Medal of Honor Heroes 2 «


Transplanting the smooth control and combat excitement of a first-person console shooter to the PSP is problematic, and not just because there’s no second analog nub. A shortage of ambition has often led to games that are little more than knee-capped ports of console cousins. Medal of Honor Heroes 2 doesn’t emerge from the battle with system limitations unscathed, but it does raise the bar in some key areas.

Enemy soldiers disappear before their death animations end, and you’ll see plenty of blurry textures more or less mandated by memory limitations, but Medal of Honor Heroes 2 still pushes the platform’s graphics envelope nicely. And even as pretty as the detailed world’s varied environments look, from an occupied monastery to a sea-side port, you’ll spend a fraction of the usual time staring at load screens. When so many games take ages just to bring up a simple spinning logo or progress bar, you have to wonder what dark magic Heroes 2‘s creators called upon to throw you back into the action so quickly.

You’ll need to tune yourself to the world to a certain extent, because none of the seven mission environments bear the organic hallmarks of most modern war games. Open beaches and wide fields are replaced with narrow strips of killing floor that fold back upon each other in layers, thanks to strategically placed crates, debris, blockades, and barbed wire that serve only to direct you from one waypoint objective to the next. This contrived and linear design seems anachronistic, but it keeps all the action planted firmly in front of you, thus saving you from dying to an enemy that slipped by simply because the controls wouldn’t let you turn around fast enough.

The trade-off is that though your German opponents look convincing, and killing them is an engaging variation of stop-and-pop, their playbook consists solely of charging out of doorways (or the occasional infinite spawn point), grabbing some cover, and peeking around it until they catch one in the face. It’s hard, then, to shake the sense that you’re simply sliding forward on the mobile equivalent of a fairground’s shooting gallery. Enemy grenades aren’t frequent enough to encourage a strategy more involved than leaning out from cover until your vision goes red and then ducking back to heal, secure in the knowledge that nobody’s going to bum-rush you from your hiding spot.


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