Medal of Honor: Allied Assault Review
PII-400, 128MB RAM, 1.2GB+ HDD
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Jan 20, 02 (released)
|» All About Medal of Honor: Allied Assault on ActionTrip|
I think I lost a lot of time over the last couple of weeks playing WWII based shooters powered by the Quake 3 Arena engine. As soon as I finished Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and decided to give my computer a rest, I got a new field assignment -- Medal of Honor: Allied Assault.
Hey, who's driving this thing?
I think we should've turned left at Albuquerque.
Medal of Honor: Allied Assault is the ideal sequel to the PS Medal of Honor serial. The game casts you in the role of Lieutenant Mike Powell, OSS soldier and takes you through the worst perils of WWII. All your efforts in fighting Nazi forces are divided into six missions with some thirty levels altogether. You will start the campaign in North Africa, then travel to Normandy and spend some time in France.
The game has many situations that will remind you of Spielberg's 'Saving Private Ryan', like the Omaha beach landing, and the assault on the fortified radar station. My only objection to level design in this game is that they are too linear. In most cases, there will be only one way to finish a level, and that doesn't really do much for the replay value. Some bigger terrains will at least give you an illusion of freedom, but others will make the linearity of the game frustratingly obvious.
The most interesting thing in this game is the enemy AI. At first, I admit I didn't think much of enemy intelligence, as I ran into several Nazi soldiers who were simply looking at me and didn't shoot. But, as the game progressed it seemed as though the opponents kept getting smarter, and that the designers just gave the player a chance to get used to the game. So I got to really enjoy gunfights, watching my enemies skillfully hide behind the walls, cover each other and try to surround me. Be sure that they will keep surprising you with their actions.
Now, before you start getting paranoid and thinking that the whole world is against you, you will receive allied support in a number of missions. This severely improves the atmosphere, and it shows that the fate of the world is not up to you alone. The best example for this is the invasion of Normandy where you get to land on the beach as one of the huge mass of cannon fodder. Your companions are scared and confused, and speak to each other during the assault. I tried to speak to them, but that was in vain (heh, good job genius - ed); they are just made to follow you and stick to some waypoints, and usually die at it, and you, being the most skilled of them all get to survive. I was thrilled by the missions in the French villages, which showed how cleaning up a conquered town looks like. You have to watch out for every window, every passage, while trying to remain out of sight of potential rooftop snipers, and what's more, when you shoot an enemy soldier and he falls to the ground, that doesn't mean he is killed; he might be only wounded, and still capable of combat. The action was so thrilling that it was a whole day after I finished the game that it occurred to me I didn't see a drop of blood in the whole game. I cannot understand why they did this (try the game violence hysteria, Dex - ed); I mean it cannot make a game less violent to omit blood if the game is all about shooting your enemies and throwing grenades at them. If it were about throwing flowers and rubber balls at your opponents, well then it would be OK I guess. Of course, you can already find patches to mend this flaw on practically any fan-site on the net.
What the hell are we doing here?
Not me you nimrod!!
Ha! Caught ya by surprise!
As for the weapons, the game features a typical weapon assortment for the time: Colt .45, M1 Garand Rifle, Springfield '03 Sniper, Thompson, BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle), Kar-98 sniper rifle, StG44 Sturmgewehr, MP40 Submachine Rifle and bazooka. You will get a chance to use a number of fixed machine guns, and even drive a tank and use the radio to summon air strikes. With the exception of the tank-grenade which is capable of destroying buildings, but cannot touch infantry; all weapons leave a great impression. As there are more than enough bullets around, it is up to you to choose your favorite gun and start partying. My tactics relied solely on Thompson and the sniper rifle, with the occasional use of a handgun with a silencer.
On the technical side, Medal of Honor is practically perfect, and we wouldn't expect any less from a game based on the Q3A engine. The Q3 engine is doing a great job here, and the game will be able to run even on older machines with a reduced number of details. Of course, if you own a rig with more than 1.2GHz and a decent video card, you will enjoy a fabulous visual display crammed with fantastic details. The models look lovely, but judging by what we saw in RTCW-a, I feel that the engine could do even better. The greatest downside of the whole thing is the lack of interaction with the environment; apart from messing with a couple of objects in the game you cannot damage, move or break anything.
Sound, the next crucial technical aspect of the game, is really good. This goes both for the sounds of the weapons and background ambient effects. Now, when you combine that with all the shouting in German and the thrilling music, which follows the on-screen action, you get all the sound needed to create a successful illusion of the WWII battlefield.
However, even though Medal of Honor: Allied Assault can be considered a classic, the overal impression is somewhat blemished by a rather bleak and abrupt ending. After a couple of days of playing, all you will get is a screen saying 'The End', followed by some credits, and then the main menu! After a game designed in such detail, who would think that creating a decent cinematic sequence would pose that much of a problem to the authors!? This disappointment can be made up for by playing the multiplayer mode, which frankly brings nothing new. It has a DM, Team DM, round-based and the somewhat more interesting team objective mods. Some of the better servers support up to 64 players per game, which promises a good multiplayer experience.
Medal of Honor: Allied Assault is definitely a game that will leave a mark on the gaming scene. It is marvelous what you can get by adding great atmosphere and a good AI to a barely interactive shooter.
8.9 Very Good
Fantastic atmosphere, AI, graphics;
Linear missions, no blood mode, end sequence.
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