After having started up the game you arrive in the very atmospheric menu of the newest offspring from the Medal of Honor series. Next to single- and multiplayer missions the player can also choose to check his/her stats, medals and heroic actions. These actions are items that you, together with the medals, get by completing mission goals.
In one of the first levels you’ll need to rescue a captain from a burning cabing, just to give an example.
Let’s start with the singleplayer campaign. I get thrown straight into the action on board of a landing boat during the attack of Tarawa, a small island in the Ocean. I’m getting shot from all sides and try as good and bad as possible to get to the beach. Below the peer I can take a second of rest and get some extra ammunition but this doesn’t take too long. Before long the beach is filled with Japanese warriors. Despite heavy resistance I die after a while. In the background I hear sounds from my past melting with the sounds of combat and little later, a bit clearer, the voice of a marine… “We’ve got a live one! Don’t worry Tommy, you’re getting out of here.”.
Then the story can really start. By means of a beautiful cutscene the store gets introduced and suddenly you’re in the Marine Corps Bootcamp.
As you’ll immediately find out while playing Pacific Assault, it’s a game that grabs you from the first to the last second. Some of the elements that add to the incredible atmosphere are the storyline, which has been perfectly created, the animations when getting killed – again you’ll hear sounds from your past – and the music. The storyline itself is very strong but also the graphics from the cutscenes are so realistic that you really start to believe you’re “in” the story. And not only the cutscenes are good, the game looks fabulous overall which can of course only add to the atmosphere. Only minor downpoint is that your system will be pushed to its very limits and you may expect long loading times both during singleplayer and multiplayer missions.
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Next to the beautiful graphics, the developers also like to brag that everything has been made as authentic as possible. You’ll be able to use weapons like the Thompson, M4 Garand and the Browning .50 Cal machine gun. Fighting won’t only be on land either, with air defense you’ll have to fight Japanese fighter planes from a ship at Pearl Harbour and at one time you’ll even have a devilish dogfight against Japanese Zero’s. Although this latter is a nice variation in gameplay, your own airplane is hard to control with only mouse and keyboard so I was happy I could get out of my Mustang.
I’ve already briefly touched the sublime background music but the overall sound is of equal quality. The weapons, people around you, the surroundings, all add to the game experience.
What did happen from time to time was that teammates would shout “Nice shot Tommy” out of nowhere while they were sitting 500 meter away from me with no possible way of being able to see my shot.
The AI from both your teammates aswell as the enemy often has hickups. Guys not wanting to run on, enemies standing still without doing anything, shooter pits that you can walk past without getting shot at, … and I can continue along the same line for quite some time.
Another downpoint is the very linear level design. Especially in the jungle levels – which are a big part of the game – you’ll often be guided along a way that you cannot choose to leave. A bit sad as it greatly lessens your sense of freedom. Also later in the game, in the trenches of Tarawa, that freedom has been taken away for the biggest part as you’re unable to leave the trenches and are nicely guided by the hand.
A Medal of Honor without multiplayer ? Unthinkable ! Therefore this game has support for up to 32 people and additionally uses Punkbuster that should keep away the cheaters. Hopefully…
Ever seen the movie “The Thin Red Line” ? If so, you’ll immediately feel at home in this game. However, also the rest of the gaming community must add this game to their collection as although it doesn’t bring such a big revolution in gameplay as its predecessor, Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault is a fun and entertaining game.