Medal of Honor Heroes 2 - PSP - Review
The PSP is certainly not known for being the best platform for really great first-person shooters but there are games that made a worthwhile attempt and come close to gaming perfection. At the top of the list is EA’s Medal of Honor Heroes, a portable first-person shooter that was designed specifically for the PSP and handled decently enough. EA takes us back into the World War II frontlines with Medal of Honor Heroes 2, a sequel that surpasses the original and becomes one of the PSP’s best shooters.
The seconding outing in the portable Medal of Honor series puts gamers in the GI boots of Lieutenant Berg, an O.S.S. agent that infiltrates enemy territory to stop a new kind of weapon constructed under the supervision of Hitler himself. This V2 rocket has the potential of being a huge threat to the Allied forces and must be scrapped before it is put to use. This, of course, means you’ll have to battle your way into enemy bunkers, shoot wave after wave of Nazi soldiers and completing a number of mission objectives. The story, narrated by Lt. Berg and told through mission briefings, isn’t deep but it still conveys the feelings the Lieutenant had for the main mission objective and the need to see Hitler’s plan crumble right before his eyes.
The Lieutenant’s mission begins on the beaches of Northern France posing as a member of the 5th Rangers as you push through the German defenses on the beach. This is but the start of a short yet intense campaign that will have you infiltrating a port to destroy U-boats, join a platoon as they attempt to take a monastery being used by the Germans and join Baker Company as you help them liberate an enemy-occupied village. Like every Medal of Honor game, there are a number of bonus objectives to complete. Many of them are simple (gather important documents and other Intel) while others can be a little more challenging to complete (protect members of your squad or hunt down U-boat commanders).
Much like the first game, the fast-paced action will keep you on your toes and your finger on the trigger … that, in this case, is the right shoulder button. Yet unlike Medal of Honor Heroes, the controls in this sequel simply feel more responsive and thus keep the action flowing smoothly. The control scheme is familiar territory for a first-person shooter on the PSP but Heroes 2 somehow makes the controls work well enough that everything from switching weapons to tossing grenades is done quickly and without delay. Even the framerate runs smoothly so running and shooting or using the gun sight of your Thompson machine gun or your shiny .45 automatic pistol handles like a dream.
While the controls are a vast improvement and make the action quite addictive, the single-player campaign is considerably short to the point that it ends just when things get interesting. My biggest complaint, however, is not the length of the campaign but the behavior exhibited by the enemy. There are times when you will be impressed with the manner in which they provide covering fire for each another or applaud their good aim. Then again, it’s hard to ignore the fact that many of them will not move after you toss a grenade in their general direction and many of them will run out blindly into your line of fire.
Still, even with these problems, Heroes 2 offers a multiplayer mode that will definitely be a fan favorite and will definitely be the reason you will be playing this one for a long time. You can play the game with up to eight players using an Ad Hoc connection but the real action comes from playing online via Infrastructure mode. Online the game allows up to 32 players and you can play as the Axis or Allied side in game modes such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Infiltration (that acts as a Capture the Flag mode). Through the EA Nation service, you can even keep track of the players you went up against to invite them for future matches, kind of like a buddy list.
Visually appealing as well, Medal of Honor Heroes 2 looks excellent on the PSP widescreen and displays some impressive backgrounds and special effects. While up close the textures can look a bit muddy in places, from afar they look better than the original game in every way. Toss a grenade and watch your enemies get tossed back by the blast. Shoot an enemy soldier in the arm and he will not only drop his rifle but will also attempt to reach for it while behind cover. It’s a nice little touch that adds more realism to the series. While the game’s graphics are stellar, it’s the sound that takes center stage. The game’s soundtrack soars and brings the same beautifully cinematic score found in every Medal of Honor game. There are also some excellent sound effects that come out nicely through the handheld’s speakers and the voice acting is actually handled fairly.
Medal of Honor Heroes 2 for the PSP not only outshines the first portable game in the franchise but also manages to be a more than decent first-person shooter that fits comfortable in your hands. Its single-player game is a short but sweet ride back into the frontlines but it keeps good company with an excellent online multiplayer component that will have you playing for a very long time to come. If you’re looking for a great first-person shooter for your PSP, this is the game you will definitely want to pick up right away.
Review Scoring Details for Medal of Honor Heroes 2
It’s challenging to design a first-person shooter that would work with the PSP control scheme or the lack of a second analog stick but EA pulled it off nicely in this game. With great controls, the action flows more smoothly this time around and everything from aiming to tossing grenades simply work. It’s just too bad that the enemies are really dumb.
The graphics are a step up from the first game and everything from the backgrounds to the explosions really looks good on the PSP widescreen. While the character models are simply so-so, it’s hard not to ignore the fact that even your allies are all clones of each another.
Displaying the same amazing sound effects, voice work and soundtrack found in all of the franchise console games, the sound in Medal of Honor Heroes 2 is impressive to say the least. The sound quality comes off excellently even through the speakers but I highly recommend you play this one using earphones.
The enemy AI can be very inconsistent at times but you will almost always find yourself overwhelmed by Hitler’s best. While the enemy can be great shots, they will usually run out into your oncoming fire and a handful of them won’t even run when a grenade lands near their feet.
The single-player campaign could have been a bit longer but it does outshine the first Medal of Honor Heroes in nearly every way. The campaign does have some good mission objectives true to the console offerings. There’s offline and online multiplayer and it’s the reason you will be playing this one for a really long time.
The online multiplayer is the star of the show and for good reason … up to 32 players can take each another on via Infrastructure mode in three different game types. The good news is that the framerate runs as smooth as a baby’s backside. You can play through Ad Hoc as well and it’s capable of allowing up to eight players.
Short but satisfying, Medal of Honor Heroes 2 is an action-packed first-person shooter that handles it’s well enough on the PSP. Its few shortcomings are very noticeable but easily forgivable thanks to the solid controls, good campaign and excellent online multiplayer. Really, you can’t go wrong with this one if you have a soft spot for the Medal of Honor franchise.