Medal of Honor‘s been on the shelf a long time. The last set of multi-platform games came out in 2007 under the Medal of Honor: Heroes banner and, since then, EA’s storied FPS franchise has lain fallow. Earlier this year, the publisher announced that Medal of Honor would be returning in a significantly changed form.
The most obvious shift is in the setting. No longer tethered to World War II, the game aims to create an ultra-realistic FPS experience set in today’s battlefields. This aspiration to realism will also make it the first M-rated Medal of Honor game, too. A new trailer featuring music from Linkin Park’s as-yet-unreleased single “The Catalyst” shows off the gritty look of the new FPS. Players will control members of various branches of the Armed forces during the recent invasion of Afghanistan. With the single-player content being made in EA’s LA development studio and the multiplayer being handled by DICE (best known for the Battlefield games), Medal of Honor is one of the first games to explicitly tackle contemporary real-world conflicts since the events of 9/11. EA’s currently revealed two of the class types that you’ll be controlling: Tier 1 Operators and Army Rangers.
Tier 1 Operator is a term used to describe soldiers culled from the elite sectors of the military like the Navy SEALs. The Tier 1 Operators sport massive beards and embed themselves deep into the communities where the conflict is happening to gain the trust and help of local citizens. The gameplay in the Tier I levels was a lot more predatory and you and your partner went on the offensive.
The mission I saw with the Rangers had them clearing out a nest of rebels to tag the location of an airstrike that would take out an anti-aircraft gun. The Ranger levels in MOH seemed more strategic, because in the small mountain villages shots could suddenly come from anywhere. The enemy knows the terrain better and high ground is abundant. You’ll have to hunker down behind cover and rely on AI team partners to scope out snipers and groups of insurgents.
EA’s describing the “Big Military” aspects of the game as the “Hammer” while the Tier 1 sequences are the “Scalpel.” The paths of each will intersect in an overarching story that aims to show how these different units converge on a common goal. And, make no mistake: the guys you’ll be fighting will be Al Qaeda and Taliban militants. EA’s using the accounts of Tier 1 Operators to tune the realism of the game.
While it may be a bit worrisome to set a video game in the arena of a present-day conflict, Medal of Honor represents a unique opportunity to get a sniper’s-eye-view of what war in such a hot zone actually feels like.