Medal of Honor Heroes PSP Review

There are many things to like about Medal of Honor Heroes… firstly it is a PSP game based on a big franchise that is not just a money grabbing port of the home console version – that’s an achievement in itself. Next it is a solid attempt at creating an FPS on the PSP – that’s a hard task though as the right side of the PSP is distinctly analog-less. Finally the multiplayer aspect of the game is one of the most impressive on PSP offering the crazy amount of 32 players online. Everything looks great and Heroes seems to be well one the way to ticking all the boxes of being a PSP must have so why in the blue hell do I feel so underwhelmed after playing?

Why Should They Go Out To Fight?

As with all Medal of Honor games, Heroes boast a story to back up all the fighting. The basic tale the game tells is not very entertaining but thankfully the way it is presented – through narrated black-and-white movie clips – is very well done. The basic story behind the game revolves around three different soldiers during WWII. The three solider on show are Sergeant John Baker, Lieutenant Jimmy Patterson and Lieutenant William Holt. If you ever played a MOH game before then at least one, if not more, of these names should be familiar to you. Each of the soldiers in the game get 5 sets of missions each which add up to fifteen war-torn missions to fight through. Each of the missions last around 20 minutes in length so basic maths will tell you that it should take around 5 hours to play through the single player portion of the game… plus or minus a few minutes depending on your skill level.

Big fans of MOH will know that the series is famous for well scripted events that take place as you battle though environments, but for the move to PSP these events are completely removed. Instead, Heroes adopts an objective based approach to propel you through each story with many of the missions being very basic. Most of what’s on show consists of starting at point A and then finding a list of items before reaching point B, thus finishing the level. As such, many of the levels in the game will give gamers a sense of Déjà vu as they are just a slight change from the last with the same basic layout to complete a level.

The biggest change from the console iterations of MOH is how Heroes controls. Due to the lack of a right analog on the PSP, aiming is now mapped to the handheld’s face buttons with movement devoted to the PSP’s only analog stick. Double presses of the face button let you move your reticule around a little bit quicker while two quick thrusts of the analog forward let you sprint for a few seconds. The right shoulder button then fires your gun with different directions on the D-pad used for changing weapons, reloading, and other context-sensitive options. Finally and rather weirdly, the select button is used to jump. All in all the control arrangement is probably one of the best the PSP has seen for FPS’s but still feels very fiddly and hard to get used to. Also shifting between the analog and D-pad to switch weapons is a bit jarring.

Evil Minds That Plot Destruction

Sadly, other than the controls there are other nagging problems on show which succeed in ruining the game just as you are trying to immerse yourself in it. The biggest annoyance has to be that even when standing behind solid cover (AKA a large brick wall) you can still get hit by bullets. This bug mostly rears its head in indoor sections when an enemy in a nearby room reacts to your appearance and starts firing off rounds which somehow results in some bullets finding their way through the wall and hit you. Any time the glitch happens – it happened over half a dozen times to me over the course of the campaign – it is really off-putting and sometimes leads to unfair deaths. Other problems are that the game is littered with many vehicles including the likes of tanks, planes and jeeps but at no point throughout the game can you use them. I realise most of them are there to help set the scene for each level but at times they seem to be just taunting you with their lack of mobility.

One smaller hiccup I noticed was that at times the AI would completely mess up with some enemies just standing still and not firing at me at all, just waiting to die. Thankfully this instance happened very rarely and I found most of the AI in the game to be relatively smart with some of them using a few tactics. I though this was a nice step up from the gung-ho approach of most action games I’ve have played on the PSP lately. Even though some of the enemies in the game still adopt a devil may care approach in regard to their live a good portion of them make smart decision by using cover and attacking in teams when trying to take you down which is very impressive for a handheld title.

Generals Gathered In Their Masses

If there is one aspect of the game the developers should be very proud of it is the fantastic implementation of online multiplayer as MOH Heroes sets a new benchmark for handheld multiplayer, with the option for up to 32 players to compete against each other. When playing online you need to use your PC as a game server … you can also set a password if you want to play with just friends. The first time you use this service you will no doubt be confused but it is relatively easy to use once you get your head around it. Once logged in, you are given many multiplayer options including one deathmatch option, the rest being team based modes such as capture-the-flag. The maps on show in multiplayer are also very big which means that you need to play against a high number of people or you will be running around with nothing to shoot at.

There is also the option to play with up to 8 players locally but each player will need a PSP and copy of the game as Gamesharing is not supported. For me finding 8 PSP owning friends is a task in itself, let alone finding 8 with the same game, so setting up a local game will most likely be a part of the game only a select few get to play. Finally there is a skirmish mode to let you play all the multiplayer options against CPU bots. All in all the online aspect of the game is one of the most fleshed-out on the PSP, giving you the option for some great multiplayer fun should you have the time to set it all up.

Making War Just For Fun

Graphically the game looks solid but lacks some of the bells and whistles seen in the console releases. Textures are okay but nothing special… they work well when you are caught up in the action of the game but don’t really stand up to close scrutiny. Bullets shot into the environment leave the most basic of marks on the walls and those marks will disappear after a few shots. If you were one of the few that tried to write your name on the wall in GoldenEye on the N64 but failed due to the first letter disappearing as you moved onto the next then you should know what to expect in Heroes. A few of the later levels also add weather effects to the proceedings and these also look nice. Probably the most impressive part of the game is that the framerate always seems to remain steady at all times. Audio is also well implemented, with fantastic high quality orchestral themes on show in the games menus. Weirdly there is very little music on show while entrenched in the action but when it does make an appearance it is of a good enough quality to hype you up for an upcoming fight. The sound effects from explosions and guns along with one liners from friends and foe are all a treat to the ears as well. Of course it is always best to use a pair of good headphones instead of listing to the audio through the PSP’s substandard speakers.

Wait Till Their Judgement Day Comes, Yeah!

Although MOH is a huge name in wartime FPS its PSP debut is no where near as impressive as its console based cousins. My biggest gripe with the game has to be control system – which is now the bane of many PSP action games. Even though Heroes is probably the best effort to create a FPS on the PSP, it is still not up to scratch and as a result feels more of chore to play than it should be. There is a small bit of light at the end of the tunnel though as if you are the patient kind of gamer and can put up with the less than accurate controls there is some fun to be had. It is a step in the right direction for FPS games on PSP but not the giant leap the genre needs to be successful on the format.

An entertaining handheld FPS but still is borderline on being a real pig of a game.

7.3 out of 10

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