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of Honor: Frontline
Score: 8.4 / 10
You know the game your friends talk about?
Telling you, “You have to play this one!” or looking at you with
contempt when you admit you’ve heard good things but have never actually
played it. Sometimes it’s a whole series that may be in question. For
me, this was Medal of Honor. At least now I can say, “Well, I played
Medal of Honor: Frontline,” and kill two birds with one sniper shot –
played a game of a series that has been built into legend status.
While Frontline by itself may not achieve legend status, it’s too good
to simply throw on the heap of forgettable or mediocre first-person
You play as Jimmy Patterson (armed with a variety of different weapons),
dropping into his boots just as he’s hitting Omaha Beach on D-Day. This
particular scene has received much critical praise and for good reason.
From this scene you realize what
The sound design is simply amazing! If you’ve got a decent sound system,
Frontline will rattle your bones and quicken your pulse. Bullets
ricochet, German officers shout orders, and distant but approaching
footsteps will set you on edge. The subtle and the thunderous combine in
such a way as to really make the gamer feel as the hero – and much of
this must be credited to the fantastic musical score.
As the “crusade” continues, Jimmy has to navigate many different
environments such as a German U-boat, the war-torn countryside, and a
bridge rigged with high explosives. Thankfully, the story – involving
Nazi development of jet aircraft – is such that progression makes
logical sense and levels aren’t as disjointed as they could have been.
The environments suffer a little (in terms of replay factor) in their
very linear approach, but it does help with creating some very tight and
well-designed levels that keep the framerate humming while offering
plenty of eye-candy.
Subtle nuances are everywhere, not the least of which is the movement of
enemy troops. When running across open ground, they weave in an attempt
to throw off your aim. They take cover, sometimes firing blindly around
corners or over obstructions. When they see a machine gunner has been
killed, it’s common for another soldier to break fire and make a dash to
man the gun. And they’ll throw grenades back at you. (What a surprise
that was the first time it happened!) They all look and move fairly
realistic – at least as far as videogames go – and it lends an element
of unpredictability to the experience. And thankfully, I didn’t
encounter any idiotic AI where a sniped soldier falls down dead next to
his buddy who acts like nothing happened.
The default control settings are okay except for the default turning
speed. Patterson can take quite a few bullet wounds, but it gets
annoying when you’re shot in the back because you couldn’t turn fast
enough. (You’ll be thankful for the almost too generous medial kits and
field surgeon packs lying around that replenish health.)
Being shot is par for the course during any war. Frontline has the
advantage of being able to save your progress between missions, so if
Jimmy does bite it you can spring back to life and kill more Nazi’s.
However, some missions are long, with death at every turn, so you could
be replaying some missions ad nauseum to the point of incredible
frustration. Even a couple of mid-mission save points would have
alleviated some of the frustration, even at the sacrifice of making the
Multiplayer is a thoughtful touch but it might have received more
attention if it was Xbox Live compatible. As it is, the split-screen
multiplayer modes can offer a welcome distraction on a rainy afternoon
or quiet evening, but it’s not the deciding factor when considering
Frontline for your gaming library.
As multi-platform first-person shooters go, Medal of Honor: Frontline
has much to offer as one of the most atmospheric games ever. It does
have it’s downsides, but it’s still a great game. Do what your friends
say. Play it!