Review by Majic 2002

"MoH Liberates the PS2"

June 6, 1944. D-Day.
Lt. James Patterson is heading back into France. The Hard Way...
...and with this, the instruction manual ends, and you plunge headfirst into the game to experience the horror and drama of WW2 for yourself. ''But, this is the same story as the OTHER MoH games...WW2, blah blah...why should I pick this up?'' You ask. MoH: Frontline takes the series into a whole new realm on the PS2. Fans of the original PSX MoH's will be in awe at this game, while newcomers to the series will be completely awestruck. Yes, it really is THAT good. But what exactly makes it that good? A combination of a great many things...

Gameplay:
This game definitely stand apart from previous MoH titles in the gameplay department. The developers obviously tweaked the engine quite a bit for this installment, and it shows. Unlike previous MoH games, this one is not just a ''sneak around and hope Nazi's don't see you'' kind of game. That much is obvious from the very first stage, where you're plunged right into an amphibious landing vehicle on it's way to the Normandy beach head. For those of you who've seen Saving Private Ryan, this scene will seem quite familiar. You actually FEEL the hopelessness of the situation as you run for your life, trying to get to the shore and find some cover. You're actually frightened as you head towards a group of fellow soldiers, only to watch them get nailed by an artillery shell. And you can almost taste the dirt in the air as explosions kick it into your face. Everything in this game is perfectly detailed like this, and it makes playing it a LOT of fun. Enemy AI has also been kicked up a notch for this game. No more stupid ''stand there and look dumb'' Nazi's. Walk into a room and come face to face with one in this game, and what does he do? He flips a desk over, ducks down behind it, and sporadically opens fire with his MP-40 from the safety it provides. Or how about this. You arrive in a port, which is seemingly quite, but as soon as you step off the docks, a bullet tears out of nowhere and nearly kills you. But, where is the assailant? Oh, he's in that sniper tower 200 yards down the way. The enemies in this game are much smarter, and it shows. They behave VERY realistically, for the most part. And so do you. Try taking aim at machine gun turrets on the Omaha Beach with artillery landing all around you, and your gun will shake and bobble everywhere with each explosion, very realistically. Try opening fire at a distant sniper with your Colt, but you won't hit him, not with the limited range of a pistol. But try going gung-ho with your Thompson on full auto and you're bound to fail as well, since the recoil throws your accuracy straight into the ground. Other little things are thrown in to add variety to the game as well, such as German dive bombers trying to blow you away every now and then, or Allied aircraft doing machine gun runs on German emplacements. They all help to add to the wartime feeling this game conveys. But here's a shocker for a FPS...no blood or gore. ''What a bunch of crap!'' I can hear the Quake fans screaming. Well, in this case, blood would probably take away from the game. MoH: Frontline is one of the very few FPS that can get away without using blood or violence. And hey, maybe with that in mind, your parents will let you pick it up. ;) Gameplay - 10/10.

This game is always running smooth as well, and I've yet to find a situation in which the frame rate drops from it's almost flawless rate. You'll find almost no glitches, fog effects, or pop ups anywhere, although you will see the occasional German soldier fall right through a wall. But hey, it happens, and it's easily overlooked.

But perhaps the most important element of the gameplay is the controls. The controls in this game are very forgiving, as you can completely customize them to suit your own personal needs. FPS fans will feel right at home, as the controls are similar to those of Timesplitters, Red Faction, and of course, the other MoH games. I stuck with the default controls, and was only agitated once or twice with the button configuration. The controls for this game have a learning curve of about an hour for novice's, half an hour for FPS vets. Controls - 9/10.

Graphics:
The graphics and imagery of this game are almost perfect in their detail. EVERYTHING is three dimensional, even the non interactive buildings that are off in the background and unaccessible. Even the bananas hanging in kitchens. The environments in this game are absolutely breathtaking, and they're realistic as well. You'll almost think that you're in some of the locations you visit, from Omaha Beach, to small French villages, and even a German U-Boat. A great deal of attention was paid to the environments in this game, and it pays off by providing you with an atmosphere that feels real. You'll definitely appreciate the environments that you play in. But it's not just the locations that are graphically amazing, it's everything. The uniforms of SS troops, the uniforms of 101 Airborne Paratroopers, attention was paid to it all, and it all looks incredibly real, almost straight out of Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers. The weapons look better than ever too this time around. Your M1 Garand isn't just a lump of brown pixels this time, it actually looks exactly like a real M1 Garand. You'll also enjoy the black and white footage clips of real WW2 events that you see every now and then, which look as if they're straight from the History Channel, and not in a game. The detail of EVERYTHING helps to make this one of the best looking games on the PS2, and you'll love it. 10/10.

Sound:
Turn on your speakers, turn up the volume, and kick on the surround sound, you're going to need it. This game supports Dolby Digital Surround, and with good reason. The sound is perhaps the best element of the game. Gunshots were recorded from their real life counterparts on real firing ranges for this game, and history buffs will pick that up instantly. Each gun sounds unique with it's individual firing sound, and you can almost tell friendly fire from enemy fire in the midst of huge shoot outs. Two of the sounds that always bring a smile to my face are the echoing thunder of the Springfield Sniper Rifle as it fires off a round, and the straight from WW2 ''ping'' that your M1 Garand makes when the bandoleer is ejected. Explosions, ricochets, airplanes, jeeps...they all sound real. Then throw in an amazing soundtrack that adds emotion and drama without ever getting in the way, and you have an amazing sounding game. But that's not all in the way of sound... you have the voices as well. And the voice acting in this game is great, even the minor little parts, such as an infantryman on the Omaha shores; ''Give me some covering fire so I can get the hell out of here!'' The voices aren't bland and monotonous, they're emotional and convincing. And you'll smile the first time a German soldier screams ''Achtung!'' at you. Yes, enemies speak German in this game. And not just a little either. There's a lot of German speak flying around in this game, from radio conversations, to loudspeakers announcing your location. The sounds in this game are flawless. 10/10.

Replay Value:
Here's where one of the games very few problems lies. It's only a single player experience, unlike previous MoH's. No multiplayer. That may discourage some people from this title, but the single player experience is well worth the $50 you'll shell out for it. No other FPS has the drama of this one. It will definitely keep you coming back to play more. And since there's medals to be won for better play and secrets to be unlocked, it's not just a one weekend thing. This game begs to be played more than once. 9/10.

Buy it or Rent it?
If you're a fan of FPS, buy it. Go. Right now. Stop reading, and get to Electronic Boutique. You'll be happy you did. If you're looking for a game with multiplayer, then, this isn't for you. It has no multiplayer. But the single player experience is amazing. If you're not into FPS, but are interested by WW2 or just want to check it out, rent it. You'll probably love it, and want to buy it as well. I'd recommend this as a buy to anyone. Definitely worth your hard earned money. BUY!

Overall, this game is nearly perfect. Some stages may be a little nostalgic of previous MoH titles, but hey, they're done better than the originals when they are, so it still feels like a new experience. Everything about this title is amazing, and I'd recommend it to everyone. Make sure you pick this title up. It's a game you don't want to miss.
Overall - 10/10.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/02/02, Updated 06/02/02


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