Medal of Honor Frontline Review
Medal of Honor Frontline is one of those games that will surprise PlayStation 2 owners by dazzling them with terrific gameplay, visual flair, and some of the best sound yet heard on Sony's console.
Medal of Honor Frontline is one of those games that will surprise PlayStation 2 owners by dazzling them with terrific gameplay, visual flair, and some of the best sound yet heard on Sony's console. Indeed, this World War II-themed first-person shooter is on the same level as the recently released and highly acclaimed Medal of Honor: Allied Assault for the PC, an outstanding game in its own right. Frontline takes the same cinematic approach that Allied Assault did, with a heavy emphasis on scripted events throughout its epic missions. While Frontline does have a few frustrating points, the game is more than good enough to outshine any shortcomings that it might have. Simply put, it's one of the best first-person shooter experiences available on a console.
The bulk of the game takes place during one of the most daring offensives of World War II: Operation Market Garden, a plan that, had it succeeded, may have ended the European war several months earlier. While Operation Market Garden ultimately failed just short of its final goal, in Frontline, as Lieutenant James Patterson, you'll press on alone, making your way well behind enemy lines using stealth and sabotage as well as heroic force to achieve your own goals. In the important shoes of this American GI, by game's end, you'll have single-handedly prevented the invention of an experimental Nazi jet bomber from turning the tide of the war, and you'll have gone toe-to-toe with a wily Nazi antagonist and his hordes of deadly soldiers.
Frontline teaches you how to swim by throwing you off the boat, literally. The very first mission of the game is the storming of the beach at Normandy, the D-Day battle made infamous most recently by its grisly depiction in Steven Spielberg's film Saving Private Ryan. In the opening sequence, you'll find yourself loaded up in a Higgins boat on approach. This cinematic intro allows you to look around and take in your surroundings in all their glory, as sister boats are torn to pieces by strafing German aircraft. Seconds later, as your boat hits the beach and the door drops, an artillery shell explodes and sends you head over heels into the sea, along with the other infantry accompanying you. You're then treated to a few seconds of submerged chaos, as many in your group are cut down by enemy fire before reaching the shore. Emerging from the water to an intense battlefront, you meet up with your captain, who charges you with rescuing allies under heavy fire. Needless to say, this level is extremely effective in its intentions, which is to get you pumped up right away and showcase the strengths of the game engine. As you fight your way up the beach, there's never a dull moment, as you're constantly trying to avoid machine gun fire, earth-shaking artillery explosions, and the occasional strafing runs of German aircraft. By the time you reach a group of friends taking cover at the seawall, your heart will be pounding, and a real sense of accomplishment will set in. This level is the centerpiece of the game, and it showcases the audio and visual presentation better than any other level.
This is not to say that other levels don't compare, however. The level design is well thought out throughout the game, and while many levels share similar surroundings, each is its own beast. The attention to detail in all of them is outstanding, with city levels that look like they were taken straight from the pages of history. One such example is the level called Arnham Knights, a grueling mission that drops you in the thick of battle, surrounded by German tanks, Panzershrek squads (foot soldiers armed with rocket-propelled grenades), and friendly British infantry. In this level, the terrain is rubble: destroyed urban landscape sectioned off by piles of concrete and destroyed buildings. Making your way through this level can be done a couple of ways. You might take the sniper route by finding high ground in buildings and picking off enemy troops one at a time. Or you might make use of the heavy machine gun you're equipped with to run and gun your way through the narrow streets. In addition to traversing ruined cityscapes, you'll find yourself masquerading as a German officer in a giant mansion, stowing away on a German U-boat, destroying an armored train, riding a runaway mine cart, and more.
The graphics in Medal of Honor Frontline are top notch. Character models are excellent, featuring very expressive faces and detailed uniforms. Their animations are also very well done, complete with a variety of death animations dependent on where and how the enemy was struck. While there isn't any blood in the game--this is purely for rating purposes--some of the death animations can be downright gruesome. You'll see some soldiers clap a hand on the back of their skull when they're shot in the head, look at the nonexistent blood on their palm, then topple over, dead. One of the only less-than-impressive aspects of the graphics is the textures in the game. Like in many PlayStation 2 titles, they're a bit washed out and blurry. And for the most part, they aren't very colorful either. This minor complaint can be overlooked, though, as you probably won't be spending your time examining every wall or road. One other shortcoming of note is that the frame rate can dip on occasion. The game generally moves along at a very smooth frame rate when things are more relaxed, but as explosions start kicking up, the frame rate can start to chug. This, much like the texture quality, is easily forgiven. The visual presentation of the game has such a big-budget appeal to it that minor complaints such as these seem almost nitpicky.
- Player Reviews: 169
- Game Universe:
- Medal of Honor Allied Assault (PC, MAC, PC),
- Medal of Honor Frontline (PS2, GC, XBOX, PS3),
- Medal of Honor: Underground (GBA, PS),
- Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (PS2, XBOX, GC),
- Medal of Honor: European Assault (PS2, XBOX, GC),
- Medal of Honor: Airborne (PS3, PS2, X360, XBOX, PC, WII),
- Medal of Honor: Vanguard (PS2, WII),
- Medal of Honor Heroes 2 (WII, PSP),
- Medal of Honor (X360, PS3, PC),
- Medal of Honor Allied Assault: War Chest (PC, MAC)
- Number of Players: