Medal of Honor was a great occasion for Electronic Arts, as a publisher, and developers at Danger Close and DICE that they could deliver a first person shooter that is close to the blockbuster level of Call of Duty but offers a twist on the experience.
The game has all the elements to be good: it is set in modern times on the battlefields of Afghanistan, it had DICE creating the multiplayer element and it was the focus of much pre launch talk linked to the Taliban and their depiction in game which has boosted its profile.
And the game even has quite a few thoroughly enjoyable moments, solid from a gameplay mechanics view points and loaded with a clear emotion, like the section where the player and three squad mates need to hold back waves of enemies as their cover crumples around them and all hope of rescue seems to be lost or the on rails sequences built around the Apache gunship and the kind of mortal threats it faces.
But it's entirely uninspired when it comes to how it uses Afghanistan as a setting and to how it tries to differentiate itself from Call of Duty.
The terrain of the country is well represented and has a bit of an impact on the gameplay, but Medal of Honor fails to deliver some urban settings to navigate and get lost in and fails to offer any sort of non-linear approach to any of the levels.
When it comes to being different, Medal of Honor also fails because it adopts all the worst tendencies of Call of Duty, like lack of control over trivial actions like the opening of doors and the brain dead Artificial Intelligence of enemies, who do little more than just pop up and shoot blindly towards the player.
It's likely that the series will get another game, but in order to make it worth the time of gamers, Electronic Arts and its chosen developers need to make sure that they deliver an experience that is as far as possible from this year's Medal of Honor.