Monday, 1 December 2003

Archive Review: Medal of Honor: Rising Sun

(Xbox, Gamecube, PS2 review)

Somebody once said, "War is Hell", oh it was The Critical Alien in his review of Battlefield 1942 . Well war might well be hell but it sure does make a good game and hell! What's more fun than running around with a gun in a wood?

Medal of Honor: War is Linear

I loved Medal of Honor, I loved Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, and even Frontline on the consoles. This was for the simple reason that they delivered what they promoted... authentic WW2 environments with fun gameplay. They were pretty linear yes but made up for it in the way they all just played well. So when Medal of Honor: Rising Sun found its way in my house I was excited for yet more fun, fun, fun.

I Live in Japan. I've lived here for a good few years now, ever since my work as an English teacher took me overseas. I teach English, its what I do, and I like to think I do it well. Rising Sun is based on the pacific setting of World War 2 and starts with Pearl Harbor and ends up in the dense Jungles of the Far East. Was it fate that I, an American living in Japan, was sitting in a chair in the Land of the Rising Sun, about to play a game that pits Americans against Japanese? It felt strange to me, like I was split down the middle of this clash of ideals. Then after about 15 minutes of gaming I realised that RS was Dung and virtually unplayable.

War Diary: Day One

I was woken up to the sounds of bombs falling as I was informed that the Japs had attacked the Harbor. I got up and instantly ran outside to view the carnage. It was odd, the Japanese attack consisted of three planes flying in what seemed like a linear flight path which resembled a circle. I then realised that everyone around me was either dead or doing very little considering we were under attack. Even the Sarg was too busy running into the wall of the barracks whilst strafing sideways to even notice what was happening. It was all too much! The tension got to me, I lost it. Even though I was untrained in the art of Anti Aircraft gunning (I'm only a meer private after all) I took over a flak cannon and let rip. I was confused since no one else was doing this except me. It was me versus the entire Japanese fighter wing! I downed so many planes I doubted the enemy had any left, and then a whole bunch of dem' tings appeared yet again. At one point I even yawned whilst firing into the sky. Was it Providence?

And then I was informed suddenly by the Sarg, who suddenly ceased his odd strafe running tactics, that I had managed, single handedly, to down every fighter in the area and that the rest had fled. He then said it was time for some payback.

Day Two

Before long we were all put in big boats and shipped to the jungles to take on the pesky Japs. Apparently they were ultra tough and showed no mercy. Thsi confused me since once we landed our first encounter with the enemy resulted in seeing them stand infront of us, without firing, and then circle strafe whilst looking into the air. Maybe they had been praying... My teammates also seemed to be suffering from this odd behaviour. Was it some scary Oriental Disease? The Circle Strafing Lame Syndrome? Nope, it was obvious even at this early point that the A.I sucked and the enemy were going to be a pretty easy ride.

Before I knew it my team just oddly vanished into that of... me. Even the Sarg had done a runner. Maybe they were still strafe running back near the beach? I decided to venture on into the jungles. I was hardly the experienced ranger of the area nor had I ever seen such jungles before but it did come as a surprise to me when I realised that the jungle actually consisted of a linear set path. I couldn't move to the left or right of this path for the trees seemed to strangely form unpassable walls to either side of me. And then the enemy came in force. Up they popped, no really. They seemed to just appear out of thin air! The Sarg had said that them Japs had some neat tricks up their sleaves but this? I could hardly believe my eyes. Not that it helped them. They appeared, and I shot them. Once, one actually fired a few rounds at me but I only felt a slight sting and my health pack actually healed me to full health within seconds. I begun to realise something else too. I was finding it very hard to shoot.

Gun + Plane = Game -EA Formula No.1839

I wasn't sure if it was just me or the fact that the tropical surroundings were making it hard for me to operate as I had before. I couldn't seem to aim my gun's crosshair at the enemy fast enough. The movement was sluggish and inaccurate. As well as this it felt like the best thing to do was actually keep my weapon aimed at a 90 degrees angle and instead of aim at enemies just run at them and position myself, via strafing, until I had them in my sights. This meant that 99 percent of my frags had been down to inflicting lethal "thigh" wounds to my enemy. I would shoot them in the thighs until they died. Was this why the Sarg had been strafe running during Pearl Harbor? In order to practice this art form?

As I continued through the linear, dull, and repetetive jungles I soon realised my compass seemed faulty. It didn't work right at all. My route was often in the direction opposite to where the compass directed me to head. I also realised that there was an odd sense of fate or destiny entwined in my adventure. You see, whenever I came across a machine gun position it would seem clear. But if I were to actually take over and man that MG a whole wave of them there Asian lads would pop up from the foliage. It felt like they actually were waiting for me to aim at them with the MG before they revealed themselves! Kamikaze? No, just pants.

So I soon learnt not to even bother manning MG guns at all. Why bother? I just walked on by them and decided not to live yet another experience in the scripted, linear sense of the word.

Day Three

I soon realised that some random fellow had been following me whilst on this tropical romp. He didn't say much, infact he just seemed to repeat the same four or five phrases all the time like "get some" and "how'd ya like that?" Once he told me to "get down" but I didn't understand why. We were just walking along in the clear. Odd guy. But it was quite nice to have some company I guess, since my Sarg and entire squad had seemed to abandon me earlier.

After a while I felt as if I, personally, were the vanguard of an entire Continents revenge on the Japanese. It was as if I was the soul tool in this objective... it was me VS all! I let the feeling pass though, silly nonsense I thought. Soon I begun to discover something even more important. I didn't need to kill all the enemy in order to proceed forward. If war's a game of capturing land then to hell with standing off against the hordes of enemy... I just charged like a wild thing, charging. I simply ran passed wave after wave of the enemy. They didn't even give chase! I then realised that my odd pal had not complied with this new novelty tactic and had been killed whilst lugging behind. For the record... I didn't actually give a !%$?

Well eventually I pulled through though. I managed to defeat Japan, no really. It was me versus the bulk of Japan's Red Army... and I won, and to be quite honest, without sounding big headed, I found it really quite easy. So what did I learn from all of this:

1) EA really are a bunch of Capitalist pigs with no morals and no sense of true creativity when it comes to games.

2) War is hell but in a very linear, scripted, repetetive, and buggy sort of way.

3) Tropical climates really do play havoc on peoples intelligence. They do the silliest of things...

4) That one man, with an M1 Garand, can and did defeat 100,000 men without using more than 3 save points.

5) Those Germans really were alot tougher than the Japs... it was as if they were almost Godlike compared. Strange that.

And to conclude on it all I go back to that odd feeling I had whilst in the fray... it seemed like America was relying on me and me alone to win this war. I was expected to achieve so much, yet it had been so damn easy. Was this all one big test I had just walked? Maybe, I didn't care. It was time to put down the guns and settle back at home. I had plans to sell my story and make a movie based on my war experiences: I would call my tale "Pearl Harbor: One Man's Mission"



Good sound, PS2 multiplayer, arguably a classic "MOH" style.


Crap controls, crap A.I, poor graphics, linear, easy, lifeless like a corpse.


War games can be like hell sometimes

by Joey T 2003