For many of you, the Medal of Honor series has been a large part of the past year. With superb visuals, tight sound, realistic play, the Medal of Honor series ranks among the best first person shooters. With the release of Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, MOH was brought full force to the online gaming world. I don't think anyone can do anything but rave about how good it was.
Realizing the fanbase they had garnered, EA now releases the Add-on, Medal of Honor: Spearhead. You play as Sgt Jack Barnes, a member of the elite Airborne troops dropped on France in the days before Omaha Beach and D-Day. From there, you fight in many of the battles from that fateful day, through to the Soviet victory at Berlin.
Just like its big brother, Spearhead has an incredible soundset. Serving up one of the most immersive environments I've played, the sounds have a realistic and very characteristic weight to them. Very well done. Voiceovers are clear, and obviously done by professionals. Probably my only issue with the sound is between levels. We are treated to Sgt Barnes reading from a journal about his thoughts on war. These can be tedious and overly dramatic. I started skipping them after a while.
What can I say? MOH: AA showed us much of what the Quake 3 engine is capable of, and Spearhead pushes that edge even further. Especially with night time snow areas, you feel like you are there. Beautiful, it is difficult at times not to just stand and look around a bit. The models can be a little awkward, but they are fluid and accurate with movements. In cities and inside buildings, the textures can be a bit drab, as well.
If I have to mark off points, this is where I do it. Gameplay is much like Allied Assault. Well done and realistic. Spearhead seems to focus a lot on mounted weapons, it seems like every mission involves you driving in a vehicle shooting or grabbing an AA/artillery in order piece to win, as most of the time you will find yourself - alone pitted against onslaughts of armored attacks, which can be very frustrating. Spearhead does include new weapons depending on which theater you are in, the British includes the stein automatic rifle, while Russians have a new automatic rifle and a sniper rifle. You can also use smoke grenades. You can now mount 88’s, rocket artillery, tanks, half-tracks, machine guns and aa. Of course it is all scripted so you cannot just grab any vehicle lying around.
I did, however, notice some issues. Objectives were at times unclear. I found the game very confusing as to what was going on; it almost feels as if it is 3-4 different stories in one. As after you complete the first theater of war, you are suddenly tossed into Bastogne, a reenactment of the Bastogne scenes from the series Band of Brothers Episode 5. You will also visit places like Russia and Berlin. Scripting could be very annoying – specifically in the “Bastogne” mission, in which you must help hold the line against infantry and Panzers. Which brings me to the fact that the game is very hard. Even after playing Allied Assault all the way through, this game is markedly more difficult. I reloaded many more times than I liked on some maps. Snipers – one of the most frustrating things about MOH: AA – have not been made easier. You still rarely know where they are until you die and reload a couple times. This makes city levels arduous. At least you get to drive a tank again! As an Add-on, I don't think any of us expect an experience as long as the original, but this game is damn short. Three levels, with several maps each, I was able to finish it in less than six hours, even with many many reloads. Six hours, for many of us, can be one session. Freaks! Get off your ass and see the sun for god sake! Get a girlfriend! It is evident that the multiplayer experience is meant to fill the lack of replayability and short story.
Hey, this is Quake 3! Not a single hitch, as far as I saw. Look for a good ping, and you'll be fine! The expansion adds a respectable 12 new maps, and much better team play than the original. It's a blast!
I have a hard time with Add-ons. Especially lately when an Add-on could cost almost as much as an original game. Is Spearhead worth 40 bucks? That really depends on you. If you are a diehard lover of the MOH series, and spend a lot of time online in multiplayer, I would say go for it. If you don't enjoy multiplayer as much, I would say it is hard to justify 40 bucks for 9 relatively small maps of play. Still, this is an excellent addition to the MOH family.