To stand out in the crowded field of World War II shooters, it is no longer acceptable for a game to just be good. Now don’t get me wrong – there are some really great ones out there, just look at the Call of Duty or Brothers in Arms series – it’s just that even when these games are exceptional, they still seem to leave us with that “been there, done that,” “deja-vu” feeling. Due to the flooding of the market, it takes a truly amazing game to break out from the pack.
Sadly, Medal of Honor: Vanguard is not one of these exceptional games. The latest in the long running shooter series, Vanguard merely sticks to the genre’s clichéd conventions and doesn’t bother to offer anything new to players looking for a unique experience.
The game does have an original story, placing you in the role of paratrooper Frank Keegan, but with it being essentially the same story as every other WWII shooter; odds are you won’t even watch the game’s cut scenes. Essentially the game consists of the same clichéd missions, with redundant and monotonous mission objectives that more often than not require you to kill Nazi soldiers, sabotage enemy supplies, kill Nazi soldiers and obtain valuable information from behind enemy lines. Did I mention you’ll be killing Nazi soldiers?
Vanguard would be on par with other WWII shooters if it were able to handle the basics, which proves to be a problem. More often than not Nazi soldiers seem more like 1940’s cartoon versions of themselves. Seriously – the AI is that bad. Enemies will take cover, only to pop their heads out mere seconds later as if they forgot what was happening. Perhaps the soldiers realize exactly how bad the game’s hit detection is and are willing to take the chance. It frequently takes multiple shots to register a hit on an enemy, but only one to take out you and your soldiers. Combine this with horrible gun physics, especially with the bigger weapons and you’ll be calling for a premature end to the war.
Like most other aspects of the game, Vanguard’s audio and visual aspects are – average. You’ll fight in the same old locales – fields, villages, and churches and truth be if you didn’t know what game you were playing – they would seem at home in just about any other WWII shooter. Like most other WWII shooters, you’ll hear your troops screaming to each other, as you will the enemies. Oddly enough you’ll also hear gunfire that doesn’t match up with the action on the screen at all.
Medal of Honor: Vanguard isn’t a terrible game. It’s just that the majority of the game is so mundane and average that the only part that really sticks out is the points that are below average. With so many WWII shooters available, some that still manager to brave new territory, there really isn’t much reason to pick up Vangaurd.