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Medal of Honor: Above & Beyond Review - Back To Basics ... But in virtual reality

Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond Review - Back To Basics ... But in virtual reality

After getting lost in the limbo of the modern military shooter, Medal of Honor returns to its origins, with a new episode, exclusively playable in virtual reality, deeply rooted in the past. This new “WWII” FPS does taste like a game from the 2000s. But that's not necessarily a fault here. You see, it's been more than 8 years since Medal of Honor disappeared from video game radars, with its last episode - Warfighter - of sinister memory. Rated 11/20 in our columns, Warfighter sort of combined all the problems of military FPS from the 2010s, which failed to extricate itself from the shadow of a certain Modern Warfare. After a well-deserved convalescence, Electronic Arts takes the license out of the closet, with a desire to return to the basics, that is to say to World War II. But there is a twist since Medal of Honor: Above & Beyond is a game exclusively playable in virtual reality, via the Oculus platform, but also on Steam.  At the helm is Respawn Entertainment, to whom we owe the much underrated Titanfall 1 & 2 same as the game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. It should also be remembered that the founders of Respawn, in 2002, gave birth to Medal of Honor: Allied Landing, quite possibly the most significant episode of the franchise. We are also witnessing a double return home. divided into missions - which will take you to Normandy, Germany, Tunisia, or even Norway. Added to this is a multiplayer mode and a classic “Survival” mode, which will make you face waves of increasingly tough enemies. A rather complete program, also, even if the centerpiece remains of course the solo.

Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, great quality graphics scene made with Unreal Engine 4

BONER THAN 117, BUT WITH ALL THE SAME A LITTLE HUMOR

It is also in the shoes of a member of the OSS (you can choose your gender and your skin color at the start of the game) that you will take part in the deadliest conflict of the 20th century. Most of the time, however, you will be surrounded by companions in arms that Respawn tries to make as endearing as possible. There are thus the French resistant sisters Manon and Juliette, the very young English Ollie, the "Sergent" (who therefore has no name), or the Vino brothers. A whole small motley group of officers, young recruits, and civilians fighting against the oppressor, which allows an entirely first-person narration (VR requires) and briefings that consist of dialogues strewn with humor. The developers thus choose a rather light tone, assuming the "pulp" side of a scenario that connects the moments of bravery, the attempts of sabotage, and the leaks in vehicles. For realism, we'll come back, but we have to admit that the overall feel of the title, which looks more towards "When the Eagles Attack" than "Saving Private Ryan", is not unpleasant. On the other hand, one tickles in front of a model of faces ... strange, not to say perfectible, as well as very stiff animations, which slow down the immersion a little bit. And that's without counting on the dubbing, which makes German soldiers speak in English (even among themselves) with a slight Teutonic accent. When you were told that the spirit was closer to When Eagles Attack ...

In general, by the way, Medal of Honor: Above & Beyond is not a technical slap in the face. The sets lack details and vegetation, the lighting lacking finesse and the level of finish leaves much to be desired. I did encounter a lot of visual bugs during the campaign, such as that strange moment when my avatar's body - headless - was right in front of me during a whole cutscene involving a Nazi officer and an interrogation. On the other hand, the reactivity of the controls in virtual reality is almost irreproachable, making the progression and the fights very pleasant. It is possible to carry three weapons at the same time, accessible with a movement towards the right hip or towards the back, but also shots of adrenaline to heal oneself, which one administers with a sharp gesture on the chest and pomegranates that we will be happy to unpin with our teeth. Reloading weapons is also effective while still being very fun: grab a magazine from your left belt, approach it, shoot the butt, and you're ready to kick some Nazi. Special mention to the sniper rifles, which creates a very nice and natural zooming effect when you bring the weapon close to your eye. In terms of FPS in virtual reality, and despite a somewhat dull technical achievement, MoH: Above & Beyond is also rather successful. But beware: So I stay in the ultra classic, with a series of missions often quite short and very scripted, whose mechanics summon an “old school” spirit such as I could find in FPS of the early 2000s. Do not expect any weapon or character improvement system, or choice in your progression: here, you are there to kill Wehrmacht soldiers and Nazi generals, to the background of Hollywood music, and it is all. I also find Michaël Giacchino at the helm of the OST, which has no equal when it comes to composing great epic flights "à la John Williams".

The trick, then, relies on the placement of your bomb, which should be as vicious as possible. Because, of course, the opponent also has the means to defuse it if he finds it, and thus steal your points. The result is a good rhythm, and a little more subtlety compared to the very classic deathmatch. The maps are a good size, quite vertical, with a lot of alternate paths, in the spirit of what you find on a Call of Duty. In short, a pleasant multiplayer mode, but very classic if we except the mad bomber mode. It remains to be seen if the sauce will catch on and if there will be any active players remaining in the next few months.

Medal of Honor: Above & Beyond Review gameplay

RHYTHM AND FUN: THE ESSENTIAL IS THERE

This “old-fashioned” aspect isn't necessarily a negative, as it allows Respawn to focus on the variety of missions, which is a real strength of this single-player mode. In addition to the fairly varied backgrounds mentioned at the start of the review, I appreciated the different changes of pace and many gameplay variations. I will thus go from a sabotage mission in a French village to a bombardment by plane, through the methodical cleaning of a Gestapo headquarters or the theft of confidential documents. The slight "infiltration" part of the title is not really convincing, however, the fault of strange enemy behavior and scripts that do not always seem to be triggered at the right time. In any case, you never get bored in MoH: Above & Beyond, and that's the main thing. The fact that missions are short isn't necessarily a bad thing, as it makes it possible, one, to get into short gameplay sessions without feeling frustrated, and two, to feel like never do the same thing twice. And that doesn't stop the lifespan from being satisfactory, as it will take you between 8 and 10 hours to get to the end of the six chapters, depending on the difficulty level you choose. From the "normal" mode, moreover, the challenge is there, with enemies who spot you quickly and aim right. The title also offers a fairly clever system, which shows a variable number of stars above the opponents, depending on their level of threat. Faced with 5 German soldiers, you will thus eliminate as a priority the 3 or 4 stars, keeping the stars without stars for the end. A very “arcade” system, which naturally starts a little more realism, and which you can deactivate in the options.

Medal of Honor: Above & Beyond available for download on Steam

Medal of Honor: Above & Beyond Review Conclusion

Well paced and rather long, Medal of Honor: Above & Beyond is tasted like a good B series: the actors are not very good, the German accent is approximate, some sets are in cardboard boxes, but I take a real pleasure to wreak havoc on enemy lines. With its light and very “pulp” tone, its old-fashioned gameplay - but effective - and its mechanics well thought out for virtual reality, the title of Respawn is also, a good surprise, and this despite a visual component that would have deserved more. care. This is the kind of almost anachronistic FPS in 2020, but one that compensates for a certain lack of technical ambition with a nice generosity and missions that give pride of place to variety. As for the multiplayer, if it turns out nice, but rather anecdotal, it has the merit of extending the life a little more. So make sure you purchase your own copy of the game, just visit the Medal of Honor: Above & Beyond official website for all details, and please leave a comment below this post about your own experience regarding the game.

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