Medal of Honor: Vanguard is the tenth installment in the Medal of Honor series of World War II first-person shooters. It was developed by Electronic Arts' Los Angeles studio and released for the PlayStation 2 and Wii on March 26, 2007, in the United States.
Vanguard and its PS3/Xbox 360 successor Medal of Honor: Airborne and its Wii/PSP successor Medal of Honor: Heroes 2, are the last and final three Medal of Honor games set in WWII and Vanguard is the last Medal of Honor game to be released for the PlayStation 2 and the first to be released on the Wii.
Players take on the role of Sgt. Frank Keegan, a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, taking part in Operation Husky, Operation Neptune and Operation Market Garden. Keegan is later transferred to the 17th Airborne Division after Market Garden and participates in Operation Varsity.
Players are able to customize their weapons, such as adding a telescopic sight to a M1 Garand rifle and a drum magazine for a Thompson submachine gun, although these upgrades are only available on certain levels.
At the start of each of the operations, players parachute onto a battlefield (with the exception of a glider insertion at the start of the Invasion of Normandy) and can roughly designate where they land. Players who land at certain points in a level will be able to pick up weapon upgrades and ammunition. Missions can be played out in different ways depending on where the player lands and which weapons the player obtains.
Content-wise, both versions of the game are the same. However, the Wii version implements the Wii Remote to accomplish such movements as crouching, jumping, making quick turns, weapon strikes, reloading, and shooting. These actions are accomplished with a standard video game interface (buttons and joysticks) on the PS2 version and are also an option on the Wii.
Single player starts with Allied invasion on Sicily (Operation Husky). Keegan and his squadron fly in C-47 airplanes above Sicilian coast when AA guns open fire. The plane breaks in two parts, but Keegan's squad parachutes and survives. They fight through an occupied town and take a house where they spend the night. In the morning, Italian forces make a counterattack but the paratroopers push them back to the coast. There, Keegan destroys two beach cannons and their mission ends.
A year later, Operation Neptune starts. Keegan's glider breaks over Normandy forests, but he survives along with Garrett. They fight through German occupied villages in order to find their sergeant Maggnuson. They find him in a church, where they get trapped as Germans launch a counterattack. Keegan tries to exit the church but gets kicked in head by German soldier. He passes out, but wakes up with his squad. They then continue clearing the villages and rescuing trapped paratroopers. In a bridge detonation, some of them die and Keegan nearly dies as well. He passes out again and Magnusson wakes him next morning, but gets quickly shot in head and killed by a sniper. This makes Keegan a new leader. Keegan leads the squad to a German mansion headquarters. There, they almost get killed as many Panzers attack and destroy the mansion. Keegan uses Bazooka to destroy them all and saves the area. After this, he is promoted to the Sergeant.
As a sergeant, Keegan goes to Holland in Operation Market Garden. Paratroopers jump to a German farm in outskirts of Grave city. There Keegan destroys several anti aircraft guns and steals documents. Keegan's squad set ambush to Germans in a barn. After securing one farm, they retake and defend another one, getting to the bridge to Grave. A C-47 crashes into the bridge. Keegan clears the bunkers and crosses the bridge with his squad, finally getting to the Grave city. Germans ambush Allied paratroopers on the main town square. Keegan continues intense fighting on the streets, destroying many AA nests, and reunites with his squad. The battle ends when Keegan destroys the last Tiger, however, Chalmers was killed in the explosion.
The last Allied operation, Varsity, included landings across Rhine River to get into Germany. Keegan lands to the beach and barely survives German defense. Intense fighting continues when paratroopers take German ruins. After ruin defense, they move to a trench complex full of bunkers, mortars and Tigers. They then move to the ruined industrial complex full of snipers. Keegan clears half of the factory alone and meets with the squad outside. There, they realize Germans launched a massive counterattack. Falschimjagers and tanks attack the factory, but Keegan and his squad repel the attack with Bazookas and MG 42 machine guns. The campaign ends as Germans retreat from the factory and Americans celebrate their victory over Nazi war machine.
Operation Market Garden
Throughout the game, the player is able to earn medals for completing certain requirements:
|Campaign medal||Complete all Husky campaign levels||None|
|Bronze Star||Complete a mission without dying||Sprint Recovery Bonus|
|Silver Star||Complete Campaign without dying||Health Recovery Bonus|
|Wings||Land in designated drop locations||None|
|WWII Victory Medal||Collect all medals in campaign||None|
|Oak Leaf||Earn any 7 medals within the campaign||Overall Health Bonus|
|Weapon Expert||Use every weapon available in a mission||None|
|Marksman Award||Obtain a set amount of headshots within each mission||None|
Multiplayer has been included in the game in the form of a 2-4 player split-screen mode with both the Wii and PS2 versions. (The PS2 version requires a multi tap to support more than two players.) This is currently the last Medal of Honor game to feature split screen mode. There are five modes:
- Team Deathmatch
- Capture the Flag
- King of the Hill
- Scavenger Hunt
Overall Vanguard received "average or mixed" reviews.
IGN gave Vanguard for the Wii a 7.0 out of 10.0, while the PS2 version received a 7.2 .
GameSpot gave the game a 5.5 out of 10 for both the Wii and PS2 versions. Most criticism for the game focused the poor graphics engine, lack of online play, and poor enemy intelligence. Also criticized was the fact that many of the game elements were already featured in the series or by other WWII shooters (with the exception of the parachute drop). Aaron Thomas of GameSpot stated that "There's really no reason to pick it up on the PlayStation 2, and thanks to a higher price tag for the Wii version, there's very little reason to buy it for the Wii, either".
United Kingdom-based Website Mansized scored Vanguard a mere 2/5, claiming "Vanguard is a pretty shocking game".
Official PlayStation 2 Magazine UK gave it 5/10 and called it "The weakest MOH yet. Nothing but a poor man's Call of Duty."
GamersUnited.org gave Vanguard for Wii a D-.
On Metacritic, the game has scores of 63 for PlayStation 2 and 56 for Wii.
On GameRankings, the game has scores of 64.35% for PlayStation 2 and 57.45% for Wii.
- If the player looks closely at the green smoke canisters, its sign shows a black skull.
- This is the first Medal of Honor game that the player can upgrade their own weapon.
- This is the last Medal of Honor game to feature the Bazooka.
- Most of its operation names and locations were reused in Medal of Honor: Airborne.
- While most of its in-game music tracks are from various Medal of Honor games, it contains two tracks from Medal of Honor: Airborne, which was released later that year.
- Many other elements exist in both games: player is able to upgrade weapons in both games, however in Airborne, upgrades can be earned by shooting experience while in Vanguard they need to be collected.
- The first level, Off Target is very similar to the first level in Airborne, Infinite Mischief.
- At the beginning of the same level, half of C-47 plane explodes and Keegan is thrown out, similar to the beginning of Operation Der Flakturm in Airborne.
- One of the objectives in mission Scavengers is to collect three pieces of Bazooka to destroy a halftrack. The concept of that objective is similar to the objective in Airborne where player needs to collect pieces of recoilless rifle to destroy a tank, also in Operation Neptune.
- Crossing the bridge to town of Grave is similar to crossing the bridge in Nijegmen in Airborne.
- Penultimate mission "Endgame"'s central objective is clearing the trench complex near a factory. The concept where player clears out trenches and bunker boxes is similar to the last objective in Neptune operation in Airborne. Both objectives are located near a beach: in Vanguard it is beach of the Rhine river, while in Airborne it is Normandy beach.
- Mission The Crucible includes many German snipers in the industrial area during operation Varsity, just as in Airborne.
- The M1 Carbine and the Walther P38 does not make any appearance in the campaign, but appears as a sign for ammo crates in multiplayer.
- The M1 Garand and the Thompson are the only weapons in the campaign that can be upgraded.
- The M1911 only appears in multiplayer.
- This is the second Medal of Honor game that does not have the the M1903,A5 Springfield first being European Assault. Instead, the main sniper rifle is M1 Garand with scope upgrade.
- This is the first Medal of Honor where the player can sprint .
- Medal of Honor: Vanguard for PlayStation 2 on Metacritic
- Medal of Honor: Vanguard for Wii on Metacritic
- Medal of Honor: Vanguard for PlayStation 2 on GameRankings
- Medal of Honor: Vanguard for Wii on GameRankings