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Medal of Honor: European Assault Review

Developer: EALA Publisher: EA
Release Date: June 7, 2005 Also On: GCN, PS2 and Xbox

2003’s Medal of Honor: Rising Sun, brought to us by the same studio that is releasing European Assault, was the Pearl Harbor of video game first-person shooters. Its crappiness caught us all by surprise and it did massive damage to the Medal of Honor license name. This site gave Rising Sun a miserable 4.9 out of 10, on account of brain-dead soldiers, poor level design, and atrocious graphics. Electronic Arts LA’s development team made sure that Medal of Honor: European Assault not just fixed all of what Rising Sun had broken, it added tactical aspects that the series previously lacked.

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The moment you set foot on land, there’s no going back. France is the first target, followed by other locations, including North Africa, and Stalingrad, Russia. Your goal is to infiltrate a Nazi-controlled port in France. To do this, you’re going to have to take out defenses, such as a gun in a tower above your position. Planting dynamite will do the trick.

There are a number of objectives in each level. In this particular level, your goal is to destroy U-Boats, three generators, etc. Each level comes with three main objectives, usually involving blowing something up, finding missing/stolen documents, and assassinating a Nazi officer. The Nazi boss fights in each level are surprisingly difficult. I tend to toss grenades their way, pinning them in a corner, until they die. If you get too close, they’ll whack you, resulting in death in seconds.

The controls are a natural, and fitting, change for the series. I actually may not be qualified to speak about prior Medal of Honor games, because I played those on PlayStation 2, and this on Xbox, but everything else is redone, so I assume the controls were across the platforms as well. The thumbsticks aren’t used to zoom like in most shooters. Instead, you press the left trigger, and fire with the right trigger.

You can duck/lay with X, and stand/jump with Y. You can even peek over cover, while ducking, and zoom in to snipe guys, or gaze around a corner. This adds a Rainbow Six 3 tactical advantage to the game. I’m glad it’s been so efficiently integrated into the overall game. Without cover, you’re going to be torn with bullets faster than a piece of paper in a shredder.

Alright, we talked a little about tactics using the new controls. Now let’s talk about tactics using the new AI system. You’re left wandering on a deserted road in Russia. You’ll have to fend for yourself, but wait, you find a house with a cellar at the rear. Inside are a group of soldiers, ready to take orders under your command.

You can have up to three squad members at any given time. Monitor their health, as they will die if you don’t supply them with medical aid when they need it. You can command your squad by clicking in on the left thumbstick, where you’ll order them to a specific location, a few yards in front of you. Unfortunately, their range is limited, as is their intelligence. Still, if you’re encountering heavy resistance, better send in the firing squad than risk dying yourself.

Speaking of healing a squad member, Medal of Honor: European Assault tries something new. Instead of having checkpoints, you’ll have to endure the entirety of a level without losing all of your lives. Lose all of your lives, you ask? European Assault has what EA calls ‘revives’, a sort of come-back-from-the-dead trick that’ll have your soldier ready for combat in a matter of seconds. Aside from that, you have your traditional medikits and canisters. Medikits will need to be applied individually. The other new addition is adrenaline, which protects you from harm and improves damage.

Multiplayer is heavily improved. While there is no co-operative mode, there’s a lot to choose from. Included are several small and medium sized maps, as well as game types. This includes King of the Hill, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, a Capture-the-Flag type game, where you find a randomly-placed flag, then must bring it to a specific zone on the map, as well as the choice for custom game types. The weapons, you select a weapon type (sniper, infantry, rifleman, heavy weapons), you get a single weapon, along with a sidearm.

What’s missing from European Assault? Online multi-player. What the hell were they thinking, releasing a game with such solid multi-player, without online play? Considering some of the arenas are rather large (i.e. they could easily fit 8-12 players), it just doesn’t make sense that online play wasn’t included. Even the ‘small’ arenas are not small by any means.

Medal of Honor: European Assault is the best next-generation Medal of Honor game. It’s the best World War II game that I’ve ever played, period. Better than Call of Duty, better than Return to Castle Wolfenstein, better than Frontline. The developers at Electronic Arts Los Angeles pulled off a game that is infinitely more playable than its predecessors and competitors, all while giving hardcore gamers a serious challenge on the harder difficulty settings. EA dropped an A-Bomb on their competitors with this one. Enlist in the European Assault today, soldier.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 9.5
Gameplay: 9.5
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 8.8
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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