Home | News | Reviews | Previews | Hardware
Medal of Honor: Frontline
Score: 93%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: EA Games
Developer: EA Games
Media: 1/0
Players: 1
Genre: First Person Shooter

Graphics & Sound:

June 6, 1944


The sounds of gunfire and bombs fill the air. You look to your left only to see a German plane sweep by your landing craft, strafing it with machine gun fire. Before you know it your craft has been overturned and as you struggle to gain your sense of direction, you notice bullets whiz by, leaving a bubble-filled trail in their wake. After you make it to shore, you notice other soldiers fighting their way to shore as well. You hear a familiar voice yelling for you. It is your Squad leader. He tells you to make it to shore and help cover your squad's thrust to the beachhead. As you run across the beach, explosions erupt all around you - sending sand billowing into the already foggy air. As the smoke clears, you see your fellow soldiers - some friends, some you never knew - lying on the sandy shore of the beach. Some are injured and cry out for your help, for others - it is already too late.

No, this is not the opening to Hollywood's newest WWII epic or a firsthand account of the D-Day invasion. These are the opening scenes of Medal of Honor: Frontline.

Everything about Frontline is epic. Whether you're storming Omaha Beach, running through a bombed out European town or traipsing across the windmill dotted fields of Holland, the quality of the visuals does an incredibly good job of pulling you in. A more frequent complaint I have heard about Frontline's graphics (mostly from Xbox/GC fanboys) has been the grainy, blurry look of the game. While this can easily attributed to, and is most likely an unfortunate effect of the PS2's limited texture ability, I enjoyed it. I thought it only added to the effect of a war-torn Europe. If you had bombs going off at all times over your city, as well as the biggest war in the history of mankind in your backyard, everything around you would have the same blurry, dirty look as well.

To add to the game's visual splendor, the ambient sounds of war fill the air as a fully orchestrated soundtrack plays in the background. It is just one of those things you have to hear to believe, but trust me - there is something really cool about walking through a quiet, abandoned town and hearing machine gun fire or planes in the distance.

'Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force: You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere are with you...' - General Dwight D. Eisenhower

This is one of those games that I like to think of as more of an experience than a game. Some games may be groundbreaking titles, but there are very few that draw you in as well as the MOH series does, and Frontline is no different. As soon as the camera sweeps into your landing craft during D-Day until the very end, the game not only delivers an incredible gameplay experience, but you may learn a few new things along the way.

Frontline does little to push the FPS genre in any new directions. In fact, it does little to push the MOH series in any new directions. If you have played any of the previous MOH games, there is a good chance that you have played this one. The thing is, I could really care less. Instead of trying to revolutionize the FPS genre, Frontline stays true to its roots and delivers a solid experience. Once again, you don the fatigues of Jimmy Patterson as he does his part in toppling the German war machine. As with previous games, Frontline takes place over a real life historical backdrop, Operation Market Garden. While Jimmy does not participate in the actual operation, many of his missions will closely mirror actual operations. Although this will make me look like the world's biggest history nerd, one of the more enjoyable things for me about MOH has always been that you actually learn things during the game. Between missions and during briefings, real Allied propaganda films show while your commanding officer's voice explains the historical backdrop of your missions. For players who allow the game to immerse them in the ambiance of the game, these pieces of information go a very long way in making you feel like you are part of something much bigger. Whether it's the previously mentioned films or just having other Allied troops on the field with you, you always feel like things are going on around you instead of the 'You against the world' scenario so many games stick you in.

The only flaw I could find was the lack of multi-player options. One of the best things about an FPS is the option to blow the hell out of your closest friends. While I have never been really big on multi-player options on consoles, (I hate having to use the split screen), it is still a major selling point for some gamers. One look at a TimeSplitters or Goldeneye's sales numbers should hammer this fact home. If anything, a 2-player co-op mode like the one found in Halo would have gone a long way.

I also felt MOH had very little in terms of replay value. Again, this stems from the lack of multi-player options. After I beat the game, I had no interest in playing again.

Medal of Honor: Frontline suffers from something I have begun to notice in several EA games - a lack of balance between difficulty levels. When playing on Normal difficulty, the game is very hard; yet, once you drop down to Easy, the game is a breeze. While this is not the biggest of issues, its something I hope will be improved in future releases.

Enemy AI is just as smart as it has always been. German soldiers duck behind cover and throw grenades back and do not act like the mindless drones of other games, making for some excellent firefights. These are only made better with the equally smart Allied AI. The first time you see opposing forces shooting it out in the middle of a bombed out city, your jaw will drop.

Game Mechanics:
Like the rest of the game, Frontline does not stray far from the control scheme set by the rest of the series. As far as the control setup goes, if you cannot find a setup to fit exactly what you want, then you have no business even trying. Most experienced FPS players will find the dual-analog controls a perfect fit while beginners will find comfort with the one stick setup. If neither of those suits you, Frontline offers a variety of options from which to choose. Since this is a more 'realistic' FPS, do not expect the same fast paced antics of other games. There are no speed bursts or rocket jumps - this is down to earth action. Some may dislike the slower pace, but I personally found that it added a little more tension to the game and added to the experience.

If you liked any of the previous MOH games, there is no reason you would not like this one just as much. Those looking for more innovation or over-the-top Death Matches should definitely look elsewhere. If you have never played a FPS or are just looking for a change, this is a great place to start.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

This site best viewed in Internet Explorer 6 or higher or Firefox.