Medal of Honor (2010 video game)
|Medal of Honor|
Pre-order Cover Art
|Developer(s)||Danger Close Games
EA DICE (multiplayer)
|Series||Medal of Honor|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 3
Frostbite 1.5 (multiplayer)
Medal of Honor is a first-person shooter video game developed by Danger Close Games and EA DICE and published by Electronic Arts. It is the thirteenth installment in the Medal of Honor series and a reboot of the series. The game was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on October 12, 2010. While the previous titles were set during World War II, Medal of Honor (2010) takes place during the War in Afghanistan. The game is loosely based on parts of Operation Anaconda; specifically, the events surrounding the Battle of Roberts Ridge.
Medal of Honor's single-player campaign uses heavily modified Unreal Engine 3 while multiplayer uses the Frostbite Engine. The game uses dedicated servers for PC and consoles. However, the server files have not been made public and are only available for use through specific Game Server Providers. It is the first game in the Medal of Honor franchise to receive an M rating from the ESRB. The game received positive reviews from critics and was a commercial success.
Gameplay focuses on portraying operations in Afghanistan. Typical in-game objectives include raiding enemy hideouts, hostage rescues and undercover operations. The modification of Unreal Engine 3 allows players to slide to cover and other combat moves. Players can request ammo from teammates in the single-player campaign, though this is limited.
The game's single-player campaign was developed by newly opened EA Los Angeles studio Danger Close Games. The campaign takes place in Afghanistan, in 2002. For half of the game, players assume the role of a Navy SEAL DEVGRU operator codenamed Rabbit. For the remainder, the player alternates between the roles of a Delta Force sniper codenamed Deuce, as well as U.S. Army Ranger Specialist Dante Adams of the 75th Ranger Regiment, and AH-64 Apache gunner Brad "Hawk" Hawkins.
Medal of Honor's multiplayer was developed by EA DICE. Multiplayer is class based, with three classes available – Rifleman, Special Ops, and Sniper. The player earns experience during gameplay to level up and unlock additional weapons and weapon accessories. For example, at the start of the game the sniper class does not have a proper sniper scope available, and the player must reach level 3 to unlock a combat scope. If a player earns a certain amount of points before dying, called a score chain, he or she earns a choice of an offensive support action such as a mortar strike or missile attack or a defensive support action such as intel or ammo. The player is not limited to one support action per life and can earn them continuously.
Gameplay features two opposing sides, the Coalition, usually referred by the in-game battle chatter to as "Python 1", against the Opposing Forces . The Coalition troops use American equipment such as the M16A4, M4A1, M21, AT4 and M9 pistol, while the Opposing Forces represent forces similar to the Taliban and use according equipment such as the AK-47, AKS-74U, SVD, RPG-7 and Tariq pistol. Each weapon is designed to have a counterpart on both teams, although that counterpart may or may not have the same stats. Initially, the weapons are team-specific. However, as the player progresses, they will unlock weapons that are available for both sides, as well as unlocking the ability to use enemy weapons. Once reaching level 8 in any one class the player is considered Tier 1 and assumes a different appearance, and when killed the tier 1 player's killer receives 5 extra points for killing a tier 1 player.
On November 2, 2010, DICE released two DLCs for multiplayer—a game type called "Hot Zone", which is a king-of-the-hill style mode and another game type called "Clean Sweep", a last-man-standing game type.
The story begins in late 2001 during the opening days of the invasion of Afghanistan. Tier 1 operatives of a Navy SEAL squad from DEVGRU, call sign Neptune, composed of operatives code-named Mother, Voodoo, Preacher and Rabbit are sent to meet with an Afghan informant named Tariq, who has intelligence on the Taliban. Neptune is ambushed by Chechen forces, and fights their way through the village to recover Tariq. Shortly after extraction, Tariq informs them that the Taliban and Al-Qaeda have a significant force composed of 500 to 1,000 combatants in the Shah-i-Kot Valley. Neptune is tasked to secure Bagram Airfield with a contingent from the ANA. By March 2002, the airfield is re-purposed as a forward operating base by NATO forces. U.S. Army Colonel R. Drucker, codename Jimmy, commands all local assets, is shown as a cautious and competent officer, in contrast to his commanding officer, General Flagg, who works in an office in the United States and is ignorant of the AFO teams' role in the operation. While Drucker plans to use Tier 1 operatives to reconnoiter insurgent positions in the valley and Northern Alliance soldiers to eliminate them, Flagg is mistrusting of the locals and gives the Colonel a 24-hour deadline to deploy the 10th Mountain Division, the 101st Airborne Division, and U.S. Army Rangers.
Meanwhile, Tier 1 teams are inserted into the area to perform reconnaissance and coordinate fire support. AFO Wolfpack, consisting of four Delta Force operators code-named Panther, Vegas, Deuce and Dusty eliminate enemy positions in two small villages and travel to their observation point "Clementine" while Neptune does the same to "OP Dorothy". After completing their mission ahead of schedule, Drucker sends Northern Alliance soldiers to eliminate several insurgent positions. Flagg calls in a rage, and unknowingly orders an AC-130U crew to open fire on friendly forces. The surviving Northern Alliance forces panic and withdraw, leaving the Colonel no choice but to deploy the Rangers as ordered. During insertion into the Sha-i-kot Valley, the Rangers come under heavy fire and a Chinook is shot down. The Rangers are pinned down by heavy machine guns, so a fireteam led by Sergeant Patterson consisting of Specialist Dante Adams, Corporal Hernandez and US Air Force Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Tech Sergeant Ybarra flank the enemy positions and destroy the machine guns. They move to secure another landing zone, but are ambushed by insurgents, who arrive in overwhelming numbers. Surrounded, and running out of ammunition, Ybarra radios Bagram for reinforcements, which arrive in the form of a pair of AH-64 Apaches, facilitating the Rangers’ extraction. The Apaches move through the mountains destroying a Taliban armory and enemy mortar positions. As they return to base, a Taliban Anti-Aircraft Gun crew attempts to destroy the helicopters; however, the AA gunner is killed by Deuce.
Deuce and Dusty move up the mountains and ambush enemy patrols and mortar teams, providing sniper support for Neptune, who is in heavy contact on the adjacent mountain, Takur Ghar. Neptune withdraws over the ridge line, and fights their way to the extraction point. Mother and Rabbit make it to the helicopter, but the Chinook lifts off early due to heavy enemy fire, leaving Voodoo and Preacher behind. Defying orders to return to base, Mother and Rabbit re-insert at nighttime, barely escaping death when their Chinook comes under fire. They evade hostile patrols while searching for Voodoo and Preacher. However, the two operators are eventually compromised and forced to jump off a cliff in an attempt to escape, with Rabbit sustaining multiple injuries in the jump and multiple wounds from close RPG fire beforehand at the top of the cliff and in the hut. Both suffer injuries and are captured by insurgents. Back at Bagram, Colonel Drucker attempts to organize forces to extract Neptune. Wolfpack is too far to provide assistance. General Flagg refuses to risk additional losses, and only assigns an AC-130U gunship, which can only stay on station for 15 more minutes. Drucker defies orders and sends in a Ranger Quick Reaction Force to extract Neptune.
The Chinook is hit by heavy fire, three Rangers and a crew member are killed, and four more are injured. After securing the crash site for the wounded and medics, Hernandez, Ybarra, Adams and Patterson head for the mountain pass. Hernandez is wounded while attempting to find the entrance of a spider-hole and Ybarra brings him back to the landing zone. Adams and Patterson link up with Preacher and Voodoo and continue searching for Mother and Rabbit. After the four of them together assaulted two enemy strongholds with the help of a CIA Predator drone, they eventually locate the two missing operators tied up in a remote bunker, who were tortured by the insurgents. Rabbit is dying from his wounds as his teammates evacuate him. The team calls for extraction, but the nearest helicopters are flying from Kandahar, some distance away. Rabbit's condition worsens and, despite his squad-mates' attempts, he succumbs to his wounds and dies before extraction arrives. The seven survivors are safely extracted, along with the remaining Ranger QRF. While observing a pair of F-15Es bombing the remaining insurgent bunkers, Preacher collects a rabbit's foot charm from Rabbit’s body, with Mother and Preacher noting that the war is far from over.
The game ends with a scene of Ajab and Preacher, sitting on a street in a town, conversing with each other in the Pashto dialect. As they converse about the quality of the tea they are drinking, they identify a man they are looking out for and stand to approach him. This leads directly into a mission in the next game, Medal of Honor: Warfighter.
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The game was formerly known as Medal of Honor: Operation Anaconda.
At the Game Developers Conference 2010 it was announced that the PS3 would be the lead development platform.
Electronic Arts released multiplayer beta keys for the PlayStation 3 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. EA announced a PC open beta for Medal of Honor. It started on October 4, 2010 and ran until October 7, 2010 11:59 PDT.
Marketing and release
Linkin Park's "New Divide" was featured in the 2010 E3 multiplayer trailer. Another Linkin Park song, entitled "The Catalyst", was featured in the final Medal of Honor trailer set released on August 1, 2010. The trailer featuring the song was directed by Linkin Park's own Joe Hahn. The song was featured in the end credits of the game. The music for the game was composed by Emmy-nominated composer Ramin Djawadi, who recorded his score with ethnic instruments, electronics and a string orchestra in Los Angeles. A soundtrack album was released on iTunes on October 5, 2010. A book was released around the time the game was released, written by Chris Ryan and of the same name as the game, which explains the backstory of the game. Through the EA Gun Club website players who registered on the site and bought the VIP version of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 were granted the M24 Sniper Weapon System sniper rifle for multiplayer immediately upon the game's release.
The Limited Edition version of Medal of Honor includes an invite to the Battlefield 3 beta and a token to download Medal of Honor: Frontline. Frontline is available only in the PlayStation 3 version. The Limited Edition will also feature content out-of-the-box such as early access to weapons attainable only via upgrades and a Limited Edition exclusive Heckler & Koch MP7 personal defense weapon and the M60 Light Machine Gun.
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 costs the same as the Limited Edition and features 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 Light Machine Gun". The Tier 1 Edition was released in Europe, on October 15, for all three platforms.
The official soundtrack was released on September 28, 2010. An extended version of the soundtrack was released in the Medal of Honor Soundtrack Collection (which contains all of the music in the Medal of Honor franchise released up to that point) which was released on March 1, 2011.
At the time of the release, Medal of Honor had the highest amount of pre-orders in the series. On October 19, 2010, GameSpy reported that the game topped 1.5 million in sales on its first week and went on to sell 2 million copies on its second week. Medal of Honor set a new record the franchise, but it was lower than Medal of Honor: Frontline, and Medal of Honor: Rising Sun. The game was very successful in the United Kingdom, debuting at #1 on the UK sales chart, beating out FIFA 11 and Just Dance 2. In the United States, Medal of Honor was the third best-selling game behind Just Dance 2 and FIFA 11. On February 1, 2011, EA reported that the reboot of Medal of Honor was a commercial success with over 5 million copies sold from October to November along with Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. "It's on a sharp uptick the last couple of years as we've driven high-quality titles ever higher in the charts, particularly in Europe but also in North America," John Riccitiello, EA CEO, said during the publisher's overnight Q3 earnings call. The game was later released as a part of three budget lines: Greatest Hits and Platinum Range for the PlayStation 3 and Platinum Hits for the Xbox 360.
Medal of Honor has received generally positive reviews from critics, praising the game's engaging multiplayer, audio and voice acting but criticized minor technical issues, and resemblances to other similar games like Call of Duty and EA's very own Battlefield series. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PlayStation 3 version 74.97% and 75/100, the Xbox 360 version 73.11% and 74/100 and the PC version 70.82% and 72/100. Game Informer scored it a 7 out of 10. Eurogamer acknowledged that Medal of Honor has "a solid multiplayer accessory that owes a lot to Bad Company 2", and gave it an 8/10. TheSixthAxis stated that the "real star appears to be the multiplayer" and that "shooter fans will find enough to enjoy" and awarded it an 8/10. Joystiq commended the single player experience but faulted the game's graphical power: "The framerate is shaky, and the lackluster texture work certainly doesn't help", stating that the singleplayer is ultimately enjoyable. However, Joystiq states that the game's "initial impressions coupled with the obvious lack of features give me little reason to abandon Call of Duty's multiplayer offerings.", and gives it a 4 out of 5 stars. "According to Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter, "Shares [are] down because apparently some investors are disappointed by these early reviews." In a return statement, EA reminded the investors that critic's reviews are "highly subjective" and that "This is an essentially big achievement considering Medal of Honor has been dormant for several years. This is the first year in rebooting the franchise. Medal of Honor is part of a larger EA strategy to take share in the shooter category. This is a marathon, not a sprint – today’s Medal of Honor launch represents a step forward in that race."
Taliban player choice controversy
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 "Opposing Force." The singleplayer campaign as well as overall gameplay will not be affected by the change. However, even in light of this change, the game will still not be sold on military bases. 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."
On February 18, 2011, Danger Close chief and Medal of Honor executive producer Greg Goodrich revealed the news that a sequel to Medal of Honor was in development at Danger Close Games.
An insert featuring promotional artwork was included with retail copies of Battlefield 3, featuring little more than a picture and a BBFC logo. On February 23, 2012, Medal of Honor: Warfighter was officially unveiled, alongside promotional artwork. Reception to the sequel has been mixed to overwhelmingly negative.
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