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All-out war.

Byline: Steve Wollaston

THINK back to the Beatles vs The Stones, Ali vs Frazier, Blur v Oasis, FIFA v Pro Evo. Rivalries exist in every walk of life.

Usually they exist because both are popular and one has something the other doesn't.

There is no doubt that Call Of Duty has a firm grip on the FPS shooter market, it has become a huge part of popular culture.

It seems that everyone plays COD and everyone knows it, it is seen by many as the ultimate online game.

EA have seen this huge success and upped their game, and when EA up their game they are a dangerous enemy.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 and now Medal of Honour are clear indications that they won't let COD have it easy.

This is a really top effort from EA which sees them strip down the game and build it back up from scratch.

For the first time the game leaves the World War 2 setting and instead bases itself in war torn Afghanistan.

This move has in itself caused a huge amount of controversy, luckily I don't have enough column inches here to debate it.

THE This is a seriously gritty game that goes straight VERDICT for the jugular with no holds barred. Medal Honour Let's face it, war ain't pretty and this game reflects that well.

Interestingly the game is split between two developers with the singleplayer campaign developed by Danger Close and multiplayer by Dice.

That certainly seems to give the game a real sense of intense focus and a lot of work has gone into each area.

You take control of US Army Rangers and Tier 1 Elite Ops Special Forces deep inside enemy lines in Taliban territory.

It has been developed in collaboration with special forces soldiers and the emphasis truly is on recreating the experience of war. Former SAS man and Gulf War survivor Chris Ryan has been heavily involved.

He recently praised the game for BIG of its authenticity saying: ''Visually, and the sounds, it is very realistic and you can tell that they've had ex-Special Forces members helping them produce the game..."

"There's always going to be controversy when you're talking about something that is actually happening in real-time. All I can say is this game is very realistic."

It does feel pretty damn real too, graphics are mesmerising, the tension levels are intense and the sound is eerily impressive.

Production levels and polish are what EA do best, once they have a winning format, ie FIFA, Madden, Fight Night etc, they constantly work around everything that works from the last one and only ever seem to improve what they have already.

That's why I can see this new MOH franchise reaching some pretty impressive levels in the next couple of years.

Multiplayer is immense, the DICE team have done the business and created a hugely playable online experience that even the most diehard COD heads will enjoy and keep returning to.

Everyone has favourites, what is important is that thinks are evolving.

Yes the games are in direct competition and yes you may prefer COD - the point is Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier were both brilliant sluggers.

You don't have to sit in one camp, enjoy both!

After giving this game a whirl I can hand on heart say that anyone who dismisses this game for not being COD is cheating themselves out of an excellent gaming experience.

It's a totally different game, this is less arcadey and a little harder to get into. There is a lot more of an emphasis on sniper combat and the 'run and blast' approach is not as heavily evident.

As with everything these days there is a 'but', I like that though. Perfection is a dangerous and unrealistic thing.

Single player in the game is great fun, but it lacks a little in originality and is far too short.

That said, this is a seriously solid game. I loved it and I expect a lot from this franchise.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Oct 24, 2010
Words:671
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