Face-Off: Medal of Honor • Page 2

Tiers before bedtime.

In the case of the gameplay areas where PS3 MOH suffers, perhaps it's an optimisation issue, or perhaps it's simply the case that the combination of certain effects and environments during combat conspire to cause these drops, but there's little doubt that the 360 game isn't as impacted to the same degree, being generally smoother across the run of play.

Moving onto the multiplayer element, there's a very odd feeling about Medal of Honor: the core identity of the game just isn't consistent. A good single-player campaign helps prepare you for what is it come when playing online - in many ways it's an extended training level that entertains you as well as educates you in the finer nuances of the control, and how you can test the limits of the engine. However, there is an obvious disconnect between the two parts of the game in Medal of Honor, perhaps not surprising as Danger Close and UE3 bow out at this point, with DICE and its more impressive Frostbite tech taking over.

Frostbite on 360 works well in maintaining 30FPS, though the game tears to sustain it.

What you lose in consistency across the game you gain from the fact that a middleware engine has been jettisoned in favour of one specifically created for a state-of-the-art first-person shooter experience. You also gain the pedigree of DICE, whose years of experience in crafting multiplayer games is well up there with the likes of Bungie and Infinity Ward.

While there have been a range of changes to character progression, game modes and customisation when compared to Bad Company 2, it's difficult to avoid the feeling that you're playing a Battlefield offshoot. To illustrate, the hardcore FPS community were up in arms over the fact you couldn't move into a prone position in Bad Company 2, and the same limitation is in effect here - even though it is something you can do in Danger Close's campaign. Also, as noted in our coverage of the PS3 beta, the brilliant destruction model of Bad Company 2 has also been toned down. Movement appears to be faster though, and maps are smaller giving a more frenetic feel to the gameplay compared to BC2.

Multiplayer is still clearly the highlight both in terms of technology and gameplay. Indeed, in many ways the gulf between the online game and the single-player is vast when you look at the overall package - screen-tear is present in MP but the game is far more successful in sustaining 30FPS (on 360, for sure), even with clearly more advanced physics, more generous use of performance-sapping alpha, larger play areas, more destructible scenery, vehicles and of course Frostbite 1.5's spectacular audio engine.

As excellent as the multiplayer is, however, you can't escape the feeling that EA has scored a bit of an own goal by effectively launching a game more likely to share-steal from Bad Company as opposed to challenging Call of Duty, or indeed carving out its own unique space.

However, it's clear that the Xbox 360 version of Medal of Honor still provides a smoother performance level overall in the online modes. Large, open areas are more likely to incur frame-rate drops on the PlayStation version while the 360 game manages to sustain its refresh fairly well, albeit at the cost of v-sync. We do still see the same dithered "alpha to coverage" effect on 360 that we saw in Bad Company 2, but it is not as intrusive as it was in DICE's previous game. The performance difference between the two games appears to change according to the level you're playing, as you'll see by comparing the two videos - each captured from the same in-game areas in the multiplayer mode.

The Frostbite-powered multiplayer on PS3 remains very playable and plenty of fun, but the Xbox 360 is undoubtedly smoother overall.

Moving onto the PC version of the game, it is quite remarkable just how much better the single-player game seems to be compared to the console versions. Just the ability to engage v-sync makes a big difference to the visual consistency of the experience, and with higher frame-rates on offer, the sense that you're playing a pretty accomplished clone of Call of Duty suddenly becomes that much more apparent. There's a sense that the controls are heavier than Modern Warfare 2, but up against the console versions the swifter response time coupled with the mouse and keyboard option transforms the game.

Comments (125)

Comments for this article are now closed, but please feel free to continue chatting on the forum!