I’m going to admit it, when I first laid on my eyes on the Wii-mote and its nunchuck attachment, one thing went through my mind; First person shooters are going to rock. I couldn’t wait to try out the new control scheme, that would surely provide more precise aiming, and more realistic combat movements.
Then came Red Steel.
The Wii’s first FPS was a disappointment to say the least — it was almost impossible to aim, as the any flicker of your arm would cause the Wii-mote — and consequently your weapon — to move around the screen wildly. From this point on I looked with a weary eye to any FPS on the Wii.
Nintendo, you have been forgiven. Medal of Honor: Heroes 2, the latest in the long running WWII shooter series has taken the genre and turned it on its head, with responsive and tight controls, even if everything else in the game is run-of-the-mill.
If you’ve played previous Medal of Honor games, or 90% of WWII shooters, you’ll feel right at home when you load into Heroes 2.
You play as an OSS agent dropped behind enemy lines to find out what those crazy Nazi’s are doing and stop them. Throughout the game you’ll visit many locales throughout Europe, but you’ll essentially be doing the same things — shoot these guys, blow up that wall, shoot that guy, retrieve intelligence, shoot more guys. Perhaps even more troubling is the fact that it seems that the series has resorted to “borrowing” gameplay mechanics from other shooters, including the “clouded vision” health system from Call of Duty.
Sadly, the folks at EA’s Team Fusion didn’t decide to copy the AI from other series along with the other gameplay mechanics. The Call of Duty series features teammates and enemies that can at least hold their own, if not have a direct impact on the outcome of battles, while those of Heroes 2, along with the other Medal of Honor games before it, would make Gomer Pyle and Beetle Bailey seem like Harvard graduates.
While taking cover behind a some recently fallen shrapnel and exchanging fire with a group of Nazi soldiers, my teammates repeatedly walked, and stopped in front of said shrapnel, and turned to look at me before shooting at the enemies. It wasn’t much harder to outsmart the enemies either as multiple times I would be able walk right up to a Nazi soldier as they were firing at a teammate, and take them out as they never once turned to look at me.
Luckily, due to the controls, the game manages to feel new and entertaining in most spots. Oddly enough, most players will not be comfortable with the game’s controls right out of the box, luckily this can be fixed with one trip to the game’s robust options menu. Most everything (thankfully including many sensitivity options) can be tweaked and changed, and when you find your comfort zone with these options — it becomes an entirely new game. Combined with the ability to lock on to enemies easily with the Z-button, it’s easy to forgive the game’s occasional control hiccups when it does so much right.
Visually, Heroes 2 isn’t gorgeous like some of the FPS war games released recently on other platforms, but it’s no slouch either — especially when you take into consideration that it originally appeared on the PSP. Running at a smooth 60 frames per second, the animation in Heroes 2 stays fluid and realistic most of the time, but does suffer from small chugs and hiccups throughout gameplay. These hiccups are small and rarely take away from the action on screen.
The biggest letdown graphically is that the player models seem to have changed the least since the original PSP version. It might be a littler harsh, but immediately upon seeing them, I was reminded of Goldeneye for the Nintendo 64. Ouch.
While most WWII shooters are rather sparse on features, usually featuring only campaign and multiplayer modes — Heroes 2 aims higher with an array of exclusive features. Most notably is that the game gives players the ability to chose the Wii-mote and nunchuck controls or try their hand with the Wii’s newest peripheral, the Wii-Zapper.
Using the Wii-zapper proved to be a cool and interesting change to gameplay — for five minutes. After that, reality started to step in. The “light gun” threw off the entire control scheme that I worked so hard to perfect in the options system earlier in the game. Moving slowly and awkwardly, the Wii-zapper seemed to be more of a burden than an addition to gameplay.
These complaints subside a bit in the game’s Arcade Mode where the Wii-zapper is the weapon of choice. In arcade mode, players merely aim the zapper and do little else (think a less involved Time Crisis). While it has its own set of problems, including a troubled zoom and incredibly repetitive gameplay, it is a nice feature not seen in many titles of the genre.
Medal of Honor: Heroes 2 is not a perfect game — in fact, it’s far from it, but what it does do well, it does very well. Players itching for a tight controlling Wii FPS, with some added features not seen in many titles from the crowded should add it to their collection.
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Team Fusion
Genre: First Person Shooter
Players: 1-32 online
Launch Date: November 13, 2007