In this article, we look at what we’d like from a new entry into the longstanding series, and how it can break away from the pack of ‘mediocre’ FPSs.
In fact, mediocrity seems to be the selling point for MOH games these days – most of the shooters have received slews of 5s and 6s, with only the original Medal Of Honor and Medal Of Honor: Frontline being crowned The Best FPSs of their time – their time being 1999 and 2002 respectively.
How can the series clean up its act and regain its Honor? (See what I did there? Classic.)
Medal Of Honor 2. ‘But hasn’t there already been a second entry into the series?’, you ask; technically, it’s Medal Of Honor 12, but since no previous game has held the ’2′ title, and subtitles like ‘Rising Sun’ and ‘Pacific Assult’ are likely to be scoffed at, the ’2′ signifies the evolution of the series.
Every MOH has had you as an American mute single-handily sabotaging the fleet of U-Boats (There’s ALWAYS a U-boat mission) and giving Mr. Hitler a black eye. And that needs to change.
So, same basic shooting?
Mostly. Ever since MOH dropped the slightly unwieldy ‘Free Aim’ in favour of a proper ironsights aim mode, the fighting has been punchy, fun and aggressive. To fit in with the new style, this would be tweaked, so to be slightly more realistic – breathing would be modelled, and being shot/sprinting for long periods would increase the sway of the weapon.
One cool thing would be an ‘at ease’ feature. When not shooting or in combat, the gun is lowered. This means the player can really get immersed without a great big hunk of metal in the way. To fit in with the slightly slower page, there would also be a first-person cover system, similar to Killzone 2 or Red Orchestra 2.
What about a visual identity?
Games are distinguishing themselves more and more with an identity – a colour palette, for example. In this case, the colour would change depending on the mission – grey would be the dominating colour of the D-Day landing, while red would fill the skies in Stalingrad. ‘Blood screens’, i.e the effect on the screen when hurt, would also change.
No more pounding red edges – the gun would shake violently in your hand as you look down and see the blood on you clothing, the screen focusing on random points, making it hard to aim or see properly. Box Art? Man shouting as the world around him blows up. Obviously.
Right. So, who do I play as?
While games still cast you as a very important role in the story, the majority are moving away from you being the hero of the Universe, instead toning it down to a member of heroes, or similar. MOH2 will have to follow the Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising school of thought; you are simply a cog in a giant war machine – a welcome but unnecessary statistic.
Oh, ok. But doesn’t that mean all the missions will be really dull and mundane?
Oh no. And here will be MOH2′s selling point – it will be massive. How big is the average Call Of Duty 4 Multiplayer map? 300×300 feet? That’s enough to support 16 players, and hey – the last time we landed on Omaha, it seems like there were only 16 Allied troops there. But that was in PS2-land. With the shiny new PS3, the Xbox getting ever more crisp and some GPUs so powerful Chunk Norris has to hit them twice to break them, we can really ramp up the belief.
Omaha is 5 miles long. I’m not saying all 5 miles of beachhead should be included, but at least 2 miles. To fill those miles? Around 1,000 AI friendlies. They can be a dumb as they like, but it’s gotta be big for the opening level. So you land on your little boat at the beach. Imagine – look round to see hundreds of brothers-in-arms being mowed down, and screams and gunfire fill the air, dirt kicks up in your eyes, battleships pounding away in the distance, the bunkers alight with the flames of German MGs.
From there, it’s a miniature sandbox. You are given an objective – advance to the shingle, for example – and you can do anything you like to get there. Try snipe the MG who’s getting too close you you, or head half a mile down the beach to a spot where it’s less manic. You have the freedom to complete objectives however you like (within reason).
Wow, cool opening! But then it drops into the usual U-boat missions, right?
Nope. Since hopping from character to character is all the rage these days, you now drop into Netherlands on Operation Market Garden. Why? Because it’s going to be one hell of a spectacle. Keep the same massive open area, but instead but it in pitch-black darkness, and shove a hundred or so AA guns in.
Much like in MOH:Airborne, you have to jump from your plane into the fields and forests, before landing where-ever you want. Again, you’re given an objective (Incapacitate an AA gun), and you can approach it from any angle you like, including picking up fellow soldiers who’ve lost their way, forming an untidy crack squad. Each mission would take place at a notable even in World War II, like Stalingrad or Berlin, and each one would be EPIC.
Sweet! So, it’d just be run and gun through Nazi lines?
Many complain that COD-style bullet-soaking is getting too easy, and FPSs need more realism and bite. So, remove all unnecessary HUD, and make it a health-bar affair. 3 hits? You’re down, only to respawn as another member of the advance.
While we’ll have to wait for MAG to see if games really can support 256 online, lag-free, we’re not talking about the vanilla deathmatch here. Instead, you can play all the scenarios in single-player online, with around 100v100 PVP, and AI filling in the slots.
Then, it plays out just like the single-player – each team gets an objective, and they have to complete that, no respawning. It would keep the same immersing, adrenaline-pumping experience as the offline, but hopefully controlled and hardcore enough to put off 5 year olds and there squeaky voices.
Awesome! When is it out?
Who knows. EA haven’t released any info on a new game for the series, bur considering 2007′s Airborne was a commercial success, and rival COD has ‘gone Modern Warfare’, the WWII scene is left right open.
Got any improvements, or ideas of your own? Post ‘em in the comments section.
[Ed Note: EA have announced a Medal of Honor is in development. John Riccitello, CEO of EA, confirmed the news in their Q2 financial call in August - Jonathan]