Medal of Honor Heroes Hands-On: Combat in Miniature

Can EA Canada really fit Medal of Honor's grit and drama onto the PSP's small screen? We tried the campaign and skirmish modes in an early build to find out.

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Aside from a couple of low-profile Game Boy Advance and mobile releases, the Medal of Honor series hasn't had a significant presence in the handheld-gaming sector thus far. And you know those limited platforms weren't able to do justice to this explosive, larger-than-life World War II franchise, anyway. But now a team at Electronic Arts' Canada studio is using the inarguably powerful hardware of the PlayStation Portable to create Medal of Honor Heroes, the series' first appearance on Sony's handheld--and from what we've seen, the first time a portable MOH will have a chance to equal the dramatic action that has defined the series on consoles and the PC.

Heroes will feature a full single-player campaign that we got to take a look at. You'll take control of three notable characters from previous games--Lt. Jimmy Patterson from Frontline, Sgt. John Baker of Allied Assault: Breakthrough, and Lt. William Holt from European Assault--and play through 15 story missions spread across three campaigns. These campaigns will see you traveling from the coast of Italy to the rainy city streets of Holland and finally to the snowy fields of the Ardennes, in Belgium. Like the console games, the PSP version will let you play through each of these missions multiple times to pursue optional, secondary objectives and to earn more valuable medals through better performance.

All of the missions in Heroes will see you performing OSS-style covert ops that will send you behind enemy lines. We jumped into one mission in the story mode that tasked us, along with a small squad of allies, with infiltrating a Nazi position to disrupt radio communications, which included having us plant timed bombs on some equipment. From the little we got to play, the team seems to have done a good job adapting the traditional Medal of Honor controls to the PSP, since there are four quite different control schemes on offer that let you put the look and movement functions on the analog stick, face buttons, and so on. Other functions, like duck and melee attack, have been intelligently distributed on the available buttons, from what we saw.

The story campaign will let you play as three past MOH characters, across several sections of Europe.

Quick action is big in handheld gaming these days, what with the easy sleep function found on the PSP, and Heroes' designers have devised a new skirmish mode as a way to jump into gameplay faster than with the main campaign. Skirmish is an offline deathmatch against computer-controlled bots that will let you play on any of the story maps you've previously completed. You'll be able to set all the usual parameters, such as number of players (up to 16), weapon availability, time limit, and so on--then you're off for a short burst of killing. This seems like a no-frills mode, but it's one that you can access with a minimum of hassle if you don't have much time to play.

As for the online multiplayer in Heroes, EA Canada has some ambitious plans. This will be the first game to allow an impressive 32 players in an online game at once, and luckily, you'll be able to join and exit in-progress matches at will, rather than dealing with the headaches of a lobby system. Six modes will be available, starting with the requisite deathmatch and infiltration, which is basically capture the flag. Then there's battle lines, a Battlefield-style game where both teams vie to hold a number of control nodes, and domination is a variant where one team attempts to hold all the points at once. Finally, hold the line is a king-of-the-hill mode with only one control point, and demolition is an attack-and-defend mode with one team assaulting targets that the other team is trying to protect.

As mentioned, you'll be able to revisit story missions to complete additional goals and earn better medals, but this won't just be for bragging rights. There will be around 20 skins for the multiplayer mode that you can unlock through the campaign, so you'll be able to show off your superior skill offline when you jump into an online game using a rare skin. The game's server model is also quite interesting, since you'll be able to download the Heroes dedicated server program from EA's Web site and host a 32-player game on your PC. Once you get a server up and running, it'll contact the central network, and your server will be listed in the in-game browser alongside the official ones running at EA. You'll have full admin control from your PC, and there will be a voting system in place within multiplayer games to take care of troublesome players, too.

Heroes will offer perhaps the most ambitious multiplayer mode to date in a PSP game.

Heroes is shaping up to be as fully featured a Medal of Honor game as you could want on the PSP, with visuals that come close to the PlayStation 2 installments in the series, along with full voice acting and the now-requisite World War II film clips that set up each mission. The multiplayer aspect is quite a bit more robust than we were expecting (and more so than we've seen from other online PSP games, really), so we'll be curious to see how well the game takes hold in the online community when it ships later this fall.

Discussion

71 comments
YalCantDeMe
YalCantDeMe

Well Here is my Wishlist of FPS's Socom FTB2 MOHHeroes Farcry Bf2 Modern Combat GRAW 2 KZLiberation

Jah_Glow
Jah_Glow

Oh, man... Heroes looks like an awesome game from what has beem explained.

thehiddendoubt
thehiddendoubt

SplinterCellSC2- I'm pretty sure BF2 is coming to the PSP, but i'm not sure of a release date.

SplinterCellSC2
SplinterCellSC2

I know I cannot wait for RB6Vegas and SOCOM, they are on my list as well. I hope this takes off like a rocket because they will inspire many more military FPSs. I hope they come out with BF2 and BF2142 on the PSP! That would rock!

soysauceman2
soysauceman2

Now I know that this is WiFi with people all over the nation and world... compared to some games that just say like 8 multiplayer (AD Hoc *Coughing Trying To Not Let The Viewers Hear AD Hoc*)...Yea.. you see my point

sevenbone
sevenbone

looks great! also cant wait for socom ftb 2, which also looks pretty good.

Jedikenobi1
Jedikenobi1

This and rainbow six will definetly be on my psp game buy list. I just hope these games arent bogus!

LinconSixEcho
LinconSixEcho

Finally, a game that is REALLY using the online function to its fullest. I hope that there will be a constant stream of people online unlike OutRun 2006 where there were SOME people at first but as the months progressed there were none. Can't wait to see what they do for Rainbow Six Vegas for the PSP.

elvisbond
elvisbond

Looks quite good...=].....and may i say awesome

Bigboss232
Bigboss232

ill see u all on the battle field

charrrles
charrrles

cant wait for this, the online multiplayer is making me want to buy this game more.

mathewpham18
mathewpham18

oh yes cant wait for it too ill be playing it 24/7

bob_saget_832
bob_saget_832

i cant wait for this game!!!! im getting it the day it comes out i hope everyone else here does to cuz im gonna play online first thing

tau1234
tau1234

god i hope this game is good, the PSP really needs some classics on its back!!!

RoChase
RoChase

hubba hubba choo choo

foxhound421
foxhound421

did i miss something, or is this "Hands-On" impression lacking a description of hands-on gameplay? why don't you tell us how the game felt in terms of control, or let us know how the graphics and sound are shaping up? this sounds like a paid advertisement from EA Canada. come on Gamespot...

DeathgiverX
DeathgiverX

Actually I am probably overestimating it, but I do not care, 32 man MP FTW.

al
al

this one looks like a winner

Villimax
Villimax

The single player is going to kick ass. The multiplayer is going to kick ass. It will beat every currently released PSP FPS/3PS single player and multiplayer into the ground. But, because it's not called Call fo Duty and it's instead called Medal of Honor, most of you morons underestimate it.

Goliath-Gamer
Goliath-Gamer

Alright.Online hookup.I hope the online is hot.But not as hot as the Fireteam braco online.

Full_Metal_Alk
Full_Metal_Alk

I'd buy the game just for the multiplayer. That's if the control sceme turns out to be effective which remains to be seen.

tooncy
tooncy

I'd love to know why developers are stupid enough to overlook the FPS control method used on the Dreamcast. Use the right buttons for moving, and the nub for aiming. It'd be a little awkward at first, but once you got used to it it would work perfectly.

Applebutta4
Applebutta4

Kind of hard to have a fps game on the psp. Third person lock on controls are good like socom and stuff. Seems interesting though.

Headcsse
Headcsse

True, the DS FPS controls cannot be beat (except maybe for the Wii when it comes out), but really, the whole dedicated server thing interests me. It seems that the whole clan thing that was WILDLY popular in all three of the Allied Assault games (I am in one myself) will not be lost in this one. The crosshair upsets me a little, maybe it's a little too big. I understand looking down the sights, but the little PSP screen worries me. The controls eem a little cramped too, but hey, it's still looks ok. I'll have to keep an eye on this one.

Furbyballistik
Furbyballistik

the graphics look blocky????? the graphics look amazing..for a handheld game that is! the only thing that doesnt look all that great are the surrounding characters...the levels look like a straight up ps2 game! and 32 players online is down right amazing!! the more the merrier....yup.

dieworm
dieworm

Why no DS version? I mean, no offense but with single card multiplayer and mouse like touch screen controls, and how sweet MPH played. I'd rather pay it on that.

Light_Bahamut
Light_Bahamut

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

methedemon
methedemon

looks very good. the online sounds awesome as well.

assault911
assault911

Pirating games is illegal. I hope you do realise that Soul187q ?!

CapoX
CapoX

looking good.. :)

Soul187q
Soul187q

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

KiLlA1991
KiLlA1991

graphic looks kinda blocky..nd the gameplay looks kinda dated nd kinda slow paced...but i guess is worth renting..or borrowing but im not looking foirward to this games...best psp game is goin to be MGS Portable Ops nd Vice City Stories..hic hic alright....lol

themc_7
themc_7

You won't be able to get that medal of honor feel on psp.

abattoir_blues
abattoir_blues

I dont like the medal of honor series and I dont play fps with one analog stick,it just sad that the only game I play on my psp is lumines

_Sam_
_Sam_

should be good

yenko_boy
yenko_boy

Wow, that looks nice! Finally a game worth buying for the PSP, other than GTA:LCS, (no offence). The multiplayer looks impressive as well.

nomy_129
nomy_129

i dont like ea that much . but this MOH game is looking good.