Medal of Honor E3 Impressions

First off, I’d like to start these E3 Impressions by thanking the team at Electronic Arts for making me feel like a freagin’ king. They flew a group of 40+ gaming journalist in, paid for our taxis, food, and stay at one of the most fancy hotels in Marina Del Rey, The Ritz-Carlton, and did their best to let us know that  ‘hey, we need you guys to help spread the word about the rebirth of Medal of Honor’.  They let us know that the days of World War II are over, the ‘modern warfare’ is here and that it’s time to show everyone else how it is done. Ladies and Gents, Medal of Honor is back; EA LA and DICE are ready to blow your socks off with the newest MOH title and I have all the details you need to know about the series potential return to glory. I’ll do my best to answer all the questions that were sent my way so that you can decide which military shooter you’ll be giving your $60 this fall.

Q: Is it true that the PS3 is the lead version of the game?

A: You heard correctly! It was reported soon after the game was revealed that EA LA was building the singe-player campaign with the PS3 in mind, because as Greg Goodrich, Executive Producer for the new MOH said, if it’s running good on the PS3, then you won’t have to worry about the rest. I’m not sure how the 360 fans felt as they realized the PlayStation 3 ‘TEST’ console in the room just wasn’t for looks, but the fact that it was running the playable game and the fact that it looked good, really damn good. Sure made me happy, seeing as how I was the only PlayStation-only website at the entire event. Greg also mentioned that EA LA has a team of ‘World Class PS3 programmers’ that are working on fitting the game on a Blu-ray perfectly using the SPUs.

Q: So….did you get to play the single-player campaign?

A: Unfortunately, no, we didn’t. Greg Goodrich played two stages for us, one stage as a Ranger and the other as ‘Rabbit’, the Tier 1 Operator. Why is his nickname ‘Rabbit’? If you had 9 kids, I’m sure your friends would be calling you something much more vulgar than rabbit, so don’t be hating! The most intriguing factor of the demoed stages had to be the vast difference between the military groups. As the Ranger, you along with a few of your comrades are ripping and roaring, throwing grenades at anything that moves and having fun in the Afghani Sun as you blow away terrorists. As the Tier 1 Operator though, combat was smooth and precise. Everyone coordinated their attacks at the same time, which resulted in a group of 4 terrorist being taken down at the exact same moment, with a total of 4 bullets used. It was explained to us at Tier 1 Operators plan each and every detail of their mission to the nth degree. If they aren’t going to use something, then it’s not going to be a part of their arsenal. The newest Medal of Honor game is being developed to honor the men and women who’re fighting overseas so that I  have the freedom to type about video games 24/7, not to make it into the next $200 million dollar summer blockbuster. However, while the team is aiming for realism, they want it to be plausible. Some weapons and gear that didn’t become available until long after the war started appear in the game, which has upset some fans of the series, but not to worry. The team wants to make the best game that they can, though it’s fine to bend the rules here and there, right?

Q: What about going prone? Cover and lean? Two staples of the MOH franchise..are they back?

Yes they are, along with a new slide move! Only one problem. NONE of those moves are used in the MP mode, similar to how the cover system was absent from the Killzone 2 multiplayer mode.

Q:  Ok, have my interest, now how about some technical questions — will the game run at the coveted 60FPS?

A: Sorry to burst your bubble, but the team is aiming for a steady 30FPS, which isn’t going to ruin gameplay in any way, though it will help the title to be much more detailed. I realized at one point that draw-distance in the game was staggering as I could see the mountain range as far as my eyes would let me.

Q: I also heard that the game features two engines: EA LA’s for the single-player and DICE’s ‘Frostbite’ engine for the multiplayer. Is this true?

A: Indeed it is! EA LA is working on single player component this side of the world while DICE is working on the equally as important multiplayer component on the other side of Earth. How has this gone so far? Pretty well, from what I can tell. The single-player campaign still uses the Airborne Unreal engine, except it has been rebuilt from the ground up, as has DICE’s Frostbite Engine.  I was able to get plenty of time (close to six hours!) of hands-on with the multiplayer and I can tell you this: There’s a pretty big difference in the look of the single and multiplayer modes. Once again, it doesn’t ruin the gameplay in anyway, but for those of you who like to complain, you’ll have something to complain about. EA explained it this way: EA LA’s experience is best with single-player and everyone knows and love DICE’s Battlefield titles for their multiplayer goodness, so why not let the team work on what they know and love? Plus it helps both teams spend more time focusing on and not having to worry about spending too much time and resources on one mode while the other is half-assed. Two fully devoted teams hopefully means one fantastic FPS this October 12th.

Q: Thomas! Focus!! Quit rambling and tell us about the multiplayer mode!! How is it!?

A; Fine, yeesh. My friends, the multiplayer mode is good! Shocker, right? DICE’s Battlefield multiplayer modes were the most respected military FPS multiplayer battles around until Call of Duty decided to step their game up. If your a fan of the Battlefield series, then you will love MOH’s multiplayer mode as it reminded me of a faster paced Battlefield and is a blast to played. We played two modes: Team deathmatch and ‘combat mission’, which was easily my favorite of the two. Combat mission feature 12  terrorists against 12 US  Forces members. Your goal as a terrorist is to protect your bases and weapons from the Americans, while the American goal is to ultimately destroy your base to win the mission. Although the US Force might have a little bit more of an advantage having a tank, you certainly won’t be screwed over playing as a terrorist. Team deathmatch is your basic deathmatch mode consisting of two teams that you’ve played in any FPS that features a MP mode over the years, so nothing new their.

Q: You’ve got my attention — what about perks? Other modes? DLC!?!

A: MOH will have a level-up system that will award you with a variety of extra skills. Want to have to the ability to give everyone on your team a piece of armor? Select the defensive bonus and boon, extra protection from the enemy. Or perhaps you want to avenge your friends from above? Choose the UAV bonus and unleash your fury from the skies. It’s all up to you really, plus the game awards you with extra EXP. with headshots and even alerts you once you killed someone that murdered you previously. Nothing like ‘revenge kill!’ to put a smile on your face as you knife someone’s ass to death. Btw, as you move up the chain, your goal to becoming a Tier 1 Operator shows more and more as you character begins to grow a bed. My favorite part? There will be DLC beards! YES!! Other modes have yet to be revealed yet, however I’m guessing there will be 2-4 additional modes to help keep the MP fresh and addictive to play. Also, I’m putting money on the fact their will be some kind of separate co-op mode along the lines of the Spec Ops mode in Modern Warfare 2.

Q: Ok, finale request, tell me why I need to check out EA LA and DICE’s reboot of the Medal Of Honor series?

When EA decided to pull the series the from the past into the present, they knew that they had to do it right: They went to the Tier 1 Operators, told them what they were looking to accomplish, their goals, and the their reasons for doing this and they were sold. Actual Tier 1 Operators have helped made this game become one of the most realistic military experiences around. EA LA is absorbing everything they’ve been told to craft the single-player into a military gaming experience like no other. With the games largest cast to date, with over 40 actors and a Hollywood military buff writing the script, EA isn’t kidding around with this reboot. Add-in DICE’s multiplayer mode and you have one hell of a package for $60 that military FPS fans are going to have a heard time to pass up. Also, if you were watching Sony’s E3 Press conference, then you know that the PS3 version of Medal of Honor comes bundled with an updated version of Medal of Honor Frontline HD for absolutely free. So spread the word, the PS3 version IS the definitive version to purchase, just how Dante’s Inferno was and how Dead Space 2 will be. Medal of Honor looks to return the series to its former glory.

Are you ready, soldier? Get ready to enlist as the beta starts soon and the game hits on October 12th.