Gamescom 2010: Medal of Honor Hands-On ImpressionsBy Jake Gaskill - Posted Aug 26, 2010
What We Know:
Danger Close Games, formerly known as EA LA, are bringing their long running war shooter into the modern age with the upcoming reboot of sorts Medal of Honor. Shifting away from World War II and into present day Afghanistan, MOH looks to bring all of the authenticity and intensity the series is known for while at the same time making sure the game feels modern and fresh.
What We’re Seeing Now:
The one playable level on display at Gamescom was entitled “Gunfighters,” and it put players in the cockpit of a Hellfire missiles-packing Apache helicopter pursuing various enemy forces scattered around sprawling portions of mountainous terrain. There are two distinct philosophies at work in MOH, and they both adhere to real world military strategies; they are referred to as sledgehammer and scalpel.
The Tier 1 Operators who inspired MOH’s story employ these tactics in the field, and they are essentially different ways of saying full frontal assaults and stealth/tactical strikes. This particular helicopter mission was definitely in the sledgehammer realm, but it also included precision aiming sections that could qualify as scalpel-like. These two styles of gameplay will weave together throughout MOH so as to keep the action varied and fresh.
“Gunfighters” began with our squad identifying and targeting a group of mortar squads who had set up just outside some mountain caves. Once the enemies had been confirmed, I was then able to lock onto the mortar teams and deploy the guided Hellfire missiles. Needless to say, when those puppies hit, they hit hard, sending bodies and debris in all directions.
Spotting several trucks leaving the area, my pilot took off in pursuit, following the vehicles to a typical looking sun-baked middle eastern village that just so happened to be inhabited by RPG-toting forces. Since I wasn’t controlling the helicopter at all, I was free to concentrate my copious amounts of artillery fire on the scrambling enemies below. Which actually ended up being a very good thing, as swarms of baddies kept pouring out of buildings or rolling up in vehicles to lend support to their blown up buddies.
Once the final building had been leveled and all local forces neutralized, we traveled onward to eliminate several more batches of enemies entrenched in the surrounding mountain ranges. One of the most striking elements of these portions of downtime between skirmishes was the chatter between the pilots. This is hardly surprising considering the developers spent a day with an actual Apache strike force who actually helped write most of the dialogue for the mission.
There wasn’t much to the combat during this section, since it primarily came down to just firing as many rockets and machine gun rounds as possible at the little specs of humanity scurrying around down below. However, there were enough details in the environment, camera effects, and voice work to keep it compelling and intense throughout. It isn’t clear how many flying missions there will be in the full game, but I’d hope they would be limited to just one or two since I could see them overstaying their welcome rather easily. Plus, they aren’t the most effective way to get across the more intimate kinds of brutality the developers are hoping to capture in the on-foot portions of the game.
I guess we’ll find out exactly how Danger Close struck the combat balance when the game ships on October 12 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.