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Nintendo Wii Review: Medal of Honor Vanguard

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Nothing can save the Medal of Honor franchise. From what was originally an innovative, involving and memorable first-person shooter has become a muddled mess with each entry. The latest has one bold idea, which is then shoveled under the mat for the disastrous core gameplay to take over. This is an embarrassment to EA.

As always, high production values attempt to shield the player from the incoming blows. The soundtrack is classic, opening moments stunning and the cinematics finely crafted. Everything afterwards is an unplayable mess.

Vanguard follows paratroopers, diving from planes into the battlefield at random spots. This is the only success for this latest sequel. Maneuvering yourself into combat with the Wii Remote and Nunchuck to steer is fun, if all too brief. It’s impressive in that no matter where you land after the jump, the game’s script continues on and always manages to stay on a strict story path.

Getting to those story points is the problems. The spot-on first-person aiming mechanics provided by the Wii are fine once you’ve found a sensitivity setting to your liking. Unfortunately, the programming nullifies this aspect of the game.

Even $10 budget shooters can handle collision detection properly. This full priced affair cannot. Apparently, your bullets are firing at Nazis in some other game as you waste countless bullets at foes that don’t know the meaning of death. At point blank, firing a shot doesn’t mean you’ll hit your target. It’s as if the bullets go clear through the models. You’ll need to fire twice the number of rounds you should to even stand a chance.

Enemy AI is meant to compensate for this or that’s the only logical excuse for why it’s sloppily implemented. Each encounter feels the same and you can predict the exact routines enemies will follow. They’ll shoot, take cover, peek out and then leave themselves wide open to line up their next shot. Worse, during some scripted sequences, enemies barrel down a street coming in waves in exactly the same spot each time. It’s worse than many space shooters from the 16-bit era.

The Wii version brings some other issues with it, namely reloading. Far too many functions have been mapped to the nunchuck, and you’ll find yourself ducking, going prone or doing a full 180-degree turn before the game finally registers that you’re trying to give yourself some offensive power. As with other versions, there is no online play either, inexcusable for a FPS regardless of the hardware.

Once past the brilliant D-day level in Frontline, Medal of Honor became obsolete. Vanguard almost is an acknowledgement of this, leaving this franchise for the dead or until a next-gen effort can help it rise back to glory in the face of superb competition like Call of Duty. It’s nice to watch Vanguard, but nearly impossible to play and enjoy. 

Medal of Honor Vanguard is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Blood, Language and Violence. This game can also be found on: PS2.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.
  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Aaron Auzins

    You, sir, are wrong … er, I’ve got nothing. I just wanted to complain before everyone else.

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    Brilliant Aaron, brilliant.

  • Ryan

    –Nothing can save the Medal of Honor franchise.–

    Not even a decent game?

    –The latest has one bold idea,–

    What bold idea??

    which is then shoveled under the mat for the disastrous core gameplay to take over. This is an embarrassment to EA.

    The gameplay is fine. The game is not an embarrasment to EA, who actually seem to be producing decent games at the moment. SSX Blur, Godfather to name two.

    –Unfortunately, the programming nullifies this aspect of the game.–

    Expand on this comment.

    –At point blank, firing a shot doesn’t mean you’ll hit your target.–

    I never had this problem.

    — Far too many functions have been mapped to the nunchuck–

    I did not find the nunchuck button layout to be a problem.

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    Wow. He’s back. Sure didn’t see that one coming.

    “Not even a decent game?”

    Been waiting for that to happen for five sequels.

    “What bold idea??”

    That would be the parachuting into the level at any spot. That’s impressive.

    “The gameplay is fine”

    It’s got a 50% from Gamerankings. That’s not fine.

    “I never had this problem. I did not find the nunchuck button layout to be a problem. ”

    You’re lying on the collision. It’s bad in both versions, and either you’re somehow not seeing it, or you don’t want to because it’s on the Wii. The nunchuck controls are even worse. Many sites even hated the aiming. It’s a standard set of complaints across the board.

    From Gamespot:

    “sloppy hit detection makes shooting big guns unsatisfying… It routinely takes two or three shots to register a hit, if it registers at all.”

    “and you’ll often wind up crouching or standing up at very inopportune times.”

    From 1up:

    “you wonder why you even bothered when a perfectly lined-up headshot fails to connect.”

    “The various controls assigned to snapping the Nunchuk different ways results in all sorts of inopportune dancing.”

    Gamespy:

    “Half of the time, it worked, the other half, we were better off expending a clip,”

    Eurogamer:

    “EA’s developers have also chosen to stick functions like reloading, crouching and jumping onto the nunchuck – with often tooth-grindingly frustrating results.”

    “although then you just get frustrated by the fact that weapons in the game don’t appear to be capable of shooting straight”

    I could keep going through Gamerankings and pulling more quotes like this, but it’s useless. The game is a mess on both systems it’s currently on, and I have little faith now for the next-gen version too.

    It’s a bad game Ryan, regardless of the hardware it’s on. Now, we’re still waiting for you over in the Earth Defense Force thread.

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    Well, I did post a full comment with quotations from five different reviews from Gamerankings in which they complain about the same issues with the nunchuck and the collision detection. I’m not about to retype all of that since it was lost. Needless to say, only one of the seven or so review didn’t mention the collision problem, and all of them brought up nunchuck issues. You can easily check that stuff out for yourself.

    The game is a dud, period. Wii or PS2, both versions share the horrible collision.

  • http://www.antequeravillarental.com Christopher Rose

    Matt, for some unknown reason the spam tool grabbed your comment but, as you can see, it has now been released from captivity. Sorry for the inconvenience.

  • Rryan

    Its sad that you choose to base your own oppinion of that shown within a variety of publications. Of these many publications the majority of them fail to have substance worth any value. If you want to base your oppinion on articles use EDGE, IGN or Famitsu.

    Vanguard is not the perfect shoot em up, but it does do justice to the genre. If you want a real shoot em up wait for Metroid, Red Steel 2, well.. you get my point.

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    “Its sad that you choose to base your own oppinion of that shown within a variety of publications”

    Man, I know. The majority of gaming sites happen to complain about the same issues I did, including the biggest sites on the net. I didn’t base my opinion on their reviews. That would defeat the purpose. I based it on my horrible play experience. Most of them complain about the aiming controls in general too, which I found fine once I adjusted the sensitivity.

    “Of these many publications the majority of them fail to have substance worth any value.”

    Well of course they don’t. They don’t agree with you, so suddenly they’re wrong, fanboys, and untrustworthy. It’s amazing how you can debunk seven different sites like that.

    “If you want to base your oppinion on articles use EDGE, IGN or Famitsu”

    IGN gave it a semi-favorable review, so of course you’re going to like them. Next week when they shred whatever Wii title you’re defending, you’ll switch allegiance to Gamespot. EDGE hasn’t reviewed it yet, or the issue with the review hasn’t made it here yet. Famitsu hasn’t reviewed it either as far as I know.

    “If you want a real shoot em up wait for Metroid, Red Steel 2, well.. you get my point.”

    Exactly why Vanguard should be skipped entirely. Why like this if it’s not, as you state, a “real” shooter? You just contradicted yourself, except for the anticipation of Red Steel 2. Ouch.

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Ken Edwards

    That 80 for Mobile Suit Gundam from Famitsu was the last straw. I don’t put much stock in them.

    And IGN seems to always have a semi-favorable review for most things.

  • Roshiyu

    To tell the truth, I have a few small problems, which none of you have talked about at all.

    That’s right, multiplayer. I had the choice of MoHV, or CoD3. MoH, although not my preferred franchise, won the draw with 4 players.

    I’m just going to put this bluntly.

    The maps are small.
    The spawn points are horrible.
    If you have improper settings, you’ll be spinning for a few seconds at each spawn while being shot at.

    Two players is rather boring. Simple search and destroy
    Three players is interesting, and mixes things up a bit. (Preferred)
    Four players is far to crowded.

    Nice simple opinion, take it or leave it.

  • MUNGUNCHUN

    I didnt have these problems on mine. I thought it was actually pretty fun. Its better than some fps.

  • http://blogcritics.org/archives/2007/04/06/130532.php gamer

    how do you save during missions?