EA bring another Medal Of Honor title to Wii, this time built from the ground up for the system and features the oh-so familiar style of the series. Although Medal of Honor might be a minor side-note on the CV of a certain Steven Spielberg the series has been very popular since its conception in 1999. Personally I tend to avoid war games, especially World War II titles as it seems to be quite a saturated genre, but nevertheless I felt compelled to give MOH Heroes 2 a try.
Traditionally Medal of Honor is a first person shooter, Heroes 2 is slightly different with the inclusion of an "Arcade Mode" which tries to implement an on-rails light-gun style mode along side the more familiar campaign FPS mode. Being a HUGE fan of light-gun games this "Arcade Mode" was what attracted me to the title, knowing it had Wii Zapper support only confirmed my expectations thinking EA had really pushed the boat out.
The arcade mode is exactly the same game as campaign, its just been heavily dumbed down; for example you have unlimited ammo and you need to shoot health packs to restore life. Action takes place on rails (you don't need to move the character yourself) and you perform all the primary objectives found in the campaign mode.
Sadly the developers haven't really pulled this off; whilst its an interesting idea, it really doesn't work that well and we end up with a rather weak arcade experience. Whilst most light-gun games are indeed shallow, this particular incarnation makes the likes of House of the Dead seem like a complex game.
The controls are flawed. For example, whenever you reload your cross-hair seems to be reset bodging up your aiming. AI is non existent as relentless enemies keep coming and coming taking up the exact same positions on screen. You can forget about using the Wii Zapper on this game aswell, much like Resident Evil and Ghost Squad, Nintendo's plastic gun housing doesn't really do it for me.
I guess its product of the genre but Heroes 2 only actually features one type of enemy, and that's a German with a gun. Whilst killing 300+ Germans sounds like good wholesome fun, it can start to feel very repetitive in Arcade Mode killing the same enemy over and over again. There's no real variety in the death animations either, and because this is MOH you can forget about seeing any blood or limb damage. In this series at least, war is a blood-free affair.
Playing through Arcade Mode will blast you through the 8 levels pretty quickly, you'll probably only die a couple of times as well. Obviously this mode has been designed for the beginner but it really doesn't add anything to the game, it simply takes away some of the better elements.
So having rubbished the Arcade Mode that actually got me interested in the game in the first place, it's a good job there are redeeming features present in campaign mode. This is a full story mode complete with cut scenes between levels and most importantly full control over your character.
Heroes 2 employees a pretty similar control scheme to the mighty Metroid Prime 3. Basically your looking around and aiming with the Wiimote and moving around using the Nunchuck. Unlike some publications I wouldn't say the controls here are better than Metroid, however they are certainly the best 3rd party controls for an FPS on Wii.
Campaign mode is instantly far more entertaining as you start to stalk your way around the battlefield, popping off Germans and then ducking for cover. When damage is taken during the heat of battle, your vision starts to get redder and redder as you near death. However if you manage to take cover and rest you'll be able to regain your strength and fight once again, which is not very realistic but this is the norm with FPS titles these days. The trusty medikit has all but vanished from these games.
Each mission has a short list of primary objectives which usually involve blowing things up or escaping from a German stronghold. Normally you have to fight your way through hordes of soldiers before using a special weapon to complete the objective, all of these "special weapons" employ gesture based controls with the Wiimote. The most note-worthy of these is the Bazooka: holding the Wiimote back over your shoulder and then triggering will propel a missile into the enemy! Most of these gesture controls work pretty well but can get a little boring, but with that said it is nice to see developers experimenting with Wiimote controls without going over the top, so well done EA.
So we've established that the controls are decent but what about the game as a whole package? Heroes 2 is a well put together game and its hard to pick proper problems with it. It's biggest downfall is its averageness.
The graphics are "okay" but are far from pushing the Wii's limits, again the enemies are "okay" but with very basic AI and very limited in variation it soon starts to feel quite samey. Whilst you can change between a few different weapons there are no other pick-ups to bring variation to the game, apart from getting a better kill count I can't really see why you would want to play through this game more than once.
The game also features a 32 player online mode, this again is good but only average... the usual Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch or Capture the Flag... not really very inspiring is it?
I've got to be honest now, the arcade-shooter mode is what got me interested in this game, and whilst this was a huge disappointment I have enjoyed playing through the game in its far superior campaign mode; something I didn't think I would really like. It's hard to ignore this title as a FPS because of its impressive controls its just a shame that everything else about the game is so average for the saturated genre, nothing new is here.
Heroes 2, as a light-gun game, is relatively weak. The vastly superior FPS mode has great controls with added intriguing gesture commands for special weapons. Everything else is pretty straight forward and average for the genre, 8 solid missions will keep you busy for a few sessions but after that your left with only an average online section. Fans of the series will no doubt enjoy it more than others, if your looking for a bigger and more immersive experience get your hands on Metroid.