A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Medal of Honor is an extremely realistic, intense, and violent military game that takes place in modern-day Afghanistan, a setting that might bother some families, particularly those with members currently enlisted in the armed forces. If war is a sensitive issue around the home this game might not be the best pick. The game's publisher, Electronic Arts, recently took out the option to play as the Taliban in the online head-to-head mode due to a public controversy surrounding the feature. Note that online multiplayer allows players to engage in open, non-moderated communication, which Common Sense Media does not recommend for younger players.
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What's it about?
EA’s latest first-person war game can best be described as a \"refresh\" of the franchise, as it now concentrates on contemporary battles in Afghanistan rather than storming the beaches of Normandy in the 1940s. The first MEDAL OF HONOR game in three years introduces the Tier 1 Operator, a little-known outfit of the National Command Authority, which takes on extremely daring missions. For authenticity's sake, the development team at EA Los Angeles studios have worked with real Tier 1 Operators from the U.S. Special Operations Community -- so, while the bearded characters and missions are fictional, they’re “inspired” by real people and events. Players use realistic weapons to shoot at enemies, move around deadly environments, and play online with and against others.
Is it any good?
Medal of Honor has its issues, but can still be an engaging play. First, the good news: Mature fans of military shooters, such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, will likely find Medal of Honor's multiplayer modes a blast to play. Up to 24 players can tackle special maps and modes designed for both solo players and teams, and the action is, in a word, intense. Addressing complaints before the game was released, EA changed playable enemies from "Taliban" to "Opfor" (an abbreviation of the term "opposing force"), though it might not be enough to douse critics opposed to a game based on a current hotspot. The graphics are top-notch -- especially during a memorable fight in the mountainous Shahi-Kot Valley -- and the controls are tight and responsive.
However, in the solo campaign the A.I. isn't the brightest (your computer-controlled teammates don't always have your back), it can be difficult to know where to go next to trigger the next scene. And even on the easy setting you can die pretty easily. That said, it's a very good military game that proves fun, especially online.
Online interaction: Much of the game is focused on online multiplayer modes that have players going up against one another in competitive and cooperative play. Note that this game supports voice chat, a feature that exposes the player to non-moderated conversations between players that may include profanity and bigotry, inappropriate subject matter, and the sharing of personal information.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether a game based on an ongoing war is a good idea. Is it "too soon" to create entertainment based on the war in Afghanistan? Is it irresponsible or insensitive to make a "game" out of a real situation in which real people are losing their lives? Or do you think this game shines a spotlight on the skill and bravery modern soldiers?
Families can also discuss how to stay safe while playing online. Parents can talk to their kids about what they might expect to encounter and how to deal with situations in which other players are using excessive profanity, spouting hateful remarks, or soliciting personal information.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.