Medal Of Honour: Breakthrough

Medal of Honour was an excellent game, it lead the field for a while, but the first expansion packs, Spearheard, was a curate’s egg. It had a brilliant scene where you dealt with some snipers in a snowbound wood, but was fatally let down by some dreadful sections where you could get killed merely for trying to go somewhere the game designers were too lazy to flesh out.

The second expansion pack, Breakthrough, which I’m playing now, has few redeeming features. It requires you to play the way the designers expect you to play. Flanking? Not allowed. Sneaking? Not allowed. Precognition? Required. The designers seem to assume the people who will play their product are stupid. So you’ll only enjoy this game if your IQ is negative.

You are forced to take a horribly linear route that a three week old mentally retarding baboon on intelligence suppressing drugs would know was damn idiotic; walking down an open path when there’s cover all around you—stupid stupid stupid. And linear, talk about liner…I know it can be difficult to design a game so it doesn’t seem to be linear, but at least the designers could have got off the lazy little arses and been BOTHERED. This expansion pack is so awful I found myself pressing buttons just to get to the next setting hoping there might be something better there, and almost always being disappointed.

Actually, there was part of one scene, when you’re wandering around a wrecked city trying to rescue parties of soldiers in a city, that had something to it. Not wonderful, still prattishly linear, but at least it’s got some atmosphere. Until the end, that is. Gordon Bennett; all the stupid assumptions of the designers, and idiotic AI strategy with it, combine together in one idiot scene.

You're rescuing some POWs, who are making a run for a lorry. They’re completely ignoring you, and your instructions to wait until the area is secure (which you can’t give), they’re just running at random. The Germans are all over the place, and you’re got to see and shoot them before they hit any POW (one dead POW equals failed scene). They’ve got rocket launchers, and, strangely, they don’t use them against the lorry to destroy the getaway. A not–so–bad build up makes this idiotic ending so unsatisfying. I’m convinced this expansion pack was designed in tosser city; there’s no challenge because it’s so f***ing stupid.

The point about games like the Quake series is that there were all kinds of tricks you could play, all kinds of alternative tactics and devious ploys available which made the game interesting. You didn’t have to rush in and be a moron with a gun, you could exhibit thought. That made the game enjoyable.

The trouble with too many recent first person shooters, especially this dismal Breakthrough, is that you are forced to run in and rush the enemy. Come on, if someone is being stupid at you, do you give up in fear? Of course not! So why should a game force you to be stupid to play it? You get no choice. You can’t use common sense. You can’t be devious. You can’t be a bastard. You have to be a prat. You can’t use tactics, just brute stupidity. You can’t be intelligent, you have to be suicidal. Do game designers understand there is no challenge in being stupid?

Still, there’s one positive thing to have come out of it. I’ve always wondered what the gnats employed by Anheuser–Busch did when they weren’t pissing in urinals making the fake Budweiser. Now I know: they design expansion packs for Medal of Honour.

Only buy this expansion pack if it comes with a free six month pass to a brothel; you’ll need something like that to take you mind off its utter dismal awfulness.

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