reviews\ Nov 25, 2002 at 7:00 pm

Medal of Honor: Frontline - GC - Review

Released early this summer, Medal of Honor: Frontline was (and still is) one of the best first person shooters on the Playstation 2.  Now the game is making its appearance on the GameCube with nice results.  This version is almost identical to the PS2 version with the exception of a multiplayer mode.  The excellent atmosphere has been retained during the porting process, but unfortunately so were the game’s shortcomings, particularly cumbersome controls and inconsistent framerates.  Despite its flaws, Medal of Honor: Frontline is still one of the best first person shooters on the GameCube.


Frontline puts you in the shoes of Lt. James Patterson, a soldier thrust into Europe during the most pivotal part of WWII.  Oftentimes, you must perform missions without any outside assistance, leaving you to take on legions of Nazis on your own.  You must use your wits and the weapons at your disposal to help determine the outcome of the Second World War.


From the get go, Frontline lets you know just how immersed you will be.  The first level is D-Day.  You start out on a boat with many of your comrades, making your way to the shore.  Your boat soon gets hit, sending you and those around you into the water.  Under the water, you see and hear shells zoom through the water, leaving bubble trail and hitting soldiers.  You finally make your way to the beach and, amidst a flurry of explosions and gunfire, begin to play the game.  While this level of intensity isn’t quite this current through the game, the level of immersion and atmosphere stays constantly high through the whole game.  The one negative about the gameplay are the controls, which tend to not aim properly.  This makes it tough to hit even relatively close enemies unless you are holding down the Aim button.


The game’s multiplayer features, while a bit limited, are still a worthy attempt.  The game features two types of play:  Deathmatch or Team Deathmatch.  The multiplayer mode doesn’t have any new maps, just augmented versions of pre-existing levels.


The graphics are almost exactly like the PS2 version, which is both good and bad.  The original’s excellent character models and facial rendering have been faithfully retained, as have the muddy textures and erratic framerates, which fluctuate between 30 and 60 FPS even when the action isn’t very intense.


Sound has always been a field in which the Medal of Honor series has shined, and Frontline is no exception to the rule.  The sound and music are excellent.  The sweeping score accentuates the mood of the game.  The sound effects are great, the weapon sounds are authentic and the sounds of explosions and plane engines roaring overhead provide excellent ambience.


Frontline provides an engaging environment and nice gameplay to give an overall great experience.  While this version falls into most of the same pitfalls as the PS2 version, it is still a faithful port of an excellent game.


Reviewer’s Scoring Details


Gameplay: 8.5
Frontline gives the closest WWII console experience yet.  The game’s missions are varied and the action can be very intense.  The only minus is the controls, which can be pretty tough to grasp.


Graphics: 8.0
The character models are nicely done and very detailed and the lip-synching and facial expressions are very well executed.  However, the jumpy framerates and occasionally muddy textures soil an otherwise great graphical presentation.


Sound: 9.5
Frontline’s sound is excellent.  The music is sweeping, and the authentic sounds and ambience enhance the mood of the entire game.


Difficulty: Medium  


Concept: 9.0
The game’s atmosphere is incredible, and the engrossing environment really gives you a sense of being smack dab in the middle of WWII.


Multiplayer: 7.9
While a worthy effort, the multiplayer mode in Frontline is very limited and not quite what it was made out to be. 


Overall: 8.5
With good gameplay, amazing sound and absorbing atmosphere, Frontline is a great title not to be missed.  While far from perfect, Frontline is still one of the best first person shooters around.  Anyone would hasn’t played the PS2 version should definitely give Frontline on the GameCube a look.



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