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Hopes and Dreams

Does EA's Future Rest in One Franchise?

18
July
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2010 was suppose to represent a time of change for Electronic Arts. They were going to change the perception of gamers that EA?s games lacked innovation and quality. The symbol of change was suppose to be one of their longest running franchises, Medal of Honor. The game was finally getting a much needed overhaul, starting with the time period the game took place in. Furthermore, EA entrusted two veteran studios to develop the game. The singleplayer campaign is being designed by EA LA, a studio with a strong track record, and the multiplayer is being developed by DICE, the studio responsible for the critically acclaimed Battlefield franchise. However, despite their best efforts, Medal of Honor has already failed to accomplish what it set out to do, which was to innovate and set a new standard of quality. A rare feat, considering the game isn?t going to be released for another three months.

Now, let me make myself clear, there is no one short of Jason West and Vince Zampella that wants to see COD dethroned more than me. With that being said, lets start with the criticism. First, I?m going to focus on the beta. EA announced that they were going to launch a multiplayer beta starting June 21st for anyone who was going to preorder the game. Now I watched the E3 presentation, and I was excited to take part in this possible COD killer. The beta launched successfully on the PS3 and PC, but an unknown ?glitch? is preventing the beta from being played on the Xbox. I can understand a day, three days, even a week to fix this supposed problem, but we?re now a month past the scheduled release and no Xbox beta is in sight. My biggest problem with EA is their overall lack of communication to the potential consumer. A beta in today?s gaming market works two ways. The first was is to allow the developer to make any necessary tweaks before the game launches. It also allows the gamer to give essential feedback to the developer on play lists, map designs, weapons, etc. The beta also is a time for the consumer to determine if they are going to purchase the game in a few months. The fact is, beta?s are not as exclusive as they once were. Thus, EA should be making updates on their progress regularly. If you go to medalofhonor.com you can click on their Twitter, Facebook, and Blog page. Why have all these social media connections if you aren?t going to keep your fans informed?


I play all major shooters on the Xbox, because I believe Xbox Live offers more for the hardcore shooter fan. With that being said, this past week I read up on some impressions of the multiplayer beta thus far. Most of the write-ups I?ve read have been positive, but they all state the same thing, Medal of Honor doesn?t reinvent the wheel. In the video preview of the multiplayer, IGN said ?if the two modes and maps are anything to go by this game is very similar to its recent predecessors. That doesn?t mean its bad, but you?ve probably just seen this all before.? When I heard this my expectation for this game hit the floor. Striving to be COD is not a bad thing, but often when you strive to replicate something, its never as good (once, again the exception to the rule is Battlestar Galactica).

The reason I enjoy Bad Company 2 so much is because it offers a unique experience to gamers. BC 2 has large maps, slightly different game types, and does a great job of blending vehicles into a first person shooter. Now BC 2 has some downfalls, the game has a natural delay that can be frustrating to shooter fans, and the dedicated servers have definitely had some ups and downs, but overall the multiplayer experience is quite strong.

My hopes for MOH multiplayer was for DICE to make a hybrid of BC 2 and COD. Essentially, a strong first person shooter with vehicles blended into the game, on the Frostbite engine that features destructible environments. I also wouldn?t mind a slower paced game with a little more strategy. Now that doesn?t mean this won?t happen, I know one of the maps in the beta features a Bradley, and other maps could feature a wider range of vehicles. However, in order for MOH to be the success EA is hoping for then it better have some serious tricks up its sleeve. I don?t see game reviewers giving the game a strong rating just because it tried hard. They already gave BC 2 a very modest review, because of their efforts. MOH will have to go above and beyond to get critical acclaim, and that is imperative for the success of the game. If the game doesn?t have strong reviews I don?t see gamers shelling over $60 to only play the game for a month (COD: Black Ops comes out in November). If MOH fails to turn the tide at EA, then hope will then be placed on the 2011 titles, which so far are all continued franchises, with the exception of Bulletstorm. So, will EA surprise with MOH when it hits shelves this October?

Take a look at the multiplayer preview by IGN.



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