Medal of Honor Heroes 2 Wii
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: Electronic Arts
Release Date: Out Now
Medal of Honor Heroes 2 is the second Medal of Honor game that we've looked at on the Wii. Sadly, the first game we looked at, Medal of Honor Vanguard, was a disappointment. The control system wasn't that great and the game as a whole was just not up to standard. Without hesitation we can say right now that Medal of Honor Heroes 2 is certainly better than Vanguard and is certainly a more satisfying experience. That's not to say it isn't without its problems however but it's definitely a big step in the right direction.
If you've played a Medal of Honor game before you'll find that Heroes 2 treads familiar ground. The game offers a choice of Campaign, Arcade and Multiplayer modes. You'll begin with the Normandy beach landing (on a far smaller scale here than in previous games however) and you'll also fight in a port, village and monastery etc. The single-player campaign plays out over eight missions and most will be finished within five hours. In defence of the game's brevity, there's nothing here that simply bogs the pace of the game down for the sake of it. That said it would have been welcome if the campaign had at least lasted around eight hours. Full support for the Wii Zapper has been included too, although whether this actually does anything to enhance the experience is debatable. Playing as an OSS operative you must infiltrate Normandy and attempt to undermine the Nazi regime.
Once you're done with the Campaign mode you might want to try out the Arcade mode. Here you'll play through the same missions but it plays out like an on-rails arcade shooter. Your character is moved automatically and you only have to concern yourself with aiming, firing and reloading. Ammunition is unlimited and the enemies come at you from every angle. Arcade mode is actually pretty enjoyable and a surprisingly welcome addition to the game. It's actually quite challenging too. It's just a shame that you can't play it co-operatively with a friend. If you're looking to use the Wii Zapper with the game then arcade mode is where it works best.
Much has been made of the support for up to 32 players for online play. Given that the PSP version of Heroes 2 supports the same number of players it would have been disappointing if the Wii did not have equal support. Thankfully the online play is actually quite good with Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Infiltration (a Capture the Flag variant) modes on offer. The maps are essentially those from the single-player campaign which have been reworked to make them more suitable for multiplayer gaming. The action is fast and flowing and it's a fair assumption that given the brevity of the single-player campaign, you'll spend much more time in the multiplayer mode than you will with the single-player portion of the game.
Perhaps the biggest improvement that Heroes 2 has made over Vanguard is the control system. In Vanguard there were quite a few controls that felt awkward and some of the gestures you had to perform with the nunchuk and Wii remote just didn't make much sense. In Heroes 2 we have a control scheme that's not only logical but also comfortable. You'll perform most of the actions instinctively but there is plenty of text tutorial information that explains how everything works. The timing of the tutorial information is a little off at times however. There were numerous occasions when tutorial information would appear a few moments too late (for instance you'd be told how to use a grenade moments after you really needed to use one), which is a little disappointing. In some areas Heroes 2 doesn't improve at all. The AI of your fellow soldiers and that of your opponents is actually quite poor. Enemies respawn until you've managed to reach a checkpoint, which kind of feels like the AI is cheating a little.
Graphically, Heroes 2 doesn't look as good as it could have done. Unfortunately it's another one of those games that makes the Wii look as if it offers no graphical improvement over the PlayStation 2 (never mind the GameCube). Your enemies simply pop in and out of thin air. They disappear when they’re shot too. This would be acceptable if we were talking about a PlayStation title but not for a console that came along a decade later. A lot of textures in the game look rather poor and the character models aren't as good as they could have been. At least the load times aren't too bad and the frame rate remains pretty constant but that's what you would expect given the lack of visual quality on display.
Support for deaf gamers in Medal of Honor Heroes 2 is best described as poor. The cutscenes are not subtitled. Mission briefings and objectives are shown in text. During missions there are icons to show you where you should be heading which is just as well, as comments from friendly soldiers are not subtitled. The game makes use of the Wii remote's speaker which can make things awkward for deaf gamers. There are radios that, when tuned correctly, will give information via the Wii remote speaker. At two points in the game you use a mine detector and the warning clicking sounds are given through the Wii remote speaker meaning that deaf gamers will be oblivious to them. Thankfully a red dot will appear on your mini-map when a mine has been discovered but it's far trickier for deaf gamers than it should be.
There can be little doubt that Medal of Honor Heroes 2 is the best Medal of Honor game to appear on the Wii. There's still plenty of room for improvement however and whilst Heroes 2 is on the whole a good game, it's certainly not one of the better Medal of Honor games that we've played. The developers have definitely found a control system that works well and I can't imagine future Wii Medal of Honor games doing any major changes to the control system. The Arcade and Multiplayer modes are welcome additions but they don't really hide the fact that the single-player Campaign is far too short. It may not be the FPS classic that many Wii fans would have hoped for but I think in the years to come many will look back at Heroes 2 and comment that it was the first FPS on the console to actually have a control system that worked well. Let's just hope that the next Medal of Honor game on the Wii is subtitled.