Although there's no firm release date yet for Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, we do know it's expected to launch sometime this year. To make an educated guess, I’d say sometime in the 3rd quarter.
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It’s pretty mesmerising to know that Medal of Honor first came out 20 years ago for the PlayStation One. The follow-up to the game was Allied Assault, which was exclusively released for the PC at the time.
Medal of Honor has come a long way since 1999. In fact, did you know - The original Medal of Honor game was only about 300mb for the entire game! Nowadays, especially when it comes to VR, you can almost convert those Megabytes to Gigabytes. Although Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond will take up a considerable amount of disc space, I very much doubt the game will be anywhere near 300Gb, I mean, that would be ridiculous! To give you some perspective - the largest game to date, size wise, is Asgard’s Wrath taking up a whopping 132Gb… Half-Life Alyx only clocks in at 63Gb, so given that Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond is a high fidelity game, we should expect the game to take anywhere between 50 - 70Gb of disk space.
Thanks to those who had the opportunity to experience Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond at Oculus Connect 6, we do know that the game is fully set-up to use walk locomotion as opposed to most games, where teleportation seems to be the norm - so expect smooth movement only, with turn options such as blink-turn, smooth turn and vignette. You’ll also be happy to know that you’re not entirely stuck to a locomotive walk, you can still run by using the left thumb-stick.
The game directors and game developers went balls-out to ensure that Medal of Honor went above and beyond as far as fidelity goes. Graphically the lighting effects, environments and textures are outstanding. So much attention went into every detail - for example; The enemy characters are all unique, in that their faces and their facial expressions are all different - even the Nazi clothing was painstakingly researched, textured and rendered to look authentic and as realistic as possible, right down to the shiny leather overcoats to the thick cotton trench-coats - the level of detail of the clothing is outstanding and probably the best you'll ever see, certainly in any modern-day VR game.
It’s no surprise the game plays as well as it looks. There were over 180 developers working on Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond and with 2.5 years in the making - I’m sure it will be much appreciated by everyone who plays it… we just need to get our hands on it.
Gameplay wise - one of the most important aspects of Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond wasn’t to develop a game based on realism as such, but more on the basis of authenticity. In the real world of gaming a single head-shot would render you dead and that’s no fun. This game is all about keeping it authentic without the loss of immersion.
Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond is everything you’d expect from a game of this caliber. You have so much freedom to move around. You can duck down behind objects to shield yourself from enemy fire and peer around corners and doors.
As with most VR games, guns are drawn in the normal fashion, either from the hip, for small weapons, such as the pistol, or the rifle from over the shoulder. In order to keep the game immersive, there’s no need to return the weapon back to its holding place, you simply drop (release the grip button) it and it returns automatically. Just like the game Robo Recall.
Reloading the pistol works by pressing the ‘A’ button to eject a clip, then reaching to the left side of your belt to grab a new clip, inserting it into the butt of the pistol. To further add to the immersion you’ll need to manually cock the weapon to engage the clip. The bullet count, capacity and remaining amount of ammo, is clearly shown on the side of each weapon.
The sniper rifle is pretty snazzy. As soon as you pick it up and hold it near your head the cross-scope immediately comes into view, providing you with a zoomed version of your focal area. As with all single shot weapons you’ll need to manually reload the weapon by sliding the lock bolt on the side of the weapon. The sub machine gun (SMG) works in a similar way - in that before it can be fired, you’ll need to engage the magazine in a similar fashion. The SMG isn’t the most stable and accurate weapon, but if you use both hands the gun becomes far more stable, increasing its accuracy.
There’s a new way to interact when using grenades. As well as the conventional method, using your hand to pull the pin before it’s thrown, you can also pull the grenade pin using your teeth. How cool is that! The throwing mechanics are pretty much spot-on, so you shouldn’t have any difficulty tossing one a fair old distance. In case you’re wondering, yes, grenades are stored on the front of your vest.
You can pick-up almost any object in Medal of Honor, most of which are inanimate and are just there to be awed at, essentially most of these ascetics are mainly used to cosmetically enhance the overall game environment, however, you can interact with some objects more than others. Knives can be picked up and thrown to kill an enemy. You can even knock-out or daze a Nazi soldier by biffing a saucepan at him.
Any FPS game wouldn’t be the same without some form of health mechanic. In Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond medical syringes are used to revive you. These syringes are stored on the cuffs of your shirt, the ideal place for quick access should you ever require a health boost. To administer the health serum it’s just a case of jabbing yourself while pressing the action button (‘A’ button).
Sadly you won’t have the chance to drive vehicles or fly planes as such, but you will end up as a passenger, observing what’s going on from within. Most of the common game mechanics we see in other games will be there, such as the ability to climb ropes, ladders, swim and throw knives etc.
From what we heard from the developers, Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond is expected to last between 10 - 15 hours as a single player campaign and have 50 or more levels, taking place in 3 different acts in a story-line based throughout Europe.
The game will most certainly have multiplayer but as far as Co-op, there’s been no real mention about that, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
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