World War II is nigh! There are many WW II driven games out there, and Medal Of Honor: Frontline is indeed one of them. You take control of American soldier Jimmy Patterson as you help the Allied forces storm the beaches of Normandy, sabotage German U-Boats and eventually go after one of their very commanders! The funny thing about Frontline is that you are virtually all alone in this game. Only on very few missions do you actually receive support from fellow Allied soldiers. This game could almost be considered the Metal Gear Solid of WW II games because of how much of the game you have to do by yourself. You will rely a good amount on stealth tactics, as well as those run-and-gun maneuvers that allow you to have the guns blazing as you take to the streets of Europe! It is your duty to single-handedly help put a stop to the German occupation in the country, as you do what you’re commanded to do in order to sabotage their plans. Do you have what it takes to take on a whole war almost all by yourself, or will you cower in fear in knowing your death awaits you around every corner?
One of the greatest strengths of Frontline is indeed the very beginning of the game, but unfortunately what is experienced during such isn’t really distributed about the rest of the game. More on that later. Anyway, your first mission is your being a member of a small battalion on route in a WW II designed soldier boat getting ready to storm the beaches of Normandy! EA LA did an incredible job reenacting just what may have been that glorious day for the Allied forces. You see soldier boats all around you as well as the Axis occupation on the very beach, launching everything they have at you in an attempt to thwart your objectives! You will see mortar shells landing in the water around you, taking out various boats that are making their pursuit. You will be knocked out of yours, be a bit stunned underwater and witness all those bullets flying towards you and your fellow soldiers. You will eventually come to and regroup with your battalion’s commander. It is then your mission to help the soldiers already on the beach that are stuck because they are being fired upon by various gun turrets in the distance.
This did an INCREDIBLE job setting the tone for the beginning of this game, as the whole mission is very nerve wracking and adrenaline rushing, but like stated before, after this mission ends, that pretty much ends.
There are three different difficulty levels to choose from when first starting this game, and they obviously range from easy to hard. The frustrating thing about Frontline is it seems if you don’t choose the easy difficulty, you will have an extremely hard time staying alive. The enemy AI seems to be a little bit TOO good with their accuracy on the normal and hard settings, as you seem to find yourself getting hit a heck of a lot more than you really should be.
But nevertheless, Frontline functions as a traditional FPS. If you’ve played games like 007: Nightfire or the Timesplitter games, you will have no problems getting a hold of the controls on this game. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be good at aiming and such, but the main gameplay mechanics of moving and firing are common here. So after the first mission you should be just fine with the controls, if not after the first 15 minutes or so.
When it comes to graphics, this isn’t a department in which Frontline really shines. No, the game doesn’t suck with the graphical appeal, but EA LA could’ve made this experience much more authentic with the whole “WW II feel” if they had made everything a bit more polished.
A very nice thing about Frontline is every mission will take you to a very diverse amount of locations. Whether it be the beaches of Normandy at the beginning or the streets of various cities to the rural areas of Europe, you will see a good changing of scenery between missions. Now sure the diversity is all good and dandy, but where the problem lies is how everything was actually designed and elaborated upon. It almost seems like EA LA did just enough when developing the graphics for this game just so they could be passable.
When it comes to all the character models, environments and vehicles, they just seem too simplistically designed. Really the only things in the game that look very good are the weapons, but you see the same ones in just about every mission, so it didn’t really matter much. When it comes to player models, there is just WAY too much repetition. Except when it comes to the game’s few encountered village and city people, you won’t see much difference in the looks of your few allies or enemies. Except in skin color maybe, everyone looks virtually the same. That is saddening too, since it makes missions feel awful repetitive. Any person you encounter in uniform, they are bound to all look the same to you. Sure there are the few exceptions when see people that aren’t wearing uniforms, but it doesn’t make up for it much.
The environments you experience aren’t quite as repetitious, but they aren’t much better. It is very nice though that EA LA takes you to multiple different locations to keep the experience fresh, so at least you have that. But in reality, when it comes to the buildings and scenery, everything looks sort of bland. Sure you will see the war-torn Europe when going through the game, but it shouldn’t have looked as dull as it does. Some of the missions actually do look very cool, especially with Normandy and the impressive looking beach and water. Some other natural aspects like trees and grass can also look pretty decent for the most part, but it can be disappointing to see some parts of the game that look like they could’ve easily been on the Nintendo 64. But just keep in mind that not EVERYTHING looks underdeveloped. There are a good number of missions in the game, and some of them do indeed look very good. But for the most part, you probably won’t be quite that impressed.
The special effects and animation are rather cheesy too, but the funny thing is they can be rather entertaining to watch at times. Fire looks fairly realistic, and that is a definite plus considering this is a war-driven game. But everything else really just looks corny. Grenade explosions are just pitiful, as they neither look nor sound like actual grenades. Heck, even a stick of dynamite in real life could be considered more impressive than that. Then you have the fluidity of your movement as well as your enemies. Frontline seems to have taken a step back with what it’s like to actually run with a gun in a FPS. It doesn’t really seem clunky at all, but rather just a bit too restrictive. It almost feels like you might be running through the sand all the time because of how slow your movement can seem. But on the other hand, enemies move very well and take cover when they feel the need to. But that doesn’t seem to be very fair when it seems like you can’t do the same. The best special effects however, are definitely the firing of your weapons. It appears that EA LA put heavy emphasis on not only the authentic looks of your WW II-based weapons, but also on how they fire. Whether it’s your useful sniper rifle, your Thompson, shotgun or standard rifle, everything fires with impressive realism. There was something about hearing the shooting of the sniper rifle that just put a smile on your face every time that you did. It’s a good thing too, because you’ll find yourself using that weapon an awful good bit in the game’s missions.
But again, there are also problems with the death and destruction of various things. All too often when you kill your enemies, it almost seems like the game is trying to “think” for a few seconds if the enemy is supposed to die or not, because they take FOREVER to fall down! This can indeed be frustrating when you’re low on ammo and don’t think you’ve gotten your kill and end up wasting bullets thinking you didn’t kill the guy. Other noticeable things are the shooting out of windows and killing enemies on staircases. In regards to windows, it’s rather humorous to shoot out a window in an attempt to go through it, and then continuing your fire has you see the repetitive breaking of glass that shouldn’t be there. With enemies on staircases, especially in one mission that takes you through out a residential neighborhood, you can actually see them fall UPSTAIRS when you kill them rather then the “traditional” downstairs. While they are bugs in the game, they are indeed fun to laugh at!
Now I know it seems like I did nothing but bash the graphics in this game, but it was necessary. They certainly aren’t bad at all, just disappointing. They won’t ruin the experience of the game whatsoever, as stated before, some missions look very good, while most just look decent. The detail just suffered quite a bit in the design of everything, which makes most of the game appear repetitive in these aspects. It is indeed an authentic WW II experience, just not detailed enough.
Frontline definitely shines the most in the music and sounds department. In terms of the music, EA LA actually had a multiple award winning composer create the scores for this game. Whoever he was, he did an absolutely fantastic job in creating the game’s music. Along with the weapons featured in the game, the music also does a great job of making Frontline an authentic WW II experience.
The scores composed for Frontline could easily be considered some of the best ever done for a game, and it’s a good thing they were in there or else the game may have downright sucked. If you think of music being played during movies that depict WW II reenactments or even music played during “soldier marches,” you will have a good idea of what is heard in Frontline. Probably the best themes are the ones you might hear during movies when you are watching certain scenes of watching a lot of people die and the main characters are watching in horror. Or the themes that are played when there are those “last few soldiers” left that will give it everything they have in order to achieve victory for their side, and sometimes they are insanely able to do so! There are a few fast-paced and upbeat themes, but those are mainly used in certain missions in which your objectives are truly critical to the Allied cause of Frontline, especially for suspense purposes. They’re basically there to tell you, “Hey, you better keep yourself alive, your country depend on it!”
So for those of you out there that are WW II enthusiasts and would like to try out a game that has some of the best war-driven music ever created, Frontline is a great choice. It’s more than obvious that EA LA targeted those people with this music since what you hear can indeed be heard on tv or movies. But even with that probable reason, it’s great they worked so hard on getting someone with the talent they did for this game in regards to the music. It really helps to bring the authentic WW II experience to life. Even if some of the themes are repeated in some missions, which they are, it doesn’t take away the quality of it. Heck they could’ve had only three themes in Frontline, but if they were all of that quality, it still would’ve made the experience what it is.
Frontline also features a good bit of voice acting. You yourself will never say a word, but some of your Allied commanders/friends and various enemies or village people will indeed speak during certain missions. The voices were actually done pretty well, as they all sound authentic in dialect and tone. When you storm the beaches of Normandy at the beginning, your commander and fellow comrades will be shouting at you so you can hear them over all the mortar blasts and gun turrets. When you get into the meat of the game, you will hear the Axis forces shouting various orders and such to each other in German, and the dialogue was very well-done, even though you’ll most likely not be able to understand them. There are also a few missions in which you’ll hear various chatter among city or village inhabitants, and even though they too speak in a foreign tongue, it sounds just like it might’ve back in that era.
As for how the sound effects come off with your weapons and various other features of the game, they aren’t exactly impressive, and are probably the worst part of this aspect of the game. Most of your weapons do sound pretty authentic, especially the sniper rifle, Thompson and standard rifle. But some others like your Colt pistol, rocket launcher and grenades just sound downright pathetic. All those weapons just don’t sound like they have any power behind them, which is discouraging because it can almost give you a puzzled look on your face when feeling like a wimp using them! Now other aspects like gun turrets, trucks and airplane bombers actually sound incredibly realistic. Gun turrets are especially impressive as you can almost hear the “ammo belt” being strung through the contraption, which is very cool. Planes and trucks are sound good, just as if you would hear their engines and such in real life.
So despite the few shortcomings with the weapons, the music and sounds really do a great job of bringing the atmosphere of Frontline to life. WW II is the name of this game, and the music and sounds do a great job of taking that name and using it!
EA LA could’ve easily done better in the gameplay department to make this really feel like a great shooting game, but the controls just don’t feel right enough to make you feel that way. The core mechanics are most definitely there. You have the nice utilization of the analog and C-Sticks, but how it actually feels to use them can really make you feel gipped.
There are two controller schemes, and it’s probably best to go with the Sharpshooter mechanics since they emulate the controls of other FPS’s the best. You have your standard movement with the two sticks, the zooming of L and the firing with R. However, the problem with that is the feeling of how you move just doesn’t seem to be natural. Like stated before, the controls aren’t clunky at all, they just don’t allow you to feel like you might playing other FPS games. Your movement is awfully slow and that affects not only your navigation but your aiming as well! Really it almost feels like you’re stuck in a mode between walking and jogging, because it doesn’t come even close to feeling like you’re actually “running”. It affects your aiming too, both with or without a scope. When you aim using either of the methods, it almost feels like you’re pulling a 100 pound weight just to get it to MOVE to where you want it. That can indeed be annoying when you’re using the sniper rifle especially, because it can almost put you at a disadvantage when enemies you see happen to see you first. Unless you’re lucky enough to have the zoom go pinpoint on your enemy just as you’re doing it, it can be a hassle to move it to where you need it to be.
Also like stated before, it can be a real pain to determine whether or not you actually achieve a kill when gunning down an enemy soldier at times. Really the only weapon that allows you to be sure of that for the most part is the sniper rifle. When you nail someone with that, they either fall down a lot more quickly or just get completely knocked back because of the impact force of the bullet. But when it comes to using your Thompson, Colt pistol, shotgun, standard rifle or anything else for that matter, Frontline doesn’t allow you to easily tell whether you’ve killed your enemies or not. All too often when you hit them with those weapons, they will just make a slight “twist” in their body, and almost at a maximum wait of five seconds, you will see what happens to them next! To make things even worse sometimes, just when you think an enemy is going to fall to the ground, they manage to get right back up and start firing at you again! This can be annoying when you’re fighting a large group of enemy soldiers and you turn your back on people you thought you killed but didn’t.
One of the more entertaining gameplay mechanics in the game although, is the melee attacks. Pretty much with all your standard weapons, save the rocket launcher and such for obviously reasons, you can hit your enemies with them just like in Halo! This can actually be incredibly useful at times if you’re either that close to an enemy soldier or have run out of ammo and options for other killing methods. It is a shame that you don’t have any kind of knife to do this with as well, but it’s definitely a plus to be able to hit the Axis soldiers with your weapons. You may choose never to use it, or use it frequently. But you have to be careful though, as your enemies won’t be afraid to do it right back to you. However, you can actually take advantage of their doing it sometimes because when they try it, there is a small delay in their finishing the melee maneuver and getting back to firing again. This is your “window of opportunity” to strike them without fear of being attacked.
Frontline also features a multiplayer mode, but just like European Assault, there are no computer bots available to involve. But it’s not like it would’ve mattered anyway, because the whole mode is rather uninspired and more seemingly just “thrown together” just so the game could have a multiplayer element. You can have four people play in standard deathmatches, and that’s just about it. You can’t even pick different character avatars to use in the mode because they are preset to each controller port. You can change your name, team color and various game control options. Then when you get into the battle setup, you have to choose from a number of preset weapon sets which can feature a couple weapons to a good five at once. Then you choose an arena which is taken right from the actual game, and in a nice little twist, the music you will hear during such as well. But unfortunately, while there are entertaining moments during matches, they just don’t have much to them. You run around the arena, with already given weaponry and go after your friends. With the gameplay somewhat lacking like it is, the fun just isn’t really there for the most part. You can do various tweaks to the weapon set and such to make things more interesting, but when it comes down, you’re better off playing the single player mission as they have much more merit.
Overall the gameplay maintains the traditional elements of a FPS, which is a good thing, but doesn’t capitalize on them enough to make it feel like a really good shooting game. Your movement and aiming just feels too restricted to make it fun all the time, even though there are a number of entertaining moments in the game. But this is a WW II-based game, that was a time of desperation, and the gameplay just simply wasn’t there enough to help you get that feeling.
The end of this game, which is more or less the last mission, is a real doozy. You will find yourself pitted against a rather cumbersome looking force of Axis soldiers, because what you’re trying to do in the mission is something critical to their cause. So obviously they are going to do everything in their power to stop you right? This will certainly make for some interesting strategy on your part, because there really isn’t one moment in the mission when you’re not being bombarded or pursued by enemy forces. It is definitely an adrenaline rushing mission simply because you are fighting for one last stint of survival, and it will NOT be easy by any stretch of the imagination. You are there not only to sabotage a critical Axis war vehicle, but also to finally take out an established officer you are pursuing for a good majority of the game. It is a shame that only the beginning and ending of Frontline are the most appealing parts of the game, but hey, it’s something at least. It is rather enjoyable to see what you get to do at the end of the mission though, even if you can’t control it.
Medal Of Honor: Frontline actually has some great replay value, but only if you are motivated enough to go through what the game offers. If you manage to achieve gold medals in the game’s many missions, you are bound to unlock some nice goodies. Some of the missions are absolute cakewalks in achieving those golds, but some present a very good challenge. There are a couple missions in which it might seem rather impossible because of how brutal they actually are, but if you’re willing to go through with it, some nice things await you.
The multiplayer is also there, but in all honesty, you probably won’t want to be involved much in it simply because it’s not very exciting. Which will obviously in turn make you want to go back to the single player missions, which is where indeed the replay value lies. Plus the story you’re briefed through in the actual missions is rather intriguing, as you’re being depended upon so much which can allow you to really feel like an important part of the game. So it’s really up to you, the player, to determine whether or not you’ll actually go after those medals. It’s all dependent upon your accuracy, the time you take to complete the mission and how well you maintain your health. You can also gain war-based medals from the missions too, which is also a cool concept!
Medal Of Honor: Frontline was very much a valiant effort on EA LA’s part in creating a WW II-based videogame that really captured the whole atmosphere of that war-torn era. They brought in a great composer to deliver an awesome musical atmosphere to help you feel like you might be in a war-based movie, but everything else was rather underdone to make this feel like a really great experience. The graphics aren’t bad, but they certainly aren’t great, with suffering due to lack of detail and overall diversity. The gameplay doesn’t help either, with having core mechanics, but lacking elaboration making you feel rather restricted with some of the more important aspects of firing a gun. At least the replay value is there, because there can be a good amount of motivation to go after those medals and unlock all the game’s secrets and goodies, but only if you personally feel the desire to do so. It is actually a solid game, but it’s nothing special or spectacular. It can be entertaining at some points, but rather drab and dull during others. It’s a shame the beginning and end are the best parts of the game. If EA LA had just focused on what made those so great, the meat of the middle would’ve been a lot more enjoyable to bite into.