The Wii Zapper has yet to hit retail, but when it does, there’s one shooter franchise EA hopes gamers remember when it comes time to get their motion-sensitive frag on: ‘Medal of Honor Heroes 2.’ Designed from the ground up for the Wii, ‘Medal of Honor Heroes 2’ deftly supports Nintendo’s upcoming gun-like peripheral, but just as important, it lets players use the Zapper in online battles with 32 players–the most ever supported in a Wii game.
In spite of this impressive online multiplayer support, the core of ‘Medal of Honor Heroes 2’ remains the single-player experience, with two modes from which to choose. The first mode, Arcade, is a throwback to the on-rails shooters of yore in which players are only responsible for moving the targeting reticule, much like the old-school House of the Dead arcade games. With simple controls and unlimited ammunition, Arcade mode is bound to be a gentle introduction to the Wii Zapper and provide a nice entree into the first-person-shooter genre for Wii owners who might not be intimately familiar with those games.
The second single-player mode, Campaign, is where ‘Medal of Honor Heroes 2’ really picks up, with players using the Nunchuck to control character movement and the Zapper to aim. The gameplay isn’t all about shooting, though, as EA has approached allthe motion-sensitivity of the Zapper and looked beyond aiming.
For instance, if players quickly push the Zapper forward, the on-screen character will unleash a melee attack that brings about feelings of satisfaction and guilt (for feeling satisfied). Or, if players flip the Zapper up toward the ceiling, their gun will reload. But perhaps most intriguing are two small segments in which the player is dropped into a minefield and must use the Zapper like a metal detector, sweeping in front of and around the on-screen character. When the Zapper shakes and “tick tick ticks” vigorously, it’s time to turn the other direction or at least stop immediately. But, as long as the Zapper is still and silent, it’s safe to proceed ahead because no mines are in the way.
Still, the biggest draw for Wii owners, is likely going to be the 32-player online multiplayer, and with good reason. Nintendo has long been teased for “forgetting” about online play, so it’s quite a coup to have a Wii-exclusive Medal of Honor game support more people than an MOH game on Xbox Live. What’s more, the multiplayer modes are “continuous joining,” which means players can drop in and out of a game ant any time rather than being forced to wait in a lobby until the session ends.
For all the flak the Wii takes for being a casual gamer’s console, ‘Medal of Honor Heroes 2’ is looking to turn that perception on its ear. With PS2-quality graphics, 32-player online multiplayer, two drastically different single-player modes and intuitive (but still somewhat-squirrelly) controls, ‘Medal of Honor Heroes 2’ is shaping up to provide both a good introduction to the Wii Zapper and a worthy “take that!” to detractors of the Wii’s online functionality.