Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault
Review 1/16/05

By   McBeck

Medal of Honor: Rising Sun takes EA's famed war series into the Pacific theater. The series of eight missions erupts into action with the onset of the Pearl Harbor attack. You begin the game as Marine Corporal Joseph Griffin deep in the bowels of a rocking, burning, tortured ship. This opening scenario serves to illustrate the horror and death that thousands of US naval men faced when Yamamoto's attack planes swarmed into Pearl Harbor that Sunday morning. The action intensifies once you reach the gundeck: the sky is literally filled with planes, flak, and smoke. Your crewmates command a gunboat and weave through the burning battleships as you try to take down as many Japanese planes as you can

 

Background

When Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (MOHAA) first came out, it was the start of several WWII based games. The game itself had amazing graphics and a singleplayer that had flow and feel. You moved through several different scenarios and thus it never got stale or boring. The game also included some great multiplayer maps.

The first expansion pack "Spearhead" continued in this tradition with great single- and multiplayer.

Then the time changed when the majority of the "2015" team, who developed MOHAA, left and started their own company: Infinity Ward. Infinity Ward later released Call of Duty, which has the same great qualities as MOHAA and Spearhead. Then the second expansion pack to MOHAA "Breakthrough" was released and it was clear that the people that had made MOHAA great had left the development team and instead made Call of Duty. The expansion pack was stale and boring.

Now we look at Medal of Honor: Pacific AssaultÖwill EA deliver in the same way they did before Breakthrough?

 

A few words on graphics

The game has some very good graphics, even though its not Half-Life 2 level, but then again what is? There are some nice features included, like the graphics smear when you use the large caliber guns. You also become deaf for a short while if a grenade explodes too close.

 

From the Dairy of Tom Conlin:

"ÖI find myself in a landing craft approaching a beach. I look around and see other men like me, but still so different. Even though we are not that many years apart, they look so young. The difference is that they are fresh out of bootcamp.

Then a voice cries out: "If you are gonna throw up Ė do it now!" I look to the beach and it suddenly seems very close. I'm ordered to man the 50 cal. Shaking the whole boat, I start tearing up the pier.

The boat soon comes to a stop and we stumble out, trying to dodge the high number of bullets that negates the morning's shave. I find cover and take a short look at the beach

It looks like an inferno, where the twisted pieces of metal and cracked piles of wood tell the tale of what kind of hell I have to look forward to...."

 

Singleplayer

The opening cutscene has the Marines landing on a hotly contested beach and you suffer a hit. You lay dazed, and the game begins as a flashback. You start of at boot camp where you will learn some basics, much like MOHAA, but better!

This game starts of with some cut scenes with you and your men and it almost feels like the PC game "Mafia" which really made you feel like you were a part of a story and not just shooting at stuff.  This makes for a great start.

 

Bootcamp

You find you self in a familiar place - MOHAA, but much more is in store for you. The game's boot camp gives a great feel of the movie Full Metal Jacket. Besides the basic weapons training, thatís basically the same as in MOHAA, you also have to learn to work as a team and perform some medic training.

After bootcamp you are shipped off to Pearl Harbor. It starts out like a fine morning. You are escorted around the place. Sailors pass by and it feels like easy duty. All of the sudden, all hell breaks loose and you are thrown into a situation not far from the main characters in the movie "Pearl Harbor". You make your way to the docks where a boat is waiting for you. You jump to the .50 cal and start firing away at the Japanese planes that do their best to send you to the bottom of the bay.

After a short while you pass a ship for some cover when it suddenly tip over from its wounds. At some point you stop next to a crippled ship where you make your way in to rescue several seamen. When the smoke settles you are shipped off to the jungle.

 

The Jungle

The game makes you feel like you are in the jungle, creeping slowly through the green foliage and you never know what hides behind the next corner. In the jungle you depend on your team. They will help you in a great way if you let them. The medic soon becomes your best friend, even though he has a limited number of medic packs. Donít expect to find any medic packs laying around in this game. And if you call your medic, he will come, even if it means he's exposed to enemy fire. What dedication! So you must make sure you do not endanger him, or you'll soon succumb from your wounds.

The enemy AI is rather good, but so is yours! Donít you dare ignore your team when they shout that the enemy is flanking! It gives you lots of tips that help you through the game and lines like "Nice shooting, Tommy" when you kill an enemy with a difficult shot, further adding to the team feeling.

The AI will throw grenades at you and take effective cover. I've seen a enemy run across a camp while I tore up the ground around him with my gun. He hits the dirt behind cover the first chance he gets. Even better, as you are reloading the enemy will charge in with the bayonet aiming at you. Your own team will respond to orders like "Move forward", "Rally up", "Covery fire" and "Retreat".

Shooting in the game is not like any other shooting game. You need to aim! If you want to put an enemy out of action in the first shot Ė hit him in the head, not the shoulder or the chest.

The single player missions range from easy to very hard. There's nothing wrong with some variation if it wasnít for the very long load times. It gets rather annoying when you get to missions that are very hard and it takes several tries to get it right, when you have to spend half the time waiting for the game to load (and my PC isnít the slowest one in the delta).

The single player missions are scripted in the same way it was done in the game "Vietcong". Thus you have to move on a certain path to complete your objectives. The developers should have gone the same way as in "Far Cry" where you can move rather freely through the jungle.

The game contains several difficulty levels where the number of ammo and impact on health will make a difference. In the Realistic mode you donít have any indication of how much ammo you have left. This is very unrealistic since men in combat always have an idea of at least how many clips they have left.

Due to the nature of the environment you are in, most of the fighting is done in the jungle, so if you are not a fan of that, donít bother getting it. If you like moving like a team through a tight corridor, then itís the game for you. Donít expect this game to be like any other Medal of Honor PC game, because it's not. The extra features, different weapons and the scenery makes all the difference and not in a bad way, just a different way. The different scenery dictates your tactics and you canít go about the missions in the same way as in MOHAA.

Pacific Assault adds a couple of interesting twists on the first-person shooter. You can take concussion damage, which doesn't injure you much but makes you "dizzy" and disoriented. Your movements and responses are slowed way down, sounds blur, and you recover slowly. Another neat feature is the Hero Moment, where you can boost your standing by blowing up ammo dumps, rescuing POWs, and saving injured officers. Hero Moments are scattered throughout the game and really reward the player who branches off the main objective path. Also, there's something called the "deathcam"--when you are critically injured, your view points up at the sky, you will hear flashes of past memories, voices, and if your medic doesn't get to you soon, you're dead.

 

Multiplayer
Pacific Assault's multiplayer includes free-for-all, team deathmatch, and invader, where you can play as Japanese or American . The first is like in most other games. Invader, however, is objective based , like Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Like in RTCW you can respawn within a round. One team will defend and the other will attack. As attacker you need to accomplish a series of objectives. This is rather good compared to free-for-all and team deathmatch.

 

Final words

The many cutscenes and dialogues in the beginning of the game decrease later in the game and thatís a real shame. You started off getting a feel for your character and your team, is replaced by moving through the jungle and shooting. You can play the singleplayer again its the multiplayer part, that will ensure this game's value.

All in all, itís a really good game and thus gets a good score in my book, but still itís unfortunate that the great potential shown in the first part of the game was not used as much in the later part of the game. That puts it in the "Not ground-breaking" category. Really nice sounds, really nice graphics Ė but adds little new.


© 2005 Tanksim.com

Rating:  72

Realism Historical Accuracy Graphics Sound/
Music
Game play Repeat Play Stability
/Bugs
Multi- play Mission Editor
10/20 7/10 9/10 10/10 16/20 6/10 10/10 4/5 0/5
 

 

 

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