As if symptomatic of Medal of Honor’s lack of imagination, turret sequences play a big role in the game too – and by ‘big’ we mean that they are shipped in by the boat load. At first they are a roughly tolerable mechanic and take a range of forms, from some genuinely fun sniping missions through to some utterly predictable tank-busting scenes where you get to call in what feels like the entire US Air Force.
Unfortunately, Medal of Honor doesn’t know when to quit, quickly recycling these ideas through into a regular rhythm that quickly starts to grate more than sandpaper underpants. When you’re not firing from a truck-mounted machine gun then you’re calling in airstrikes, holding off endless waves of enemies from a fixed position or wearily suffering through an on-rails helicopter gunning run. The turrets are all cunningly disguised, but they’re still just turrets.
Worst of all, these on-rails sections suffer from a lack of detail that’s almost unforgivable considering that they are, well, on rails. One early mission sees you shooting from a moving truck and, as enemy vehicles speed alongside you, it’s impossible to ignore that only specific enemies in the back of the car will respond to your shots. It’s impossible to shoot the wheels off, kill the driver or even break the windshield.
Yes, please, shoot us now
The same is true of the much-previewed helicopter mission too, where your missiles will only destroy buildings that enemies are standing on – a suspiciously easy way of avoiding the topic of collateral damage.
In the sections of Medal of Honor where free reign to run around is granted things still don’t get particularly exciting. Movement speed feels a touch too slow for comfort and, playing on PC, we couldn’t help but feel that the inputs were a little stiff and uncomfortable. Level design feels uninspired, with most environments being little more than long tunnels punctuated with scripted firefights.
Since Medal of Honor will inevitably draw comparisons to the likes of Bad Company 2 and Modern Warfare 2, it’s worth mentioning that the slower pace is a factor too, not merely the linearity. Call of Duty’s levels may have been restrictive too, but the action of that game was frenetic and fast enough to keep players engaged and interested as they moved through at least. Medal of Honor can make no such claim, as levels rarely feel like anything more than a shooting gallery - all you do is follow other characters, doing as you're told and hitting 'H' to make the HUD pop up if you ever get left behind and need a hint. There's nothing that gives a real sense of leading the action, merely being pulled along behind it.
Medal of Honor's single and multiplayer portions use different engines
To be honest though, Medal of Honor might actually make more sense if it were a full on, on rails shooting gallery. In that context then the endless turret sequences and fact you always have a pistol with infinite ammo (and near perfect aim at long range) start to make a lot more sense than they do in a supposedly realistic first person shooter.
Because, honestly, an infinite ammo pistol? In a game where you can already carry hundreds of bullets and can request more ammo from your allies with the press of a button? Sigh.
As if that weren’t enough, our time with Medal of Honor was marred by glitches too – allies who wouldn’t open doors unless we restored to previous checkpoints, enemies who visibly spawned into levels. This lack of polish starts to leave a bitter taste when you realise that even heavily scripted areas of the game haven’t been completed rid of bugs.