enemies. This had predictably created some controversy, and certainly gave MoH some original flair, but, was it the kind that they wanted, or the kind that they wanted to avoid?
It’s multiplayer system certainly introduces a few new gametypes and modes to play in, but it’s all within a system that gamers are quickly getting tired of. The process of “Team Deathmatch, New Objective, Different Theme to same military Archetype” is getting very tiring very quickly. Slight variations to bullet strength, graphics, and gameply within the current tried and true system just will not cut it anymore.
The review average for Medal of Honor is low, around 7.5 or so, largely because of the reasons stated above. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its good points, but the fact of the matter is that tried and true just will not cut it anymore, as stated in many ways throughout different reviews. To close off, here’s some of those reviews.
See what I’m saying? But…wait…tried and true will not work anymore…see anything wrong with that statement?