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Platform

PlayStation 2

 

Genre

First Person Shooter

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

Electronic Arts

 

ESRB

Mature (M)

 

Released

June 2005

 

 

- Gameplay feels less linear
- Excellent audio
- Big turnaround from Rising Sun
- Presentation
- Handling of grenades works great
- Improved AI

 

 

- No online play
- Visuals are mediocre
- Short campaign
- Squad control is far too limited

 

 

Review: Medal of Honor - Rising Sun (PS2)

Review: TimeSplitters 2 (PS2)

Review: Secret Weapons Over Normandy (PS2)

 

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Medal of Honor: European Assault

Score: 7.5/10

 

World War II (WW2) themed games have released in large numbers over the past few years on the PS2. Medal of Honor Frontline was the first WW2 shooter to hit the PS2 back in the summer of 2002. Frontline was greeted to positive feedback, so a sequel soon followed. Titled Rising Sun, EA shifted the focus of the WW2 action to the Pacific Theatre, but Rising Sun lost much of the magic that its predecessor dazzled PS2 owners with.  Rising Sun was filled with bugs and poor AI. It seemed that the time had come for EA to put an Axe in its much beloved WW2 series. When Medal of Honor: European Assault (originally titled MOH: Dogs of War) was first announced, I was deeply skeptical after Rising Sun left a bitter taste of disappointment. Thankfully EA has fixed most of the problems from Rising Sun and adds some interesting content, while at the same time offering a fun and challenging campaign thatís marred by its short length.

 

medal-honor-european-assault-1.jpg (52578 bytes)          medal-honor-european-assault-2.jpg (58187 bytes)

 

MOH: EA (Medal of Honor European Assault) is set in a variety of locales: Western Europe, North Africa and Russia. So there is a nice variety of levels to explore throughout the game. Youíre put in the boots of William Holt who is a secret agent part of the newly formed OSS. As William Holt youíre sent to fight alongside the British, Americans and Russians. The game doesnít focus too much on the personality of the characters; instead it focuses mostly on the in-game action. With games like Brothers in Arms able to focus on both the characters as well as the gameplay on an equal basis, itís a shame that European Assault doesnít do the same. The game does feature some short cut-scenes in between missions, but thatís about it.

 

One of the biggest complaints I had with the previous two Medal of Honor games was how linear the gameplay was. The developers never really allowed you to explore the environments. Fortunately in MOH: EA the levels have been opened up so you can approach enemies from multiple angles and do more exploring.

 

There are some new gameplay mechanics that spice up the gameplay. The handling of grenades has been one of the best additions to the game. You can now ďcookĒ grenades, which allows you to pull the pin and hold the grenade until you decide to throw it. Naturally, the longer you hold the grenade while the pin is pulled the shorter the fuse will be when you release it. It works excellent since the enemies tend to pick up your grenades and toss them back at you. You can also kick grenades too. If a grenade lands too close to you, you can run up to it and kick it away.

 

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The other big addition to MOH: EA is the Adrenaline Meter. Adrenaline makes you invulnerable to enemy fire and gives you infinite ammo with no reloads. There is a meter in the bottom right hand corner of the screen which fills up by killing enemies with headshots and healing fellow squad members. Once the meter gets full you can activate Adrenaline.

 

Unlike a lot of other games in the series, MOH: EA allows you to fight along allied soldiers for a good majority of the 

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game. In some missions you also get to command a squad of three soldiers. The commands are very simple and straightforward. You can basically tell your soldiers where to go and to follow your lead. It would have been nicer had the squad command interface been expanded to include some more commands. The soldiers you fight alongside are fairly intelligent. Theyíll do a decent job of incapacitating enemy soldiers, but if youíre not smart about how you play, youíll see them dying quite a bit. Thankfully you donít have to cringe every time you see there health meter steadily decrease. You can administer first aid to your fellow soldiers to keep them in the battle. The enemy AI is quite good. Enemies will always seek cover and pop out and shoot whenever they have a good chance of ending your life.

 

One of the most noticeable changes is how the weapons handle. The guns have more of a less realistic feel to them. This isnít necessarily a bad thing. Youíll notice that weapons such as the American M-1 rifle fires much faster than it would in real life.

 

One of the biggest concerns some players may have, are the lack of checkpoints. Instead of checkpoints the developers implemented something called ďRevivalsĒ. The Revivals are collected like any other object like health boxes or ammo and once you die, you can come back to life at the same spot you were killed. While the Revivals are a decent idea, a checkpoint system would have worked much better. In the later stages of the games youíll be hard pressed for Revivals as hoards of enemies will be constantly engaging you and your comrades.

 

The single player campaign is fairly short. The first time through MOH: EA will take about seven to ten hours to beat. There are secondary and tertiary objectives in each mission to go back and play through a few more times. There is also offline multiplayer for four players. The multiplayer is pretty standard and offers some replay value.

 

medal-honor-european-assault-3.jpg (56107 bytes)         medal-honor-european-assault-4.jpg (55857 bytes)

 

One of the most bizarre absences is the lack of online play. Itís rather peculiar that online play isnít present in MOH: EA, considering that Rising Sun featured online play. Perhaps the developers were hard pressed for time and decided to devote all of there efforts towards the single player campaign.

 

The presentation is done extremely well. Before each one of the gameís campaigns there are brief cut-scenes replaying an ex-soldiers experience fighting on the different battlefields of the Second World War.

 

The visuals, unfortunately donít compliment the presentation. Perhaps I am acting too naÔve from playing too much Brothers in Arms. Most of the gameís characters donít show much emotion and the amount of facial detail is limited. In Brothers in Arms you would see the fatigued faces of the soldiers and extremely detailed expressions. Vehicles such as tanks look fairly bland from up close as well. Many of the gameís levels look extremely good though. Since the battlefields are varied youíll see some nice level design.

 

MOH: EA is certainly a major turnaround from Rising Sun. MOH: EA has a lot to like about it: open ended environments, improved AI and new gameplay features make the game quite appealing and enjoyable. Itís just a shame that the fun is over a little too quickly. If you were extremely disappointed by Rising Sun, then MOH: EA will give you new faith in a series that seems to be going in the right direction again.

 

- Siddharth Masand
(July 8th, 2005)

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