Review by Jame Son

"Protecting our freedom is still a blast!"

Well, I'm sort of a big fan of WWII. Not in the ''mass destruction and death'' part, but the ''we aided in saving the world from unspeakable evil'' part. So it may rub off a little when playing this game, another first-person shooter which takes place during the big one, entitled Medal of Honor: Rising Sun. And I must say, kicking wicked Axis ass is just as great as it was back in MOH: Frontline.

GAMEPLAY - 8/10

All that are thoroughly familiar with Frontline should feel right at home with Rising Sun. Essentially the game plays just the same, with you controlling a sole American gunslinger sneaking into enemy territory and sabotaging their operations. Of course there are also plenty of bad guys to shoot, but this time the setting is a bit different. As the title suggests, this time the game is primarily set in the Pacific campaign, as opposed to the European backdrop that was present in Frontline. This means that your enemies are comprised of aggressive Japanese instead of wussy Nazis.
The locales you will traverse include burnt-out towns, dense jungles, and the inside of an aircraft carrier. Each level drips with authenticity, as do the weapons you will carry around (M1 Garand, Springfield '03...you get the idea). History buffs will especially love this game, as there are oodles of video clips that are unlockable by finding hidden film canisters within the levels. These show black-and-white footage of the war and interviews with veterans that experienced it firsthand. Very cool.
Are there problems with the gameplay? Well sure, most of them carried over from Frontline. Generally, the levels are fairly linear, the enemies are mindless killers that will stand out in the open and shoot at you, and the hit detection sometimes seems a bit off. Still, these are all forgivable since this game adds up to be one hell of a fun shooter. And if you're a war buff, then it's an absolute must-own.

GRAPHICS/SOUND - 8/10

This was a tough category to rate, largely because the graphics weren't too impressive, whereas the sound blew my socks off. All who were hoping that this game would improve on the somewhat dull graphics of Frontline will be in for a downer. They look about the same, with washed out colors and monochromatic structures littered about. Jungle levels are probably a pain to create, and while EA didn't do anywhere near as fantabulous as Halo did, the jungle levels in Rising Sun aren't too bad. And there is one exception to the mediocre graphics: the opening level at Pearl Harbor. It's magnificent. The smoke-scorched sky and endless Zeroes flying around really made me feel overwhelmed. I now think I have a slight feeling what all those vets must have suffered through.
And here's some more great news: the music is just as poignant and beautiful as it was in Frontline! While perhaps not quite as perfect (Frontline is my favorite music score ever, after all), Rising Sun's score is still one of the best out there. The music picks up pace whilst in danger and downplays when wandering ensues. And since most of the game takes place in Asia, there are traditional Oriental beats implemented into the songs. A great score, and it makes the mood infinitely more absorbing. Sound effects fare well, also. Gunshots all sound accurate, as do environmental footfalls and ambiance. Enemies scream in Japanese when you accost them; a very nice touch.

CONTROLS - 8/10

Yeah, they ain't perfect, but they get the job done. Movement is done with the analog sticks, while shooting and reloading are assigned to the R buttons. You can also jump, duck, throw grenades, and assault with the butt of your weapon.
There's no auto-aim, so it can be tough to hit the enemy squarely in the head (which is what you'll be trying to do), but a little practice will refine your skill. Also, the controls and analog sensitivity are fully customizable. Score!

STORY - 10/10

Story? Come on man, it's World War II! That should be enough. But EA actually endeavored to include a story relating to your character in Rising Sun, unlike Frontline where your character had no past and was just an excuse to run around killing Nazis.
You play as Corporal Joe Griffin, a soldier stationed at Pearl Harbor when it falls under attack. The aftermath will lead Griffin to the Philippines, Guadalcanal, Singapore, and the River Kwai. Between levels Joe receives letters from his sister at home, and there is a deeply felt subplot that deals with the disappearance of Donnie Griffin, Joe's brother and fellow soldier.
Plus, it all takes place during the great war. What more do you want?

OVERALL - 8/10

The graphics and controls could benefit from a tune-up, and there really isn't anything revolutionary in Rising Sun (i.e., there's nothing you haven't seen before relating to shooter mechanics). But the music and environments are top-notch, plus the game allows you to feel some Pearl Harbor hurt. This is a great World War II game and every bit a worthy follow-up to Frontline. Were you too young or non-existent to serve your country against the Japanese? Well, after this game, it'll feel like you've lived every moment of it.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/20/03


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