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The Medal of Honor franchise returns after a massive slump of lackluster titles failed to maintain the interest of the series’ original glory, and this time it looks like it means business. Like an old war veteran, the Medal of Honor series can go on and on about the glory days, but we all know that none of that matters as much as your last credit roll.

Due to Medal of Honor using two completely separate engines for the campaign and multiplayer, I have separated the two and even split the scores into two to help you make your decision.

It’s a 2-for-1 special review, what a bargain! Hit the jump to see it all.

I’m going to kick-start this review by pointing out a few very obvious issues that Medal of Honor has. One issue is called Modern Warfare 2, the other is called Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and to make things even more peachy, there is a near-future issue called Call of Duty: Black Ops.

There, it’s all out in the open. No clever tactics to steer my review around the straight out fact that before the game’s first developer meeting had even had its coffee served, the entire team knew what they were going up against, and it’ was always going to be a tough fight.

Medal of Honor is split into two very distinct parts, single player and multiplayer. While you may think that this is the standard in this day and age, I would say that they are two completely different games. The single player campaign and multiplayer modes were created by two different developers, using different graphics engines and even different gameplay mechanics.

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Single Player campaign

The single player puts you in the shoes of a couple of different soldiers in the current day Middle East situation and has you shifting between them over the course of the game. While you may think that you have seen that sort of thing before in other games, Medal of Honor allows the gameplay to smoothly flow into the next bits of story as units or squads interact with each other, or are the reason that the next squad could continue.

As an example, you may be on the ground with a bunch of marines, only to have your butts saved by a special forces team, and will then continue on with them and so on. I found it to be a great way to continue on the path of the campaign, not to mention that it allowed for good variety throughout the campaign.

Truth be told, I really enjoyed the single player campaign a lot. Variety was great and included night time stealth missions, massive battles, chopper gunning, quad bike driving and even some long distance sniping.

The overall pace of Medal of Honor’s campaign is slightly slower usual. It isn’t by any means a combat simulator like A.R.M.A or Operation Flashpoint, but at the same time its a good touch slower than the blockbuster-esque nature of Modern Warfare 2. I found he change of pace to be quite pleasant, as well as have a much more personal feeling with regards to the other members of my in-game units.

Visually the single player campaign ranges from a decent looking shooter, to an absolute stunner depending on the level you are on. The majority of the campaign looks great and runs well but there are certain instances here and there where something special might happen on screen, leaving you gawking.

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On that same note some nice little touches have been implemented, such as massive explosions causing dirt and stones to come raining down from the sky. If you are packing a decent TV and a beefy surround sound system you will really appreciate a huge explosion that lights up the room, only to have dust take over, darkening the whole scene as you hear the pitter-patter of dust clods and small stones landing all around you. Add to that some good voice acting from the cast and you have yourself a great sounding game as well.

The only major downside to the campaign mode was that it ran a little short at only around 5, maybe 6 hours and was riddled with a few glitches and bugs here and there like enemies suddenly appearing out of cover.

Controls in the single player are almost all the way that you would expect them to be from a modern console shooter and everything is pretty much where you expect it to be on the controller as well. Guns in Medal of Honor’s campaign do have a fantastically solid feeling to them though, further enhanced by sound effects and spot-on controller rumble.

There is one addition to the gameplay however, that had me very impressed.

The Medal of Honor series has brought back the ability to lean, but rather than just bring it back, they have improved it greatly. By holding the left bumper and using your thumbstick, you are able to not only lean your view left and right, but can also alter your height all at the same time. This lean system felt like it gave me amazing freedom as a player in an FPS, as I was able to move my body around cover just as I would in real life, peeking over cover slowly, looking out the sides to take some shots or even just keeping my head down while reloading.

Being able to control your height with an analogue stick while simultaneously being able to lean really made a big impact on me, and it’s a system that I am hoping will be adopted and streamlined by just about everyone in future. In its current state you might find your fingers getting tied into knots, but once you get used to it, it really improves the immersive feeling of the game.

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Medal of Honor
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Nick De Bruyne

Video games writer, editor and critic since '08. Living and breathing video games, movies and cars since the 80s. Follow me on Twitter if you love tons of gaming talk, and @pennyworthrevs for fun stuff and links.

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