A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
While the game does a decent job of recreating the experience of being on the frontlines of World War II, the real showcase is the documentary videos that show real WWII veterans recounting their firsthand accounts of the war.
The central focus is combat, though there are themes involving teamwork and cooperation. Recreating the WWII atmosphere also emphasizes some key reasons for the war and the motivations that drove soldiers to fight.
Positive Role Models
Players are part of the Allied forces during WWII, working missions to help defeat Nazi Germany. The real heroes though are the actual veterans interviewed for the game. These are the people that lived through the war to tell their firsthand accounting of the experience. It's often a sobering view of the war and the personal courage that went into fighting.
Ease of Play
Although the basics of the controls should feel familiar to anyone with first-person shooters, there's still a level of awkwardness that requires patience and practice. Using the game's older weapons and sights can strain the eyes in VR. Also, outside of the easiest difficulty, the enemy AI seems to be made up of uncannily accurate sharpshooters.
Violence & Scariness
This is a generally realistic look at combat in wartime. Players use period accurate weapons, including rifles, pistols, machine guns, grenades, and more against Nazi opposition. There are realistic cries of pain, large amounts of blood, and some cinematics show even more graphic depictions of things like executions.
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Some profanity, including "f--k" and "a--hole" appear in the dialogue.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond is a World War II-based, virtual reality, first-person shooter game, available for download on Windows-based computers using the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or Valve Index virtual reality hardware. Players take on the role of an agent in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the World War II precursor to the present-day Central Intelligence Agency. Players take part in various operations throughout war-torn Europe, including sabotaging Nazi bases and aiding the French Resistance. The game includes both single player and multiplayer gameplay, with players using period accurate weapons against enemy soldiers. Violence is presented in a realistic way, including blood splatter, explosions, and dead bodies, with some cutscenes showing even more graphic portrayals of violence. The game's dialogue is peppered with profanity, including "f--k," "a--hole," and more. Finally, the game includes documentary style interviews with actual World War II veterans recounting their personal stories from fighting in the war.
Is It Any Good?
While virtual reality gaming has come a long way in recent years, moving past the days of being a gimmicky fad and into the realm of top tier gaming, this title's issues keep it from getting any medals. Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond is EA's attempt to bring a true console experience to VR while returning to its WWII roots, trying to breathe new life into the franchise. On the surface, it seems like it would hit the mark. The game requires some heavy-duty computer hardware to power its virtual WWII environments. The controls are intuitive enough to feel natural, recreating the feel of firing off some period accurate firearms. There's both a substantially meaty single-player campaign and a fast-paced multiplayer component. And to drive it all home, there's the unique documentary style interviews with real-life WWII veterans recounting their personal tales and adding an extra emotion punch to the experience. But while all the pieces seem to be there, they unfortunately never quite fit together just right.
For starters, while the high system requirements help to make the game look sharp and detailed, the character animations look stiff and awkward when they move. They're less like people and more like wooden mannequins. Other visual hiccups pop up from time to time, but usually they're little more than the occasional odd distraction. One frustrating thing about the gameplay is the enemy's uncanny accuracy. While you might have trouble lining up the perfect shot to take out a sniper in the distance, they seem to have no problems picking you off at range. And even though the multiplayer is fun, finding a full group of people to play with is a rarity. In most cases, the game fills empty slots with AI bots which are either completely clueless or ace sharpshooters. Either way, it's a far cry from fighting against live opponents. All told, Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond is a decent WWII shooter that stops short of being either above or beyond other VR shooters.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.