In fact, that feeling of stunted novelty seems to plague Heroes 2 in its entirety. It does a lot of very cool, very innovative things, I just wish those cool things would’ve been done in a fresher genre than WW2 FPS. After so many MOH games, you’re still toting around a Thompson machinegun and a Springfield rifle. You’re still tromping around in the bleak European countryside. And you’re still shooting Nazis.
The newness of the motion sensing features is dulled by bland familiarity. Heroes 2 has the same gray, brown and drab green palette that saturates all WW2 shooters. The graphics aren’t smeary or blocky—they’re actually quite good for a Wii title, but the art style has just been done to death. Even the subtle use of bloom lighting isn’t enough to perk up the environments. I know this is WW2 and all, but the atmosphere is supposed to make me feel desperate, not put me to sleep.
The same goes for combat—I’m tired of shooting soulless Nazis. They’re practically Imperial stormtroopers anymore. Apparently the Nazis were so evil that they didn’t even have blood, because after five or so games of shooting them, they still refuse to bleed. I’m guessing they are some kind of clone androids, because they all look, sound and act the same.
It’s my understanding that Saving Private Ryan touched off the WW2 FPS craze. If that film is the inspiration behind the MOH series, why don’t the games have the emotional impact of the movie? The MOH games have always felt clean, sanitized—a far cry from the grimy, bloody horror portrayed in Private Ryan. Fusion Team has pushed the envelope with Heroes 2, but the WW2 genre still suffers from monotonous convention.
What this genre needs is more innovation like the kind in Heroes 2, more features that make the experience immersive. Let’s ditch the Halo inspired (and completely unrealistic) recharging health—ducking behind cover for a few seconds won’t cure shrapnel wounds. Instead, how about making a MOH game that puts you in the shoes of a medic? Not only would you need to patch up your buddies, you might also need to do some “meatball surgery” on yourself. Or how about combat photography? Some of those pictures taken on the battlefield can move people to tears. Wouldn’t it be cool if you were the guy snapping those pictures? With Heroes 2 and its immersive controls, EA’s Fusion Team touched upon the potential still left in WW2 shooters. The rest of the teams at EA working on MOH titles should take notes on what Fusion Team pulled off.
In the meantime, I hope the important people at EA realize how talented Fusion Team is, and give them some creative freedom. They have certainly demonstrated their ability to use the Wii in new ways. I can’t begin to imagine what they could do outside the bounds of the WW2 genre. With a blank check, a fresh canvas, and the freedom to develop any game they want, these guys could create the Wii’s Halo. Keep up the good work, Fusion Team. If you can get me excited about a WW2 shooter, then I can’t wait to see what you come up with next.
If you aren’t bored with WW2 shooters, Medal of Honor Heroes 2 is definitely the one to pick up. Its responsive controls, online multiplayer and immersive use of the Wii’s features make it much more memorable than any other recent MOH game.
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