Monday, April 30, 2007

DOXOreview: Medal of Honour: Vangaurd

Aesthetics 3/5

Graphically this game does deliver some crisp textures and some nice lighting , but overall falls flat due to the animation, cinematic follies, and horrendous special effects.

The game, in every regard looks better than Call of Duty 3 on the Wii, but it still doesn’t look that good. The soft lighting of outdoor environments creates a pretty realistic atmosphere and actually makes some of the blocky obstacles a bit easier on the eyes. There are some really nice moments of high contrast action when your gun fire actually illuminates a dark corridor, creating a strobe light effect that any dance aficionado could cut a rug too. But really, it looks good when you fire in the dark. If only the game could have held onto this same high contrast look the rest of it wouldn’t have looked so plain. The lighting sometimes washes out the character models making them look flat and highlighting some of their imperfections. Animation is rather unnatural in this game, and a lot of the time characters mouths won’t even move when their talking. Firearm technology has apparently come a long way since WWII seeing as being shot actually hurts a little these days. In the game Germans don’t always react to being shot, in most cases it isn’t until their dead that the next animation is triggered. The special effects are where the game really falls short though, explosions are usually handled by one shared animation which seems to be two or three white cloud images cycling through at 30fps. It makes for a very disappointing explosion, a rather stagnant effect. Another explosion animation is that of the tanks, this is a single orange puff that manages to crawl through the polygons of an unchanged tank model, followed by some bland black smoke. Ugly. The textures hold up pretty nicely though in some spots, but the overall simple modelling sort of makes the textures a moot point.

Hit the Jump for more disappointment!

Sound 2/5

The games soundtrack is pretty well orchestrated piece of music, which is suitable at most times, its too bad the ambience and voiceovers don’t match.

The voices of your squad members, like in most WWII shooters is over the top, loud, annoying, and about as helpful as John Madden’s commentary during opening kick off. The main problem with the voice acting in this game is that it’s just not convincing, and more often than not aggravating. I don’t know much about Billy Talent but I had no idea the lead vocalist was around during WWII. Honestly, one of your team members has the most cringe inducing voice I’ve heard in a while. It’s a high pitch scream-talk, much like that of the vocals in Billy Talent. The ambient noise in the game, at times is okay, but is usually non-existent. Sporadic gunfire, explosions, and passing planes can be heard regardless as to where you are. It really seems funny when a plane flies by audibly and yet visually there is no representation of anything flying by. The sound effects are sloppy, bottom line. Thankfully the music makes up for it. I felt it was always very inspiring and appropriate, if not a bit sporadic. By the way, I think it’s worth mentioning that EA, for some reason, still feels that they need to flex their knowledge of authentic WWII weaponry, even though the game is nothing new. So roughly every five seconds Billy, or other team mates will yell about an MG-42. “It’s an MG-42!”, “I need someone on that MG-42!”, “MG-42!”, “Kegan, get on the MG-42!”. Wow. Redundancy at it’s best.

Gameplay 2/5

Medal of Honour attempts to play as you would expect a FPS to play on the Wii, except it falls a bit flat. While I can appreciate the option to tweak certain aiming controls, I feel it’s just a control scheme that could have been more fleshed out. The default aiming settings give the player control reminiscent of Call of Duty 3 but not as polished. It’s somewhere between that and Red Steel. It’s a bit loose and the turning if far too slow. To combat this problem however, EA has implemented a quick fix inspired, perhaps, by Resident Evil 4. A Quick 180 degree turn is mapped to flicking the nunchuck to the left. While on paper this seems like a good fix, it isn’t. It just feels unnatural and I found that I actually NEVER used this mechanic. Not once, and when it did happen it was by accident. Another problem the game presents is that you seldom need to turn around. The enemies are never really behind you, and if they are they don’t present an immediate enough threat to warrant the quick turn as a necessity. Reloading was handled by flicking the nunchuck to the right. This felt better than the quick turn, but was overall not very use full. For some reason EA made one of the most common weapons in the game something that you cannot reload until your clip is emptied. I found myself shooting one or two shots into a crate every once in a while, just so I wouldn’t be caught reloading in the middle of a fight. Of course, I still did get caught reloading, many times. I’m not really an FPS gamer, per se, I appreciate a good one, but I’m not big on them. Hence, I’m not great at them, but I’m good enough. So yes, I got caught reloading standing up, running through a German trench, and you know what? It didn’t matter. The AI is pretty laughable, almost at the same level as Goldeneye 007 on the N64. Ya that’s right, I walked up to a German, looked at him while I reloaded for a while and then preceded to shoot him down without so much as a shot from my opponent. The rest of the controls are pretty standard fair for the Wii. Joystick moves your character, C is jump and Z is crouch. Tapping Z twice will get your guy down on his stomach, much like CoD3. I don’t know who did it first but the two games seem to share the same graphic representing the status of your position. Odd. Disappointingly one of the games most enticing elements failed to deliver. Being a paratrooper was none too exciting. While visually it was alright, and the controls were passable, I felt like I was dropped from twenty feet. It’s a totally pointless gameplay element. While you can, theoretically land anywhere, the short drop doesn’t ever really allow you to get to anywhere that is particularly advantageous.

Immersion 1/5

I never once felt attached to the others in my squad, and those who actually spoke never really seemed to ever be in danger, besides the colonel you take over for at the beginning, but its all very anti-climactic. Something that really detracts in the immersion of the game is the fact that, cinematically the game is a failure. EA makes little effort in creating any sort of drama, or suspense. There is nothing that really makes you want to finish the game. WWII is a complex part of our history, a very compelling story. Despite this fact EA is not able to take any of the available documentation and create a realistic, and compelling story. The worst part about the WWII genre (besides the fact that it actually warrants its own genre now…) is that despite its history there has still not been a game that truly explores any of the meatiest parts of it. We’ve been treated to generic shooters in drab settings and low production values. This game is not immersive at all, and is just another sad exploitation of a dark part of humanities past.

Bottom Line: 3/10

The game is lack-lustre in presentation and is an over all generic game that accomplishes nothing.


If you liked this game, you should: 1. Raise your standards, and 2. Try out Call of Duty 3 on the Wii. It isn’t a great game, but its much better than Vangaurd. Maybe you should just take a break from the whole WWII genre, and wait for Metroid Prime 3 to get your FPS on.

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