(PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
When all else fails, make your game hardcore. You don’t even really need to define what hardcore is, you just need to create the impression that your game is hardcore and you will sell a jillion copies. This remedy is especially effective after a long running series has reached the limit of its originality and has begins to sully its own reputation. When you are coasting on the name of a game that originally debuted on the PlayStation One rather than building on that legacy, you need to consider a new direction. It happened for Castlevania (see previous entry on Castlevania), and more importantly to this game, it happened to Call of Duty (CoD).
You could argue, and not even argue very hard – that the CoD games were a direct response to the Medal of Honor (MoH) series. Granted, there have never been a shortage of World War II games, but Activision, the publisher of the CoD franchise and EA, MoH’s publisher have never been afraid to compete head-to-head. Now it looks like MoH is the one following CoD’s lead as it jumps the game into the present. And makes it hardcore.
The MoH games were never bad, but towards the end they became repetitive. The meager attempts at multiplayer modes never caught on, and the WWII setting has become increasingly stale. There are only so many Germans you can kill without it feeling like you are going through the motions, and the somewhat aborted attempts to relocate the franchise to the Pacific ended with a cliffhanger. A cliffhanger. In a video game that took 10+ hours to beat. This is a trend that needs to stop. Cliffhangers in TV shows are bad enough – it is fine to have a single story element carry on, but writers need to resolve whatever they have been working on too! Why would you build up to something just to screw over the audience and make them wait months for a resolution!? What’s wrong, are you terrified that your product is so bad that you want to trick viewers into supporting the show so they can badger the studios into forcing your renewal!? It won’t work because you suck! Anyway…
MoH’s newest entry drags the franchise into the modern, as you take the role of multiple characters in Afghanistan. You play as either a member of the elite “Tier 1”, or the “Big Military” and play through a campaign that includes realistic missions like rescuing hostages, raiding hideouts and other undercover operations. There is also a major focus on the multiplayer aspect of the game. The hardcore aspect comes from the decision to bring in real life military bad asses to show the folks at EA how the missions might play out in real life. Granted, odds are in real life the military would not send in one group or one man to go all Rambo and wipe out an entire insurgency, but you have to expect some liberties to be taken. For example, it would be highly unlikely to see a soldier running around with a rocket launcher while maniacally blowing the crap out of bad guys, but if you can’t do that in this game, it will be BS!