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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Medal of Honor Gameplay and Problems

Jumping right in here.

I've made mention of the fast paced nature of the game, and that is the only way I know to describe it. From what I've seen, and seen is all I have, of MW2, Medal of Honor is only slightly slower in the deathmatch mode and significantly slower in the objective gametypes. This is, of course, relative, since spawn times are, at their longest, only about 5 seconds long, and then only for the defenders. Attackers reenter in about 2 seconds tops. Modern Warfare 2 and its nigh-instant respawn times in all but CTF or no respawn in Search and Destroy, is faster. Dying is also faster, even more so than Medal of Honor, and with the number of different ways to die (air support mostly) and patently noobish ways to acquire said kills, not only do games last significantly shorter spans of time, but there is quite a bit more rage involved.

The deathmatch games last about ten minutes, which is comparable to anything in MW2, and for good reason. Respawn times are so similar and the map is much smaller. That is not to say the map is actually small, as it is moderate to large compared to MW2 maps. However, even with a twelve on twelve game, sometimes actually finding another player to kill takes time, especially if spawns recently shifted, instant respawn doesn't do as much to speed up play.

On the deathmatch mode, the score counting kills as well as support actions and revenge/savior/headshot kills, not to mention assists more than makes up for the lulls in battle, as well as lowering the time for gameplay. And speaking of time, DICE continues their idea from BC2 by not putting a time limit on either of their game modes. For Combat Mission, there is a built in limit on how long a match could concievably last, since the attackers have only so many troops to send in before they fail. In a 1v12 situation, with a full spawn trap, the match's limit is only around 200 seconds, or three and a half minutes. However, with the various people playing, and the different ways they play (cautious or aggressive or in between), the matches tend to go into the fifteen minute mark, though they don't really last more than 20 minutes at the maximum. The longest I've seen is a little more than 18 minutes.

That all being said, the comparison of MoH to MW2 and BC2 is impossible to ignore. If you follow anyone on YouTube with the beta in hand, and there are many, the opinions are out there, and they are, surprisingly, wide and varied. Some think the game is more of a Battlefield mod or outright copy, essentially DICE repackaging BC2 with a few changes to gameplay and new maps. Others see it as a mishmash of the two, hedging its bets between the warring franchises. Still others see it as the silent observer, who realized what worked and what didn't, and took its own spin while adding something of its own. The last one works for me. It is neither a copy of MW2 with a DICE touch, nor is it a BC2 mod with different maps. It isn't even a mix of the two, and here's why. First, there doesn't appear to be an air support problem. When I say problem, I mean that during play you don't hear ENEMY AC130 IN THE AIR! at all times, and there aren't constant assaults by harriers and helicopters and missiles aren't falling from the sky every five seconds, or at least, not guided ones. A human guided missile is a late scorechain reward, and you can't call a harrier strike to sit over the map and do the work for you. Secondly, the game takes only the actual engine from BC2, the Frostbite, but utilizes it in a very different way. The destruction is exceedingly limited, since C4 can't even destroy mud houses and it obliterates concrete in BC2. Add to this that the only vehicle acts only as a support unit, not as the primary attacker/defender. If this were a BC2 mod, even the deathmatch mode would have something like a tank or emplacement or something. If it were a clone of MW2, players wouldn't have to work quite as hard for their air support, and they wouldn't have a choice to be team players with defensive scorechains either, especially not when there's a viable mortar strike just waiting at 40 points. The weapons travel in similar paths and in similar ways to MW2, since bullet drop isn't a factor, but they do less damage all around, though more than BC2.

This idea leads nicely into the problems section. First, two things about weapons. Maybe reduce the damage a little bit, just a couple bullets more for each kill, and then make there be a little time between shooting and hitting. Less than BC2 but more than there is currently. I think also there needs to be a kill cam. Giving the weapon that killed you is certainly a nice piece of information, but also knowing from where the bullets came helps occasionally, so that players must move to remain deadly. It reduces camping, if only a little bit.

The lag, of course, needs fixing, as do the freezes on console and the random crashes on PC. I mentioned hacking already, and the server browser needs work, but I know a lot of this last stuff came, and is coming, in the patch.

All this being said, I am glad that DICE put MoH through a beta, because if all this stuff were in the final product, I can only imagine the flame and hatred the game would draw (and I look at MW2 here). Plus, DICE is even patching a Beta so that testing can happen. That makes me happy. Fixing a beta usually happens after it ends, and some companies don't do squat until they don't have to worry about actual gameplay occuring. Granted, these bugs in the beta are next to game breaking, and many are straying away for that reason.

If anything, I wish the beta were extended longer than just a month. This is a fun game.

Thanks for reading,

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