Medal of Honor made the jump to the next generation and released the third game in the series titled Medal of Honor Frontline in 2002. Developed by EA Los Angeles, and published by Electronic Arts, the protagonist, Jimmy Patterson, of the original Medal of Honor returned. Gamers could now access the World War II first-person shooter for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Nintendo Gamecube. My Medal of Honor Frontline review was played on my PS2. Prepare yourself, because in 30 seconds we’re storming the beaches of Normandy in this Medal of Honor Frontline review!
Medal of Honor Frontline Plot:
If you’ve played the original Medal of Honor, you’ll recall our hero, Jimmy Patterson. He was already well-established in the first game but in Medal of Honor Frontline, Jimmy arrives in Europe the absolute worst way. He storms Normandy beach in one of the most brutal and important battles of World War II.
Jimmy survives Omaha Beach and begins to receive instruction from headquarters. His second mission is to sabotage an impressive new submarine that the Germans are cruising around in. After battling through some rural villages, Patterson sneaks aboard the submarine and destroys it. It’s here that he identifies Nazi officer Sturmgeist who becomes somewhat of a target throughout the game.
Patterson is sent to Holland next to rescue an important member of the Dutch resistance. Teaming up with a few other soldiers, Patterson leads the way as they take out tanks and enter a small city at night. He then infiltrates a Nazi fortress and rescues the Dutch resistance member.
His next mission is to cross a heavily guarded bridge filled with snipers and German soldiers. Clearing out the bridge is no easy task but Jimmy manages and the Allies cross the bridge the next day. Jimmy makes his way to another city where he teams up with a truck driver who drives him around town as Jimmy clears sections of Nazi soldiers. His real mission is to find out about the HO-IX, a new aircraft that the Nazis are working on.
Making his way onto a private armored train, Jimmy is informed that Sturmgeist is likely on the train too. Facing heavy resistance, Jimmy fights his way car after car to the front of the train where he blows up the majority of the train. Sturmgeist is able to get away by detaching the lead car from the car that Jimmy is on. Jimmy then takes the train tracks in a small cart to a large Nazi fuel depot that he blows up. He finds the hidden airbase where the Germans are keeping HO-IX and kills Sturmgeist before escaping in HO-IX just before the Americans bomb the airbase.
Medal of Honor Frontline Gameplay:
During my Medal of Honor Frontline review, I was excited to see what the series did on the next generation after beating the first two games in the series on the PS1. Medal of Honor scored quite well, where Medal of Honor Underground thoroughly dropped off in quality. Where would my Medal of Honor Frontline review rank?
Well, it started off promising. The opening level has you storming Normandy beach and it’s basically a rip-off straight from Saving Private Ryan. That’s okay because that’s an excellent movie and to emulate the opening battle scene was every boy’s dream at the time. After you wipe the puke from your face you’re thrown overboard as you struggle to make your way to the beach. Bullets zip by you all with extremely realistic sound effects. Large holes in the beach are blasted away by bombs being dropped by planes and the German machine gunners are brutal and shredding the Americans apart. It’s easy to get sucked into the hype and Medal of Honor Frontline starts off very well but after the first mission, it all collapses.
While I completed my Medal of Honor Frontline review on my PS2, it didn’t feel like it besides the opening level. The menu from the first two Medal of Honor games returns, and the mission briefing is the same. I liked the interactive menu, but the mission briefings are low-quality. Just some text and some old World War II footage. It was fine for the PS1, but the PS2 offered much more power. The entire experience of Medal of Honor Frontline felt like a slightly upgraded version from the PS1.
My biggest complaint by far was enemy soldiers. They look terrible, with their faces all blocky. I couldn’t tell if this was for the PS1 or PS2 and there’s no excuse as this came three years into the life-cycle of the PS2. What got significantly worse was the aiming. I felt very confident in the original game by moving my aiming target around on the screen. I knew if I had it on the head of an enemy soldier he’d get a death sentence. The same can’t be said in my Medal of Honor Frontline review. There were times where I was 10 feet away from soldiers and I’d aim at their heads and my bullets would whiz past them on the left or right. It felt cheap and frustrating but what’s even worse was how unrealistic the soldiers were with their health. Many times I put a bullet in their heads only to have them miraculously rise from the dead and keep firing at me. It didn’t just happen with headshots but with close-range shots with a shotgun or one of the most powerful weapons, the BAR machine gun. I understand taking a few hits to the stomach and being able to fight, but at times I plugged three or four buckshot to their midsection with a shotgun only to have them get back up. Terrible aim and ridiculous health made levels much harder than they needed to be. (I played on normal difficulty)
The Nazis also suffered from poor environment bugs. There were times where they’d walk through walls, or get blow up outside of a building and return through a wall. Other instances had them getting blown off a balcony as their body froze in midair about six feet off the ground. Medal of Honor spent so much effort to make the first level an eye-opening attention-grabbing experience but neglected the small details in every other level.
You have a rotation of weapons at your disposal but what I missed was just a solid rifle. I felt like you either were stuck with a fairly useless pistol, a sniper rifle that was a pain to look down the scope each time, or a machine gun that missed everything in sight. I made it halfway through the mission “Several Bridges Too Far” before giving up on how difficult and unfair the enemies were. This wasn’t an instance of “Git Gud” but poor gameplay mechanics of having every bullet you fire miss the enemy or do little damage. I quickly turned on invincibility and played the rest of the game on it. Sure, it doesn’t sound fun but playing the game without it brought very little joy.
There were a few bright spots in my Medal of Honor Frontline review. When you’re on the train, you can take control of tank cannons and fire at a parallel Nazi train. The best part of the game was a mine cart ride that kept you on the rails as you picked off Nazi gunners in a fun-arcade segment. I expected more from the finale of the game. Sturmgeist is easily killed as he doesn’t have any extra armor, special weapons, or dirty tricks and then you hop in a plane that you can’t control as you fly off. You receive a letter that says you did well and then that’s it. Game over, they don’t even show the credits. It’s safe to say besides the opening level, the presentation in Medal of Honor was quite poor. What stands out were the sound effects, and music but only they could take this game so far.
I first played Medal of Honor Frontline in seventh grade at my friend Sean’s house. He has an older brother who had the game and was showing me the opening level of where you storm Omaha beach. It was a cool experience and I remember being in awe of the graphics and carnage around me. Particularly, the bombs that lifted the sand 50 feet in the air were impressive.
We took turns playing it but I wasn’t very good at it so I’m pretty sure all I ever saw was the first level. It wasn’t until I renewed my interest in the Medal of Honor series that I properly played Medal of Honor Frontline. Boy, was I disappointed. I have every Medal of Honor game after Frontline in my backlog, and I’m nervous to play them after this one. The series needs to improve immensely.
Medal of Honor Frontline Review Score:
Medal of Honor Frontline put its best foot forward in the first level. If they took that same attention to detail and gameplay and stuck with it throughout the rest of the game, my Medal of Honor Frontline review would have been enjoyable. Unfortunately, the game is filled with buggy enemy soldiers who can take 10 shots to dispose of and an aiming system that is anything but accurate. Graphics look barely upgraded on the next generation, and the same presentation (or lack thereof) sours what should be a great World War II shooter. I fear that the first Medal of Honor is the greatest game in the series.
Medal of Honor Frontline scores a 6 out of 10.
What would you write in your Medal of Honor Frontline review? What was your favorite mission? How did you feel about the first level? Did you experience buggy gameplay as I did? Let me know your thoughts and comments, I’d love to read them.