Medal of Honor: Vanguard Wii
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Released on 30/03/2007
The Medal of Honor Vanguard development team continues to ensure that the ideals and integrity of the prestigious congressional Medal of Honor are accurately reflected in the game. The producers sought counsel from numerous expert sources to make certain the game is historically accurate and as true to the WWII experience as possible.
- True-to-life encounters test your strategies and reflexes on the battlefield.
- The Course of the Battle is in Your Hands Choose to run and gun in order to storm the Axis defenses, or use your sniper rifle to carefully pick off foes from behind cover.
- High-Fidelity Visuals Engage the enemy on the most visually stunning Medal of Honor battlefields to date. Listen Up, Soldier
- Your allies provide the tactical info you need to survive in an explosive and ever-changing war zone.
- Wii Specific Innovative Combat Controls Unique Wii controllers and Wii specific control set will be implemented
EA re-enters the FPS war...
The Medal of Honor series may have invented the World War II first-person shooter, but in recent times it’s been Activision’s Call of Duty games to really steal the Saving Private Ryan style limelight. Now, after a couple of years with only PSP release Medal of Honor: Heroes to the series’ name, EA’s original WWII blaster is back on home systems to try and recapture its former glory.
The main problem with reviewing, let alone purchasing, any WWII FPS is that there’s simply so many of them to choose from. To be frank, we’ve led our Squaddies through all the quaint European towns, open-field conflicts and defend-the-tower seat pieces anyone could ever need, so to stand out a new Medal of Honor is going to really have to pull out all the stops to be considered something special.
First impressions are good. The familiar Medal of Honor theme is back in rousing fashion, and the intro sets the scene with WWII footage, and narration from main character Frank Keegan, to good effect. Likewise the first in-engine cutscene proves evocative, and from the moment you’re sent barrelling out of a plane in mid-air, throws you straight into the thick of the action with production values aplenty.
Throws you straight into the thick of the action with production values aplenty.
The ensuing parachute drop forms one of the game’s most original aspects, and works especially well on Wii. Players tilt the remote and nunchuck (or analogue sticks on PS2) respectively to accelerate, slow down and steer their descent into battle. It’s a recurring theme throughout each new campaign, and mastery can lead to some advantageous level start positions with better firearms and such... but at just a few seconds at the start of each level, it ultimately it proves something of a short-lived novelty.
Sadly that’s a sentiment which prevails throughout the rest of the game. Initial promise often gives way to underwhelming familiarity, which, while enjoyable, can’t help but feel somewhat formulaic in an already overly-crowded genre.
The ten missions are spread throughout Europe, from Sicily to Germany, but rarely get beyond the established conventions of the genre; you’ll be moving amongst an intrepid team of troops that lack any real personality, mowing down Nazis, blowing up gun emplacements and generally meeting level criteria in relatively linear order.
That said, Vanguard is not a bad game by any stretch; it’s fast-paced, stylishly directed and does what it does very well indeed. The Wii motion sensing controls use the nunchuk analogue to move and the remote to aim and fire, and while slightly less tight than those in Call of Duty 3, work pretty well overall – certainly proving easier to use than the likes of Red Steel, for instance. The PS2's dual analogue setup meanwhile will be familiar to anyone who's played either WWII shooter series on the system over the years.
Pinned down by enemy fire you’ll be intuitively leaning around corners and picking off Nazis at pace.
What Vanguard does have going for it over Activision’s game is its aiming mechanics. Specifically, scoping in feels more useful, and you can really feel the bullets connect with enemy flesh. On the same note, the leaning controls are something which would be right at home in the majority of first-person shooters. Though scoping in does cause you to stand still, moving the analogue stick at the same time sees you bob, duck and weave with full freedom; pinned down by enemy fire you’ll be intuitively leaning around corners and picking off Nazis at pace; and it’s when you’re doing this that the game proves its most enjoyable.
This latest Medal of Honor is also not a bad looker, all things considered. Granted, anyone used to the high-def consoles won’t be blown away visually by Vanguard on either format, but on PS2 it more than matches its genre competition, while the Wii release looks suitably impressive for first-gen software on a system around twice as powerful as a Gamecube. Aurally however the game proves a singularly more powerful proposition; EA have always been known for their production values, and Vanguard doesn’t disappoint in terms of sound effects and a heroically epic musical score.
Unfortunately, Vanguard isn’t the longest FPS in existence – and though it matches CoD3’s 10 hour-long singleplayer campaign, it lacks the online option of Activisions PS2 release. On Wii however there’s honestly little to choose between the two WWII shooters, and fans of the genre will likely want to play both.
For everyone else, Vanguard is an interesting, if not entirely essential first-person experience. Its strengths lie in the same areas as its shortcomings; notably that it presents another solid WWII shooter rendition without really doing anything new. Ironically then, as much fun as Medal of Honor has been over the years, EA’s once pioneering FPS is now finding itself somewhat a victim of its own success.
- Another solid WWII shooter from the EA stable
- Controls on both systems work quite well
- Great production values
- Yet another WWII shooter
- Relatively short singleplayer mode
- Lack of multiplayer options
Review by: Mark Scott
Version Tested: Wii & PS2
Review Published: 12.04.07
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