It turns out that the best thing about Yakuza 3, was its trade in value. Helping to account for half of the purchase price of Medal of Honor, the baffling tale of shirtless Japanese gangsters was for me, best left unrealised. Anticipation for MoH has always been high for me. The principal reason for this being the assignment of DICE to develop the multiplayer offering. Even if the campaign had been critically lauded (which it has not been), I thought it was a pretty safe bet that I would be spending far more time competing online with this title. Now, after a few days of play, I don't know what's harder to deal with: my disappointment, or the fact that I was wrong.
Medal of Honor is a mess. Now that you know, feel free to keep living your life knowing that better games will come along (better franchise reboots even). While there are some hints of promise littered throughout the campaign and in the online component, neither have proven to be essential experiences.
Medal of Honor's campaign is almost entirely derivative of the macho military formula found in the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare games; all the way from how the credits are displayed at the outset, to the obligatory deaths to illustrate the price of conflict and the way the narrative switches between missions. Now that I think about it, the final moments of MoH and Modern Warfare 2 are remarkably similar. Save for the boat chase and knife shenanigans at the end of MW2, you could argue that Infinity Ward are due writing credits. The action is also comparable to the MW games, with the same brand of awkward (though not as strictly enforced) stealth, lengthy (read: exhausting) set pieces and staggered pacing. It is also a remarkably short adventure, and while it ended exactly when I needed it to, it only lasted about 4 hours. I'd be surprised to see whether it lasted longer than Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, another shooter of questionable length and value.
I'll elaborate more on the multiplayer in my forthcoming review, but you should know that it does not compare favourably with either its direct competitor, Modern Warfare 2, or DICE's last offering, Battlefield: Bad Company 2. You may have read that it was somewhat unforgiving, and depending on the modes you end up dabbling in that may be true. In the case of Team Assault however I believe it has more to do with horrendous map design than a steep learning curve or realistic damage (more realistic than most, but still far from lifelike).
I'll try and invest a few more hours in the multiplayer, but I dare say that I will be trading in Medal of Honor before the end of the week. Has anyone else picked it up? Your thoughts?