Medal of Honor Frontline Preview
Electronic Arts' excellent first-person shooter for the PlayStation 2 storms the Xbox.
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Medal of Honor Frontline made some serious waves when it was released on the PlayStation 2 earlier this year. The game's impressive graphics, awesome sound, and attention to detail made it one of the most immersive first-person shooter games on the system. Following the game's critical and commercial success on the PlayStation 2, Electronic Arts has opted to bring it over tothe two remaining console platforms. Rather than just do an exact port of the PlayStation 2 game, though, EA has opted to add a multiplayer mode to the Xbox and GameCube game conversions. We recently had a chance to check out the Xbox version of Frontline to see how it's coming together.
For those unfamiliar with the game's premise, Medal of Honor Frontline is the latest installment in Electronic Arts' critically acclaimed Medal of Honor series, which began on the original PlayStation. You'll be thrown into the trenches as Lt. Jimmy Patterson as he undertakes a dangerous mission that could turn the tide of World War II. You'll infiltrate the German frontline amid the chaos caused by the Allied forces' Operation Market Garden offensive in order to steal the HO-IX flying wing, an experimental Nazi craft that would be an invaluable asset to the war effort. The game will span 19 levels spread out over six missions based on real events that occurred during World War II. Patterson's assignments will range from an assault on Omaha Beach to a deadly battle for control of the Nijmegan Bridge, which film buffs will recognize from A Bridge Too Far. While the odds may sound more than a little daunting, Patterson will be provided with some quality support. You'll find a respectable arsenal of more than 20 authentic World War II weapons, such as the Springfield sniper rifle, the Panzerschrek rocket launcher, the MG43 mounted machine gun, and the Browning automatic rifle. In addition, you'll get help from a small squad of troops eager to do their part.
The game will follow the same structure as its PlayStation 2 cousin and will have a linear progression between missions. You'll be briefed beforehand and given as much information as the Allied forces have been able to gather. Each assignment you take on will offer a variety of objectives that will grow as the mission progresses. At the end of each assignment you'll be awarded a medal based on your performance. Control in the game has been mapped out well on the Xbox controller and is responsive. You'll have the same control configurations as in the PS2 game--"MOH sharpshooter" or "classic"--as well as the ability to tweak each of them a bit to suit your tastes.
While the core content of Medal of Honor Frontline remains unchanged, EA has added a multiplayer game for up to four players, which isn't included in the PlayStation 2 game. Unfortunately it's a split-screen-only mode, which is nice, but we'd like to see some online Medal of Honor multiplayer sometime in the future. However, as an offline game, the multiplayer works well. You'll of course want to have as big a television as possible to make sure you and your friends can keep track of what's going on, but otherwise it offers a tasty experience.
Medal of Honor Frontline's presentation features some noticeable enhancements not found in its PlayStation 2 cousin, thanks to the extra muscle of the Xbox. In terms of its graphics, the game offers cleaner textures, sharper detail, and a few extra bells and whistles, such as an increase in particle effects and some color cues on distant targets to help aiming. We would have liked to see a few more Xbox-specific tweaks, but the fact that the frame rate is really solid, which helps make for a smooth experience when you're in a firefight, makes up for it. As far as sound goes, the game's audio is as immersive as ever and definitely contributes to some of the more insane levels. The orchestrated soundtrack, which is full of sweeping scores that are worthy of a good war movie, frames the action perfectly
From what we've played so far, Medal of Honor Frontline is coming together nicely. The game looks solid and plays well. The immersive atmosphere and story-driven gameplay definitely work well together. If you're a fan of first-person shooters, you'll want to keep an eye out for Medal of Honor Frontline when it ships this November for the Xbox.