Afghanistan, 2002. A bunch of United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group operatives turn up for a coffee-and-intel date with a local informant in a remote village somewhere. In a surprise twist, there’s some sort of setup, and the squad is ambushed by Chechen paramilitaries. One thing leads to another (mostly, a lot of bad guys get shot), and in another surprise twist, it turns out Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are evil, and must be destroyed. Team America is promptly dispatched to save the world.

I’m sure there’s probably more to the whole story, but I was so distracted by the beards and tedious, blatant propaganda, I just stopped paying attention. It’s kind of hilarious that there was such a controversy about the Taliban being a playable faction in multiplayer, while nobody seems to give a **** about all the political proselytism and casual Western sanctimoniousness of the campaign. Whatever, let’s shoot some of this week’s enemies of freedom, before America decides to make an arms deal with them or something.

So, basically, is it better than Battlefield: Bad Company 2 of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2? No. But since I’ve been commissioned to write about 450 words, here are some more.

Medal of Honor’s campaign is textbook “realistic” military FPS stuff. You go from one scenario to the next, shooting people with authentically modelled weapons, while taking implausible amounts of damage before dying and reloading the game, just like real life. Unlike, say, Modern Warfare 2, however, the campaign is bland and instantly forgettable. It’s not that it does anything wrong, mind you, it just doesn’t do much particularly well either. And just when you’re kinda starting to kinda get into it all, it kinda… ends. It’s also absurdly easy – playing on Hard difficulty was around the same as Modern Warfare 2’s Recruit or Regular difficulty, and takes only four or five hours or so to complete.

Then there’s the multiplayer. It’s pretty much Battlefield: Bad Company 2’s Rush and Conquest modes (here, Combat Mission and Sector Control, respectively), Modern Warfare 2’s Demolition mode (Objective Raid), and team deathmatch (Team Assault, in a surprise naming convention twist). The modes are obviously great, and the maps are actually rather well-designed, so it’s a shame about…

… the three classes, because despite there being three classes, apparently there’s only really one – sniper. The game’s been out a week, and already, it’s a sniper hell. Forget about getting anything done in Medal of Honor’s multiplayer, because just as you’re getting busy doing it, you’ll get busy being dead instead. Unless, you’re a sniper, of course. And I bet you play Counter-Strike too.

If you skipped Bad Company 2 or Modern Warfare 2 because of this, that, or the other thing, you might find something to enjoy about Medal of Honor. If you’re already playing one or both of those, don’t bother with this one.

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