June 9, 2002
Medal of Honor Frontline - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
6/6/2002Electronic ArtsDreamworks1M15+Medium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
47KBDolby SurroundYesNoSmallNo

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The impressive beach landing.
There was a time when console based First Person Shooters were not only scarce, but also a shadow of their PC versions. With the Playstation 2 developers finally had the power to develop titles with enough detail and fluidity to interest console owners. Already the Playstation 2 has been blessed with great FPS titles such as Half Life and Red Faction, and now Electronic Arts' Medal of Honor Frontline joins in on the mayhem. While most other FPS's have fantasy storylines, Medal of Honor Frontline this game is based on the horrific events of World War II.

Medal of Honor Frontline sees you head back behind enemy lines with Lt. Jimmy Patterson. In this instalment of the smash-hit Medal of Honor series, Lt. Patterson returns and must use the confusion of the real-world offensive Operation Market Garden to infiltrate the German frontline and steal the HO-IX flying wing, an experimental Nazi weapon so powerful that it could turn the tide of World War II.

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Taking out the captain of the sub.
In keeping with the strengths of the Medal of Honor series, Frontline puts gamers in control of Lt. Jimmy Patterson as he carries out his missions during World War II. The game takes Lt. Patterson on 19 different missions ranging from destroying a German Naval base, rescuing a captured OSS operative from a Nazi held Dutch manor house, stowing away above and aboard a speeding Nazi armoured train, to disarming the undercarriage of Nijmegen Bridge, made famous in the film A Bridge Too Far. It's a great variety that has allowed the developers to include a wide variety of location and graphical styles.

Medal of Honor: Frontline opens with the following passage:

    "And when he gets to Heaven
    To Saint Peter he will tell:
    One more soldier reporting, Sir -
    I've served my time in Hell."
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The wonderful bridge mission.
Straight after that text the game opens with you standing on a landing craft heading for Omaha beach. As with the movie Saving Private Ryan as soon as you hit the beach it's chaos as machine gun fire from the top of the cliffs kills your friends and pins you down. You have to take out some of the machine guns in the bunkers to help out the advancing troops pinned down. It's no easy feat as the controller, and you aiming hair on screen move around with every explosion, which seem to happen every few seconds.

The variety in the weapons is quite impressive. During the game you will find Colt .45, M1 Garand, Thompson SMG, Springfield Sniper Rifle, Mark II Grenades, MP-40, Steil Grenades, Silenced Pistol, STG-44, Shotgun, Gewehr 43, B.A.R. (Browning Automatic Rifle), Walther P-38, Panzerschreck, and the Bazooka. Unlike most other games however you will have to plan your weapons as they take time to re-load. If you're heading into a room full of Nazi's it's a good idea to cycle through them to ensure they are all loaded before entering or you will be spending precious seconds trying to re-load while being blown to smithereens.

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Sadly, most of the doors are locked.
One of the coolest areas of this game is the variety of enemy reactions to events. Throw a grenade and some enemies will run away screaming, others will pick it up and throw it back at you. On a couple of occasions I saw the enemies run over and kick it away rather then pick it up and risk it blowing up in their faces. On a couple of occasions I have even seen soldiers throw themselves on the grenades to take the full force of the blast and save their mates. Don't ask me why. The enemy AI is fairly good, but no where near the brilliance seen in some other games. It's obvious that there are trigger points where, when you cross this invisible line, the enemy suddely notices you. It's often best to just pick them off with a sniper rifle. However the overall way in which enemies duck and attack in groups is pretty good.

Perhaps my biggest complaint about Medal of Honor Frontline is that it's just too linear. Walking through French and German villages you can walk past 30 doors in the street, and every single building will be locked. As limited as the Geo-Mod technology was in THQ's Red Faction the ability to blow away doors and use the sniper rifles from inside buildings is an opportunity sorely missed. Another disappointment is that the game has no multi-player options, not even a 2-player split screen mode. It's a damn shame as the game could have even been held back for online support in America in a couple of months time. As Medal of Honor Allied Assault on the PC demonstrated the online gameplay in such a realistic setting can be tremendous fun. Another disappointment is the beach landing mission. Ultimately a highlight of the game it is also the most disappointing mission in the small size of beach area which to explore. The entire mission is over in under 10 minutes, much less then the actual event and although atmospheric it ultimately leaves you wanting more, like another 20 minutes or so.

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In the Dutch countryside.
Some may find the graphics in Medal Of Honor: Frontline a little on the disappointing side. While the texturing and detail in the levels is superb, and the character models impresses, the game only runs at 25fps, a far cry from the 50fps, or even 60fps, which is becoming more common these days. There are also moments of slowdown when there are explosions on screen and the animation of the soldiers can look really strange at times. In fact the animation looks like some of the strange stuff you used to see prior to motion capturing so I'm not sure if they actually used any in this game.

Having got all the nasties out of the way there are some good things to say about the graphics in Medal of Honor Frontline. The first is the variety of the levels is impressive. One minute you'll be storming the beaches of Omaha, the next you'll be sneaking into and medieval castle, some time later you'll be sneaking through a train station and then you'll be running through the Dutch countryside. Electronic Arts really have spent a lot of time re-creating the look of different parts of Europe, and it comes off very well indeed.

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Check out the stunning architecture.
Sound is one area where this game really manages to excel. Everything from the music, speech and special effects are all second to none. Although Electronic Arts have only included Dolby Surround, rather then the DTS they are usually including these days, Medal of Honor Frontline is still an aural feast. The music is extremely impressive, and continues the epic and dramatic feel from the previous games on PC and PSOne thanks to composer Michael Giacchino. Sound effects, especially when played through a high-end surround sound setup (like mine) are simply breathtaking. From the machine gun fire on the opening EA logo to the last shot in the game you will be on the edge of your seat the entire time. Even the speech from the narrator, Colonel Hargrove, and the friends and enemies during the levels is all of exceptional quality.

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One of the more peaceful levels.
Medal of Honor Frontline is such a strange game to review. On the one hand knowing that the game is set in real locations, during a real war and with real situations will have you on the edge of your seat. It's exciting stuff. Unfortunately the game is a little too linear, lacks intelligent AI from some enemies, and really needs more exploration elements such as entering buildings while walking through city streets. Don't get me wrong however; First Person Shooter fans will love this title. It's fast and frantic and will have you coming back for more quite soon after completion. Medal of Honor Frontline is a solid game that should be considered by Playstation 2 owners.

GRAPHICSGood variety, average frame rate, average animation. It's neat overall.
87%
SOUNDSadly no DTS but Dolby Surround. Great music and sound effects.
92%
GAMEPLAYNot the best FPS ever, but the settings and locations are terrific.
82%
VALUENo multi-player, but the you'll play the 19 single player missions again.
84%
OVERALLFrontline is a game that is better then the sum of it's parts. The atmosphere, action and addiciveness will have you back for more. If EA had included multi-player, DTS and more options this could have been a classic. Still, it's very good and FPS fans won't be disppointed.
87%

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