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Medal of Honor Heroes 2


The first Medal of Honor Heroes title on the PSP was certainly ambitious, but was received by a lukewarm reception in the community. Capturing a first person shooter on the PSP has always been a daunting task without a second analog stick to control aiming. Team Fusion at EA Canada took another shot at adapting the Medal of Honor series to the handheld device and certainly came closer to emulating the PS2 experience.

Similar to the rest of the Medal of Honor series and most EA games for that matter, Heroes 2 is heavy on presentation elements. The narrative sets up the player in the role of an OSS operative working with a squad of troops in the Normandy invasion. The single player campaign is split up into seven stages, each with a variety of secret operative tasks to perform. Most of the tasks include some form of data collection or sabotage, specifically designed to throw a cog in the Nazi machine. Overall, the story elements are faithful to their Medal of Honor roots and prove fairly entertaining for the duration of the campaign.

Gameplay

Linearity strikes me as the main problem with this title. The inane repetition of combating ridiculously brainless AI plus the claustrophobic feel of the level design makes for a monotonous, linear experience. Additionally, the scripted nature of the game doesn't offer an authentic wartime experience. There isn't anything entertaining or imaginative about watching enemies run to the same spot over and over. The developers seemed more focused on throwing a ton of bodies at you rather than making them intelligent.

Similar to other first person shooters, there is something completely off about the controls. While there are a few control schemes to try out, your hands will become cramped within minutes of play regardless of the choice. I actually had to take breaks every few minutes so my thumbs could recover. The main problem is using the buttons to control directional fire. It's incredibly hard to adjust the aiming mechanism during a large scale firefight. While the game allows for slight inaccuracy, gaining a bead on an approaching soldier is ridiculously impossible. In addition, moving while firing accurately requires a third hand. While there are a few choices in control schemes, Electronic Arts didn't get any of them right.

The online component is impressive at first glance, but doesn't execute in the best fashion. You can choose from standard deathmatch, team deathmatch, and capture the flag. The aiming component becomes a major problem in online play and there is no time to get a bead on an opposing player. The six maps are few in number compared to the previous title as well as insanely small, especially when involved in a 32 player match. It's evident that the developers didn't take the time to properly balance online play and it almost seems like an afterthought to the main campaign. There is no online voice support which makes team based matches even more chaotic.

Graphics & Audio

Visually, I found this title to be on par with a PS2 title. The frame rate is silky smooth for the most part and the textures have more detail than the original title. As mentioned earlier the level design feels cramped, but the artistic appeal of the levels certainly paints an authentic wartime appearance. The character models aren't very detailed though and appear very ugly in motion. Also, enemy and friendly characters have some minor clipping problems when next to walls or cover objects.

Paired with a nice set of headphones, the auditory effects are well executed and offer a tremendously accurate depiction of the battlefield. Each mission offers a surprising amount of background battle noise and distant rumblings of ensuing firefights. The voiceovers are as excellent as any of the other MoH games and the musical score is superb as well. Medal of Honor titles always have rousing orchestral music and this title is no exception.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, this overpriced WWII shooter is a bit of a mess and shouldn't garner the attention of any PSP owner until it hits the discount rack. The cramped controls, three hour campaign and an aged online component detract from an otherwise polished experience. As for the overused WWII angle, Electronic Arts needs to move the Medal of Honor series into a new era or just stop the franchise altogether. It's a complete step back from Medal of Honor: Airborne, which incorporated a modicum of new ideas. Leave this title to collect dust on the store shelves as it doesn't bring anything new to the table, but Medal of Honor fanatics may want to consider a rental.