Medal of Honor is the 13th installment in the Medal of Honor series, developed by Danger Close Games and EA Digital Illusions CE (DICE), released on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on October 9, 2010. The game is a reboot of the series, set in modern-day Afghanistan. Medal of Honor's single-player campaign uses a heavily modified version of Unreal Engine 3, and its multiplayer uses the Frostbite engine. The game uses dedicated servers.
The 2010 Medal of Honor differs from the previous Medal of Honor installments. The game breaks away from the World War II setting of previous games in the series and is instead set in then War in Afghanistan. The emphasis is on realism, with EA going as far as to bring in real Tier 1 Operators from the United States military as consultants. It includes the kinds of objectives and tasks issued in real life such as raiding terrorist hideouts, hostage rescues and undercover operations. The game introduces new weapons and technology to the Medal Of Honor franchise, including the M4A1 carbine, M16A4 assault rifle, the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System, AN/PEQ side rail-mounted laser pointer, the MP7A1 Submachine gun, and the AT4. The single player includes some usable vehicles such as helicopters, jeeps and a quad bike.
A player can be positioned in one of three stances: standing, crouching, or prone; each affecting the character's rate of movement, accuracy, and stealth. Using cover helps the player avoid enemy fire or recover health after taking significant damage, as there are no armor or health power ups. The player can also slide along cover. When the player has taken damage, the edges of the screen glow red. If the player stays out of fire, the player can recover. If the player get a headshot an icon will appear to the screen. When the character is within the blast radius of a live grenade, a marker indicates the direction of the grenade, helping the player to flee from the frag grenade.
The game features a single-player campaign, in which the player will control multiple characters from both the "Tier 1" and "Big Military" perspectives. The storyline follows several Tier 1 Operators working under the National Command Authority in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. The players assume the role of a DEVGRU operator code-named "Rabbit", Delta Force sniper code-named "Deuce", Ranger Dante Adams and Apache helicopter gunner Brad Hawkins.
The story may be based on events that occurred during Operation Anaconda that took place in March 2002, six months after 9/11, specifically the seizing of Bagram Airfield, the Battle of Shah-i-Kot, and Battle of Takur Ghar.
The game begins during the immediate aftermath of the September 11th, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon. During the opening days of the invasion of Afghanistan, a squad of United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU), callsign Neptune, composed of operators Mother, Voodoo, Preacher, and Rabbit, the player character, are sent to meet with an Afghan informant codename Tariq, who has intelligence that the CIA is interested in retrieving.
Despite assurances by forces loyal to Tariq that the village is clear, it is actually a set-up, as the squad is attacked by Chechen gunmen. After barely managing to escape the ambush, Rabbit and Voodoo fight through the village and regroup with their team. Eventually, the four shooters find Tariq and kill his captors. Tariq informs them that the Taliban have a significant force composed of five hundred to one thousand combatants in the Shah-i-Kot Valley, many more than US intelligence initially believed.
Shortly after their meeting with Tariq, AFO Neptune is tasked to secure Bagram Airfield with a contingent of Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers. After defeating the Taliban forces stationed there and fending off the counter-attack, the airfield is quickly re-purposed as a FOB by NATO forces. US Army Colonel Drucker commands all local assets, is shown as a cautious, competent officer, in contrast to his commanding officer, General Flagg, who works in an office in the United States and is impatient and ignorant of the AFO teams' role in the operation. While Drucker plans to use Tier 1 operators to recon insurgent positions in the valley and ANA soldiers to eliminate them, Flagg is mistrusting of the locals and gives the Colonel a 24-hour deadline to send in the 10th Mountain Division, the 101st Airborne Division, and US Army Rangers.
The player takes over as Deuce, a Delta operator in a four-man team with the callsign Wolfpack. They are tasked with scouting and weakening enemy positions while traveling on ATVs. After completing their mission ahead of schedule, the Colonel sends ANA soldiers to eliminate several insurgent positions. Flagg calls in a rage, and orders an AC-130 crew to open fire on an unidentified convoy approaching Wolfpack's position. After engaging the column, it is revealed that they were actually friendly ANA and US forces. The surviving vehicles withdraw leaving the Colonel no choice but to send in the Rangers as ordered.
The player then takes control of Army Ranger Specialist Dante Adams as the force is sent into the Shah-i-Kot valley. After being inserted, they come under heavy fire and one of their Chinooks is shot down. The Rangers press through the valley and destroy several insurgent Triple A threats before being ambushed and pinned down by a heavy force. With no cover or ammunition, Tech Sgt. Ybarra radios Bagram and tells them the number of insurgents remaining and that the Ranger squad will not survive.
Just as their position is about to be overrun, a pair of Apache gunships kill the remaining insurgents and the Rangers are extracted. The Apaches destroy several Taliban-held villages before RTB'ing. A Taliban ZU-23-2 Anti-Aircraft Gun pivots to destroy the crippled helicopters, however, the operator is killed by an M82 fired by Deuce.
The next few missions involve AFOs Wolfpack and Neptune weakening enemy forces throughout the Valley. Eventually, Neptune is outmatched and calls for extraction. Mother and Rabbit make it to the helicopter, but the Chinook has to lift off due to heavy enemy fire, leaving Voodoo and Preacher behind. Rabbit uses the M240 on the Chinook to provide cover for the two SEALs, but the Chinook is hit by an RPG and forced to pull out. Despite orders to return to base, Mother and Rabbit order the pilot to return them to the mountain. The moment Mother jumps out, the Chinook comes under heavy machine gun and RPG fire, causing it to spin out of control. Rabbit manages to jump out moments before the crash, but he injures his leg and loses his weapon in the fall. Rabbit fights his way back to Mother, and the investigate a system of caves in an attempt to locate Voodoo and Preacher. However, the two operators are eventually ambushed and are forced to jump off a cliff in an attempt to escape. Both are badly injured in the fall and are taken prisoner by al-Qaeda.
Back at Bagram, Colonel Drucker is attempting to organize forces to extract Neptune. Wolfpack is stuck on a mountain several miles away and is unable to assist. General Flagg refuses to commit forces, as Mother and Rabbit went back in despite orders to the contrary. The best the General can offer is Predator and AC-130 support, even though daybreak is only 10 minutes away and it is SOP to only fly nighttime missions. one of Drucker's subordinates cuts the General off and sends in a Ranger chalk in a single Chinook to extract Neptune.
However, the insertion is a disaster; the Chinook is hit by RPG and machine gun fire, three Rangers and a door gunner are killed, and the remainder, save four, are rendered combat ineffective by injury. After securing the crash site for the wounded and medics, Corporal Hernandez, Ybarra, Adams, and platoon leader Sergeant Patterson head for the mountain pass. Hernandez is wounded and the Sergeant orders Ybarra to get him back to the LZ for medical attention. Adams and Patterson manage to link up with Voodoo and Preacher from AFO Neptune and the four continue the search for Mother and Rabbit.
After defeating a large enemy force, they locate the two. Both are injured; Rabbit gravely due to gunshot wounds sustained from the firefight with Al-Qaeda forces before leaping off the cliff. The six of them call for extraction, however the nearest helicopters are flying from Kandahar, many miles away. Rabbit's condition worsens, and his squadmates take turns comforting him and telling him he will make it. However, moments before the extraction helicopter arrives, Rabbit succumbs to his wounds. The seven survivors are safely extracted, with Mother noting, "This isn't how this ends," with Preacher responding, "No. It isn't."
The game ends with a scene of Preacher and another man speaking Pashto, presumably an undercover Tier 1 operator, sitting in the street of a Pakistani town. As they converse about the quality of the tea in Jacobabad, Pakistan, they identify a man they are looking out for and stand to approach him.
A slightly different version of the campaign, but with much more difficult standards, this mini-mode featured in the campaign slot of Medal of Honor acts as a bonus for the player, and for hardcore players. There are new sets of rules and expectations to pass each level. Each with its own set "Par Time".
Tier 1 Mode is unlocked after fully completing the campaign on any difficulty.
Developer Gordon Van Dyke mentioned that people "shouldn't expect a clone of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 for Medal of Honor's multiplayer" in a GameSpy interview. Electronic Arts confirmed that if the player pre-ordered Medal of Honor they would get a beta code for the multiplayer beta for PS3 and PC on June 21, 2010 or for Battlefield: Bad Company 2 VIPs, June 17. The delayed Xbox 360 beta was then released a month later. The beta concluded on July 31, 2010 for the PlayStation 3 and PC, while the Xbox 360 beta ended on August 9, 2010.
Medal of Honor's multiplayer was developed by EA Digital Illusions CE. Electronic Arts released multiplayer beta keys for the PS3 and PC on June 21, 2010. The Xbox 360 beta was initially delayed, but eventually opened on July 20, 2010. This featured 3 different weapon classes, two different maps and two different game modes.
Medal of Honor offers the player three classes to choose from. Within these classes, players can customize multiple load outs with various guns. Each class will give the player one separate load out for each gun within the class they chose. From here the player can uniquely customize the sights, silencer, and ammo for each individual load out. These load outs can be altered before and during gameplay. The player can switch to any class during play.
The Limited Edition was announced as a worldwide bonus package, available to purchase at no extra cost from the main game. Those who bought the Limited Edition were given access to a special closed beta for Battlefield 3, although this was later changes to 48 hour early access to the open beta for unknown reasons. Owners were also given the option to download Medal of Honor: Frontline on the PS3. The Limited Edition also features content out-of-the-box such as early access to weapons only attainable via upgrades and a Limited Edition exclusive MP7 Submachine gun.
Tier 1 Edition
After the announcement of the Limited Edition EA Los Angeles stated that they would release a special Tier 1 Edition in Europe. The Tier 1 edition would cost the same as the Limited Edition and feature the same benefits as the Limited Edition (including the Battlefield 3 Beta Key). Additionally, owners of the Tier 1 Edition will receive a code to have access to the Class Operational Tier 1, "a select group of soldiers in order to unlock the M60 Machine Gun". The Tier 1 Edition was released in Europe, October 15, for all three platforms.
A new Linkin Park song, The Catalyst, was featured in the Medal of Honor trailer released on August 1, 2010. The trailer featuring the song was directed by Linkin Park's turntablist, Joe Hahn. The song is also included on the games soundtrack, and plays when the game's credits start rolling after finishing the campaign.
The game has received fairly mixed to positive reviews from game critics.
On Metacritic, the game has scores of 72 for PC, 75 for PlayStation 3 and 74 for Xbox 360.
On GameRankings, the game has scores of 71.32% for PC, 74.85% for PlayStation 3 and 73.15% for Xbox 360.
The online mode created a controversy when it was revealed that in the multiplayer mode of Medal of Honor, players could play as the Taliban. The developers responded by stating the reality of the game necessitated it. "Most of us having been doing this since we were 7 – if someone's the cop, someone's gotta be the robber, someone's gotta be the pirate and someone's gotta be the alien Amanda Taggart, senior PR manager for EA, told AOL News. "In Medal of Honor multiplayer, someone's gotta be the Taliban. The UK Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox criticized the game in advance of its release stating that it was "shocking that someone would think it acceptable to recreate the acts of the Taliban against British soldiers. At the hands of the Taliban, children have lost fathers and wives have lost husbands". "It's hard to believe any citizen of our country would wish to buy such a thoroughly un-British game. I would urge retailers to show their support for our armed forces and ban this tasteless product.
Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay has also criticized the game, saying he "finds it wrong that anyone, children in particular, would be playing the role of Taliban" and that "Canada and its allies have fought far too long in Afghanistan and it's not a game. Some Danish veterans were appalled by the game that takes place in the Helmand province where Danish troops are stationed. Danish Defense Minister Gitte Lillelund Bech finds it "tasteless" and supports Danish veterans who oppose the game. However she has said she will not legislate on the subject and has confidence in the ability of Danish youth to discriminate between right and wrong. Various branches of the US Military, including the US Navy and US Army and Air Force Exchange Services have banned the sale of the game on all United States Military Bases worldwide, but military personnel can still buy the game off base and it will be allowed on base. The reason given by a spokesperson for the US Navy was that it is, "out of respect for the men and women serving and their families.
Due to pressure from various military officials and veterans organizations, the word Taliban was removed from the multiplayer part of the game in which players would directly play as the Taliban, instead replaced with the term "OpFor" The singleplayer campaign as well as overall gameplay has not been affected by the change. However, even in light of this change, the game had been banned for sale on military bases, even to this day. The AAFES Commander Maj. Gen. Bruce Casella said, "Out of respect to those touched by the ongoing, real-life events presented as a game, Exchanges will not be carrying this product." He continued, "I expect the military families who are authorized to shop the Exchange are aware, and understanding, of the decision not to carry this particular offering."
- It is the first game of the Medal of Honor series to take place in a modern setting.
- It is also the first game in the series to feature an M-rating.
- This is due to the game featuring more coarse language, such as the usage of the f-word, than the previous games.
- The game also depicts blood as splatters and pools instead of the simple sprays that were used in the previous installments (starting with Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault).
- It also features some gore in the singleplayer portion of the game, which is most prevalent through using the shotguns against the enemies.
- This is the only game of the Medal of Honor series that is partially developed by DICE.
- This game features gameplay from many perspectives, which is unprecedented for the Medal of Honor series.
- The EA game Battlefield Heroes released a set of outfits and upgraded weapons inspired by Medal of Honor in an event called Battlefield Heroes goes Tier 1.
- There is an achievement/trophy called Pistol Pete Showdown for 30 pistol kills. Pistol Pete Showdown is the name of a level in Medal of Honor: Rising Sun.
- Every Playable character in the game was given a character model.
- Deuce is seen in cutscenes after First in and Friends from Afar.
- Brad Hawkins can be seen in cutscenes after Belly of the Beast and Gunfighters.
- Rabbit can be seen during the mission Friends from Afar and his legs can be seen when he is dragged to safety by Mother during Neptune's Nest.
- Dante can be briefly seen breaching in the ending cutscene of Rescue the Rescuers.
- The events in this Medal of Honor game are very loosely based on the events of Operation Anaconda, the real battle that took place in the Shahikot Valley in Afghanistan. Bagram Airfield was never in Taliban hands and it was the British SBS who helped secure it, not the SEALs. The game also cuts out the involvement of the Australian SAS, who called in airstrikes in support of the Ranger QRF and also had the only radio after the Rangers had to lighten their load in order to make it to the top of the mountain in time to assist in the ensuing firefight and dropped their packs after coming under fire during the initial stages of Operation Anaconda.
- Owners of Battlefield: Bad Company 2's VIP and members of the EA Gun Club got early access to the M24 Sniper Rifle to use in multiplayer.
- The cutscene showing Preacher and the unknown figure speaking in Pashto is used as part of the beginning cutscene of Finding Faraz in Medal of Honor: Warfighter.
- Official site
- EA Game Profile
- Medal of Honor for PC on Metacritic
- Medal of Honor for PlayStation 3 on Metacritic
- Medal of Honor for Xbox 360 on Metacritic
- Medal of Honor for PC on GameRankings
- Medal of Honor for PlayStation 3 on GameRankings
- Medal of Honor for Xbox 360 on GameRankings