Medal of Honor review, Joystiq's Andrew Yoon writes: "Recalling the terminology, remembering the technology and feeling the burden of the mission, the campaign is a true learning experience -- one that I didn't expect, but ultimately enjoyed." This statement is a testament to EA and Danger Close's ability to successfully execute the so-called "historical fiction" element that was so key to the game's design and marketing. Andrew hadn't learned to be a soldier, but he was drawn into the "perceived realism" much in the way that any celebrated war movie or book has sucked in its consumers. Certainly, games' ascent into the high art of "realism" has rasied some issues for a medium commonly associated with kids stuff.
If you're concerned that war (video) games are becoming too real, especially for the kids who get their hands on them one way or another, give former U.S. Marine Corps infantry officer Benjamin Busch's editorial on NPR a read. "The game cannot train its players to be actual skilled special operations soldiers, nor is it likely to lure anyone into Islamic fundamentalism," Busch writes of Medal of Honor. "It can grant neither heroism nor martyrdom. What it does do is make modern war into participatory cinema. That is its business."
Busch's problem with Medal of Honor is in its depiction of the War in Afghanistan -- a war that's obviously going on "right now." He believes that it "equates the war with the leisure of games" (perhaps distorting how best for a civilian, including those considering enlistment, to understand war), and he argues that, despite "the fully articulated violence," Medal of Honor can't possibly emulate the reality of combat. "There is a truth common to all, and that is that playing war in any medium is not combat, and for a gamer, it's not even political. It's just sedentary adventurism in need of a subject."
"The power of controlling your situation, to be able to stop the war and rest, is something that our soldiers are quietly desperate for. For those who patrol the valleys of Helmand, it is a way to impose limits on the uncertainty of war and the constancy of vulnerability," Busch reminds us. "A video game can produce no wounds and take no friends away."