Why the Medal of Honor Beta is the Best Shooter of 2010 (So Far)

I know that this headline may come off as a bold statement and perhaps even a bit sensationalist, especially considering how much bad flack the Medal of Honor Beta has been getting during its first week of being up. If you would have asked what I thought a week ago, I would have said that you couldn’t pay me to play this broken beta, which I think almost killed my PS3 on multiple occasions. However, after the very first patch released, I think I see what is going be the best shooter of the year. But don’t just take my word for it, read on to find out why.

First off, all of the negative things that you may have initially heard about the Beta are absolutely true. I mean the game was so buggy that my PS3 (Slim, mind you) would lock up every time I would press ‘select’ to simply check the score. And not a nice lockup (if one even exists), I mean a full on nothing-I’m-pressing-is-working lock up, to the point that I was worried that EA was about to be responsible for bricking my PS3. I thought it was an isolated incident, until I tried to play a few rounds with our very own senior editor Al Zamora, who was on his launch PS3 and was suffering the same fate as I was.

Another interesting thing that was going on were these ridiculously laggy death animations. It was so bad at certain points that you would find yourself in an intense firefight one second, then the action would lag, and then you would find that you have miraculously teleported to the ground, face down, dead and on your way to the respawn screen.

Considering that we were both feverishly anticipating this beta, you can only imagine just how upset we were. We let out so many profanities- that had we had swear jars, each of us could have probably bought ourselves a Lamborghini.

Eventually, we gave it up, packed it in and decided to wait for a patch to come through.

Well, ladies and gentleman, the patch is here and I think I am in love. Mind you, the patch came in at a whopping 268mb, almost half the size of the initial beta download, but it was totally worth every byte.

It wasn’t that everything was fixed 100 percent (because it definitely isn’t), it’s that things were fixed enough that you only had to worry about playing the game and not the distractions that came with it previously.  It was then that the title finally had my full attention, and it was then that I realized that Medal of Honor is going to be f*cking awesome.

Even though it’s built on DICE’s Frostbite engine, and may look similar to Battlefield: Bad Company 2, it’s still very much its own game, with its own identity and play style. Your character’s movement is very life-like, and so much so that when you have to make split second decisions to pop out and take a shot at someone, you have to instantly compensate for how long it will take to get back for cover. Making even the smallest firefights mini online chess matches.

If I had to draw a comparison to another title as far as controls go, it would have to be Killzone 2. The real Killzone 2. The one before people started whining about the “weight” on the characters. Sorry to break it to you all, but real soldiers carry gear on them and subsequently don’t run around like they’re on roller blades. Medal of Honor captures that real life feel and because of it, you feel like every respawn counts.

Don’t for one second think that it’s all about stand offs and camping either. Remember this IS the Frostbite engine, so don’t start getting too comfortable, because once you do, the mortars will come and subsequently the roof that was once over your head no longer exists.

Weapons sound and handle the way that they should. The team at DICE has made it so that Assault rifles magically behave the way they do in real life with the addition of a ground breaking feature not found in many first person shooters these days – it’s called recoil, and it works exactly the way it should. Want to be a maniac and run around with an AK 47 while using the old “spray and pray” technique? Good luck to you, as you will be hitting absolutely nothing.

The reason I am going out on a limb here with such a bold claim for Medal of Honor is because this Beta is merely the foundation. Within 4 days of the Beta being open (yet still closed technically) DICE is already in there and getting their hands dirty tweaking and fixing it at any chance they get. It’s always nice to know when the level of quality support will match the level of quality of a title.

Now, I don’t really want to bring in another title into this to throw under the bus, but I feel like I have to. With that said, just look at all of the issues that plagued Modern Warfare 2’s multiplayer, and that was all post launch! After they took everyone’s money and made the game the biggest entertainment launch in history. After people had to beg and plead for patches and fixes, and left waiting, sometimes even weeks. Currently, there are only two maps and two modes available in the MoH beta, and I’d rather play that all night with some random strangers than jump on MW2 even though I’m sure 1/3 of my friends list is on there at any given time. I think that says a lot.

I read someone’s impressions earlier in the week and they’re position was that the whole “Modern Combat” genre was worn out to the point that it’s like World War II games all over again. That Medal of Honor felt more like the same. And while he did make some valid points, I don’t think that the genre is worn out, I think that no one has really done it the right way yet. And, I think that that’s exactly where EA and DICE are headed with the reboot of this storied franchise.

Make sure to check back to Dualshockers as we’re trying to get our hands on more Beta codes for our readers. We want to make sure that as many of you as possible can get a piece of this sweet closed beta pie!

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Joel Taveras

Joel Taveras is one of the founding members of DualShockers. He hails from New York City where he lives with his wife and two sons. During his tenure with the site, he's held every position from news writer to community manager to editor in chief. Currently he manages the behind the scenes and day-to-day operations at the publication.

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