Review by RedSox1981

"From the beaches of France to the heart of Nazi Germany...a good FPS."

And when he gets to heaven
To St. Peter he will tell.
One more soldier reporting for duty, sir.
I've served my time in hell

June 6, 1944

The sky is cloudy over the beaches of Normandy as the largest amphibious assault in world history is about to commence. You find yourself in a Higgins boat with about ten others. Some are silent, others are praying, and some are even vomiting in fear, knowing that this may be the last light of day they will ever see. As the boat approaches the shoreline, an explosion capsizes it, scattering your crew. As you struggle to find your bearings beneath the French waters, you watch as several of your mates are killed by bullets slicing through the murky water. It's not safe down here, and as you will soon find out, it's even worse on the land. Once you emerge, you are thrust into a hellacious battle. What was once a beautiful sandy beach is now pockmarked by smoking craters, fresh corpses on the shore, and bullets flying through the air. You see a medic treating an injured soldier in vain. You pause to turn your head for a moment, perhaps drawn to the sound of fresh mortar fire, and when you turn back, both are dead.

To say it is pandemonium would be an understatement. And yet, this is the baptism by fire you receive when first playing Medal of Honor:Frontline.

I had never played an MOH game before this one, but the idea intrigued me. A first person shooter that takes place in the European theater during World War II. A collection of World War II weapons at your disposal. Use your wits, reflexes, and tenacity to throw a dagger into the war machine of Nazi Germany.

So how does this game fare? Well, as first person shooters go, this game doesn't go a step above and beyond the norm. However, EA's presentation is so strong and well-thought out, this game overcomes its flaws to become a very enjoyable title.

GAMEPLAY: Medal of Honor: Frontline has some very solid gameplay, although not without some warts. One of the most important of aspects in any FPS is ease of the controls and how responsive they are. Now, Frontline does a great job as far as control response goes. You never find yourself swinging directions too slowly to avoid enemy gunfire. However, the controls themselves do take a little practice getting used to. The button layout (which can be edited in the Options menu) can be a little clumsy and cumbersome at first if you are not used to an MOH game, but you quickly find your way through it and eventually it becomes second notion. You may have to sacrifice yourself a few times during the opening mission as you get used to how the controls are laid out.

A World War II game would be remiss without weapons. As mentioned above, you have a variety of weapons that can be used. From the simple M1 Garand infantry rifle to the explosive power of a Panzerschrek bazooka with all the machine guns and pistols in between, this game gives you several options on how to play. Are you a pedal to the medal player? Go all out with a Browning Automatic Rifle. Do you prefer to bide your time and tip the hand in your favor before the enemy even sees you? Sit back and let loose with a Springfield or Ghewer 10 sniper rifle. The variety of weapons allow any style of a gamer to dive right in.

The mission design is done very well. The opening sequence of Operation: Overlord is absolutely awe-inspiring and breath taking, and you may find yourself clenching your controller in intensity as the bullets fly all around you. This is very good into sucking you right into the game-experience. However, this is a double-edged sword, as none of the subsequent levels have that same aura around them (except for maybe Arhnem Knights, as you will find out as you play though the game). The missions aren't bad by any stretch of the imagination, but they pale in comparison to the frenzied rush for survival that the beginning of the game provides. The game is also very linear, never letting you stray far off the path of where you are supposed to go.

Quite possibly my biggest sticking point of the gameplay, however, is the AI. In some aspects, the AI is quite good. If you through a grenade toward an enemy soldier, he may take the opportunity to kick it back at you. The enemies themselves are not lame ducks ripe for the hunting. My problem is that they suddenly become superhuman as the game progresses. In the opening mission, all you really need is one well-aimed shot to take down a German soldier. However, as you go deeper and deeper into the game, you discover that it can take four, five, or maybe six shots in the same area to achieve the same result. This becomes maddening as the enemies get smarter and increase in numbers the deeper you travel. While it's good to have a challenge, it's ridiculous to have to shoot somebody three times in the chest before he even starts to stagger.

STORY: The war IS the story. EA adds a plot where you have to sabotage an experimental German plane, but it never become a real serious factor. For all intents and purposes, it's your standard kill-as-many-people-as-you-can FPS. However, set in the backdrop of the Second Great War, you don't tend to think about the story. You feel as if you are there to stop Germany from running rampant all over Europe. If EA had gone with something in the context of a war, like an intense battle, that probably would have been better off. However, it's not terribly missed, just feeling slightly lacking.

GRAPHICS: As far as graphics go, the PS2 has seen better days. The character models seem to move a little raggedly at times, and their heads seem a little too blocky with stiff facial expressions. However, on the plus side, the game moves pretty smoothly, and there isn't any slowdown even in the most hectic portions of the game. Other graphical highpoints include clouds of dust forming as a bomb hits the ground over your head or when you plug an enemy soldier. There is no blood in this game, probably necessary to keep it a T rating.

The backgrounds are very well done and fitting. They range from European countryside to a city shelled by the ravages of war to a German U-Boat. All in all, the graphics, while nothing spectacular, do the job nicely and do not detract from the gameplay.

SOUND: The sound in this game is excellent. Bullets going through the air, clanging off of metal. The snapping clicks of your weapon as you reload it. Planes buzzing overhead. The deafening concussion of a grenade blast. It's all hear. Add that to an excellent sound track as preformed by the Seattle Symphony orchestra, and you have an incredible audio experience. Definitely one of the strongest points of the game.

EXTRAS: This game has quite a few extras. If you perform well enough in a mission, you can unlock certain scenes in the gallery, such as ''The Making Of'' that particular level and other goodies. It may keep you interested in playing long enough to unlock everything that there is. There are also some cheats that you can punch in to alter the gameplay (no Bullet Shield until you've beaten the game, you cheater!).

BUY OR RENT?: Well, I can't answer this either way. If you are just looking for a good FPS, then you might want to rent this one first. However, if you are into the historical aspects of the Second World War and specifically want a FPS based on that war, then I would definitely purchase this one for myself. The replay value is pretty high if you want to unlock some extras or even if you just want to take the side of your Allied brothers to try to stave back Nazi Germany.

MY SCORE: This game gets an 8. Nothing groundbreaking as far as a first-person shooter goes, but it is so well presented and sucks you right in so well that you might find hard to put down. I recommend it.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 12/06/03

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