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PSP  header logo

Medal of Honor Heroes 2

For: PSP

Another trip to the beach

Product: Medal of Honor Heroes 2 | Developer: EA Canada | Publisher: Electronic Arts | Format: PSP | Genre: Action, Shooter | Players: 1-32 | Networking: wireless (adhoc), wireless (network) | Version: Europe
Medal of Honor Heroes 2 PSP, thumbnail 1
There are so many WWII games on the market now that we're approaching a point when it will take as long to play every one of them consecutively as it took for the war itself to transpire. During WWII, military casualties are thought to have reached around 25 million, while virtual casualties in single-player and multiplayer gameworlds must top that every weekend.

In a crowded sub-genre, no game has spilled more Axis blood than Medal of Honor. Despite the series' longevity, however (and if you'll allow us a momentary diversion onto home console territory in order to make our point), it's telling that Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is at the top of several 'game of the year' lists and Medal of Honor Heroes 2 is, well, just another Medal of Honor game.

Which isn't to say it's bad. On a platform not known for its success in the first-person shooter genre, Heroes 2 is a surprisingly credible effort, with a comprehensive set of multiplayer options accompanying a solid by-the-numbers single-player campaign. The downbeat tone of this review has more to do with the game's lack of ambition than with any fault it might have.

To understand what we mean, you need only know this: it begins on a beach. After a stylised, CSI-esque briefing in which a gruff voice informs you that you're going to be landing with the 5th Rangers, the level begins and there you are, by the sea with the same concrete bunkers, the same iron bulwarks, the same Nazis. It's like 1999 (the franchise's inception and the start of the WWII gaming industry obsession) all over again.

Over the course of four or five hours and seven single-player missions, you'll go on to visit a port, a city, some sewers, a monastery, a village, and finally a base, where you'll have the opportunity to thwart yet another virtual attempt by Hitler to unleash his dreaded V2 rocket upon the world.

Along the way, you'll carry out a range of routine acts. At the dock, you'll lay explosives on a submarine; in the city, you'll commandeer some AA guns in order to beat back waves of enemies. Wherever you go, you'll find papers containing vital intelligence. You'll use a Thompson, a Garand, an MP40, a few dozen grenades, a rocket launcher or two. In short, you'll replay every Medal of Honor game in the series and, crucially, it won't feel much different from Medal of Honor Heroes, the first PSP outing for the franchise.

Each mission contains not only primary but non-compulsory secondary goals, usually concerning the discovery of secret papers. If you're a thorough sort of person, there's usually a reason to replay a level once you've got through it once. Not only that, but you get a rather macabre breakdown of your performance after every sortie, including the number of headshots you've got and how many people you've killed.

If you go looking, you can even find statistics on how many times you've hit a left leg or a right arm, and when you reach certain benchmarks, like shooting 100 people in the head, you get a medal.

The control system takes some familiarisation, but EA Canada has made the best use of the PSP's uncooperative layout. Once you get used to it, you're able to navigate the levels with considerable precision and agility. While you fire with the R button, you zoom in with L, and from the very beginning it's all but necessary to zoom if you want to progress with any efficiency.

When zoom is engaged, the left and right directional buttons, normally bound to reload and change weapon, respectively, take on the function of leaning, enabling you to fire from cover. This encourages what the kids these days are calling 'stop 'n' pop' gameplay, a term that niftily describes the mechanic of seeking cover, clearing a path, advancing into cover, clearing a path, advancing, and so on.

Part of the reason this works is that the enemy is as conscientious as you are when it comes to staying hidden. While the AI is far from Newtonian, your virtual enemies not only run for cover but stay in it if their position is weak, forcing you to play aggressively.

Between the well-sculpted stop 'n' pop gameplay, the excellent controls, and the system of secondary incentives and rewards there's just about enough in Heroes 2 to make up for that fact that it doesn't really do anything that its ultimate progenitor did in 1999.

Where the Campaign mode is only a limited success, however, the multiplayer game is exemplary, with up to 32 players able to fight online in infrastructure mode, in six maps derived from those of the missions, and up to eight in an ad-hoc LAN.

Nobody's going to buy Heroes 2 for the multiplayer, though. While it's undoubtedly a well-equipped addition to the game, the Campaign is what really matters. The good news is, in a reliably workmanlike way the single-player game is good enough to warrant a purchase. The bad news is, the single-player game is just that: good enough, and nothing more.
Medal of Honor Heroes 2
Reviewer photo
Rob Hearn | 20 December 2007
In the unlikely case that you're a complete newcomer to WWII shooters, Medal of Honor Heroes 2 is well worth a look. However, it doesn't add anything to the series besides another reliably decent episode and a generous multiplayer game
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