Medal Of Honor: Frontline - A Restrospective


The gentle hiss of the galloping tides accompanied by distant echoes of thunderous clashes fractured the silence.

"And when he gets to Heaven, 
to Saint Peter he will tell:
One more soldier reporting sir -
I've served my time in Hell." 

Light flooded the once black monitor and on that moment I knew where I was.
D-Day, 1944.

Released in 2002 as the fourth entry in EA games' FPS behemoth, Medal Of Honor: Frontline reintroduced console gamers to the terror of warfare through the eyes of heroic American, Jimmy Patterson. Upon embarking on their journey against the German War Machine, the player was launched into the brutality of D-Day as they re-lived the fear their ancestors faced 60-70 years ago when brave soldiers awaited their fate to see what was on the other side of their Higgins boat's door. In Frontline's case, Patterson was lucky for he wasn't greeted with a hail of MG42 rounds with his name on them, this therefore fuelled the game and began the story as Patterson received a promotion following the traumatic decimation witnessed on the beaches of Normandy on the iconic day. In addition, Frontline was one of the few games based on a film and in Frontline's case, it briefly followed various scenarios seen in Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan - a WWII blockbuster delivering edge-of-seat thrills mixed in the authenticity of WWII combat.

The name is Patterson, Jimmy Patterson.
Being predominantly based around Patterson's move into the heart of Germany to take down factories, German strike-forces and iconic Nazi leaders, Frontline has missions ranging from the French countryside to the heart of Germany itself inside a secret Nazi research facility - thus, Frontline's environmental variation certainly was positive aspect of the game. Conversely, Frontline's biggest form of opposition, 007: Nightfire, saw the player tackle missions with thought and precision as the protagonist of 007: Nightfire was James Bond, a character famously known for his vast array of gadgets and special equipment received from his special MI6 unit named the Q-Branch. This therefore resulted in Frontline having very little opposition because for console gamers in 2002, it was either 007:Nightfire or Medal Of Honor: Frontline when the latter offered the most explosive action sequences out of the two.

The aspect of Frontline that made it so unique is debatable. After receiving positive reviews with scores ranging from 7-9/10, Frontline was universally praised by gamers and critics alike. With areas of praise spanning from the chilling yet immersive orchestral score by Michael Giacchino to the razor-sharp AI, Frontline certainly mastered what it could do with the PS2's technology at the time.

The soundtrack that accompanied each and every level in Medal Of Honor: Frontline was nothing short of spectacular. Composed by industry professional, Michael Giacchino, each level adopted it's own unique musical score to perfectly compliment the theme and atmosphere of the level in question. With extensive variety, Frontline has fast-paced, tense tracks and even slower-paced, sorrow-filled tracks that perfectly reflect the sense of victory defeated by the ultimate turnout of the level's battle.

'Your Finest Hour' opened the game with a BANG!
With highlights being levels such as 'Needle In A Haystack', 'Rolling Thunder' and the introductory level, 'Your Finest Hour', Frontline offered numerous missions with memorable qualities - certainly a positive when compared to modern FPS games with bland, generic level design. An area in which Frontline excelled was definitely the level design, although linear, Frontline's levels offered the player highly detailed, aesthetically pleasing and in some areas, interactive levels. Furthermore, the detailed levels were structurally varied with levels including tight, close-quarter combat to open levels which allowed the player to experiment with short and long range combat thanks to the multitude of different weapons at the player's disposal.

Never leave a control panel unattended...
The weapons available in Frontline were impressive to say the least. Giving players access to multiple highly detailed pistols, rifles, SMGs, LMGs and rocket launchers, the unique selection of weapons in Frontline added additional levels of immersion and allowed for different styles of play. Moreover, each weapon had different aesthetics, rates of fire and amounts of damage per bullet which persuaded the player to experiment with unique styles of play. Speaking of weapons, one area in which Frontline excelled was by convincing the player that they were the soldier taking on the Nazi tyranny. Everything from the difficulty, to the menu design and even the slogan on the back of the box stating "YOU DON'T PLAY, YOU VOLUNTEER" worked hand in hand to convince the player that they were the soldier taking on Hitler's collapsing empire. With regards to Frontline's difficulty the player had to rely on the innovative cover mechanism which allowed the player to peak round corners, tactics - in order to succeed care and precision had to be taken when executing a mission - furthermore, the vast array of weaponry also aided the player in their conquest for success - you can't go wrong with a Bazooka when taking on the Nazi War Machine! Thrills like this also helped construct the foundation of Medal Of Honor: Frontline by forming the basis for unforgettable moments. In retrospective, Frontline succeeded in doing so, the evidence? The abyss of memories I have with this game.

You don't play, you volunteer. Thankyou EA.
Graphically, Frontline was spectacular for 2002. With a consistent degree of detail throughout, Frontline wowed gamers of 2002 thanks to the PS2's powerful capabilities. Additionally, with regards to graphics, Frontline was head an shoulders over it's predecessor, Medal Of Honor: Underground, the 3rd and final Medal Of Honor game released on the PS1. Despite Underground being older, it still offered players with the PS1's best graphics, however, despite this achievement, Frontline still superseded Underground's graphics by a significantly large degree - this therefore was another point to Frontline that attracted gamers to it in 2002. After a very successful launch, Frontline did well to maintain it's legacy to the point of being hailed as "classic" by some gamers and even receiving a HD remastered edition on the PS3 in 2010. Both succeed in reflecting Frontline's initial success and help reignite the thunder that once stood by Frontline's side. Medal Of Honor: Frontline to this day is a much-loved FPS title and if you haven't experienced the joy that is Medal Of Honor: Frontline, then it comes from my highest authority that you try the game and experience it's magic yourself.


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