Medal of Honor Vanguard Review
Medal of Honor: Vanguard puts you into the boots of a US paratrooper taking part in four of the most notable airborne operations of World War II. Operation Husky is the invasion of Sicily, Neptune takes place in France, Market Garden is the famous ďA Bridge Too FarĒ operation, and Varsity will have you dropping into Germany itself. The game takes your role as a paratrooper seriously and youíll find yourself airdropped into your missions and using the Wiiís motion-sensing controls before you even pick up a gun.
I have to say that the parachute drop is a pretty cool feature, especially since the control is pretty realistic. You hold the remote and nunchuck upright with your arms raised just as if youíre holding onto the cords of a parachute. By moving the controls back and forth or tilting them forward and back you can control your landing much in the same way as you would a real parachute. Itís also a nice change of pace that you have some control over where you begin a mission instead of being placed into the same spawn point each time. On the downside though, the game doesnít seem to like setting a checkpoint after you land so youíll sometimes fight your way through the initial stages of a mission only to be killed and find yourself hanging from a parachute again.
The Wiiís remote and nunchuck make use of motion sensing to control most aspects of the game except for moving, which is done with the nunchuckís stick. You aim your weapon with the remote and it feels pretty natural to actually point at what youíre shooting at rather than moving a cursor around a screen with a stick. Pressing A will allow you to aim down your sights to improve your accuracy, or you can just wait for the aiming reticule to turn red to indicate that youíre on target. I wish that the game allowed you to swing the remote to toss a grenade, though. Instead you aim your throws as you do your shots and thereís not really any way to control the strength or arc of the throw. I had difficulty tossing the grenades up into windows or over obstacles with any kind of accuracy and had to pretty much restrict their use to tossing through doorways to clear out the next room.
The motion-sensing controls mapped to the nunchuck donít fare as well as those on the remote. The nunchuck can be flicked up or down to change your stance, but this is so unreliable youíll just use the nunchuckís buttons to do this. You can also rotate the nunchuck towards you and in to reload your weapon, but this is even more unreliable than the stance controls. Most of the time youíll just let your weapon empty and deal with it instead.
The missions are enjoyable enough and run through the standard gamut of objectives such as clearing bunkers and taking out big guns. If you manage to accomplish certain feats during the missions such as hitting your landing zone exactly or completing a mission without dying youíll be awarded medals for doing so. These are more than achievements to line your virtual medal box Ė in an interesting touch earning a medal will earn you an in-game bonus such as improved health. The game makes excellent use of chatter between your fellow soldiers and theyíll call out the location of enemy soldiers for you and provide suggestions on completing objectives or taking out enemy machine guns and other heavy weapons. It is a bit surprising that there are so few missions in the game. The four operations in which you take part are not large collections of missions, but essentially just long missions themselves. You can probably expect to complete the game in four to six hours and unless youíre motivated to obtain every medal in the game, itís not too likely that youíll replay the missions too many times if at all.