Review by maximus86

"Just a few more months in development= better score."

A lot of mediocre reviews have sprung up from all the various major game sites and websites. From all the buildup of the previous games in the Medal of Honor series many of the fans expected another great leap forward as was experienced when the series jumped from the Playstation console to the PC or even Playstation 2. With any leap forward something new has to be attempted and it is often a risk. It will usually achieve greatness or unbearable failure. Yes, there was a new team working on this game and try something new they did, but I must say that it received neither complete failure(anything mediocre or less) nor astounding success(memorable and innovative). To simply put it, this game is good.

To start off, a few traditions were broken right off the bat with Rising Sun. Although on the front cover of PS2 MOH games a soldier with a rifle in his hands running somewhere has been a trademark sign of the series continues to be the same, the title screen does not. Instead of having a unique Menu screen in the previous game, Rising Sun simply has a normal, up and down select-your-option-with-text rather than symbols with a background of the inside of a ship. All I can ask is: why? Also, the text documents given to you before the mission are gone in this game. As a replacement, you will get your sister reading you letters at the end of a mission. Another new attempt, and quite a good one, but why take out those text documents? Couldn't they just put both in?

Anyways, the graphics in this game are great. I thought they were a slight improvement from the last game; Frontline, but not quite ahead of its time. More people were brought on screen at once and more action was happening before your very eyes with little to no slowdown. The jungles; a setting not seen in the European theater, were done well and need no complaining, but it would have been nice to add some more detail, such as parrots flying around as an example. These cutscenes are not cinematic, they are the same visuals as in-game graphics.

Audio has always been the best feature of Medal of Honor games. The music was always professionally done and had an amazing score. Rising Sun continues this tradition, along with the audio. The voice acting was good, but I was a bit heart-broken when the narrator of the documentaries was a different voice. I don't know what happened to him or why he didn't provide the voice for the historical movies in this game, but the new guy does not surpass his predecessors ability.

The game has some minor drawbacks in gameplay. Sometimes enemies will run right past you without harming you as if they didn't even notice you. Perhaps they were just too scared and mistakenly mistook you for one of their own...or maybe it was just an AI bug. On other occasions, enemies just crouched there and looked around as my sniper rifle was a few feet away from them and the center of my zoom was right in between their eyes. These bugs don't dominate the game but they do come up sometimes.

Realism is an issue discussed more than once between MOH gamers. Many complain that there is no blood in the game and once again in this game, there is no blood. Also, when you battle alongside allies that need to be alive to let you proceed with the mission, they don't seem to be affected greatly by the bayonets or bullets of the enemy. They briefly stumble, but continue on as if in perfect health and seeking no medical attention. I conclude that this is a good thing; I would hate to fail a mission and play it several times over because my allies' artificial intelligence is not quite up to par with mine.

The length of Rising Sun is what ultimately makes the game disappointing. There are a total of nine missions, but the first two (Pearl Harbor intro levels) can be beaten in less then 15 minutes combined. That leaves seven more, which can be easily beaten in one sitting if you have nothing else to do on a Friday night. The medium difficulty setting is not as difficult as the medium setting in Frontline, so I suggest everyone play the game at least on normal to add to the value of the game. Although low in number, the missions are longer than in Frontline but this time the game offers several save points during a mission. They are also great missions nonetheless. Every mission is pretty much unique and offers a new setting with entertaining fire-fights, bombardment by a mortar, and even the riding of an animal. You'll go all over the Pacific theater, so it was nice to change the setting to Asia.

Probably the biggest and only huge improvement upon Frontline was the multiplayer, simply because Frontline didn't have any to speak of. This time around, you can battle it out with bots or go online. Unless you have friends to play with or online capabilities, don't count on enjoying the multi-player part of this game. After completing the game, you might as well focus on mastering it. That is, getting all the medals and bonuses. There's actually quite a lot of bonuses ranging from finding movie clips during levels which are interviews with veterans or storyboards for the game to unlocking multi-player skins. You can also unlock bonuses, or cheats really, that will help make getting the medals much easier, as it can become quite tedious to achieve the requirements to get them; avoid getting shot and avoid missing YOUR shots. These two requirements are a drastic turn for the worst from the rest of the MOH games, that of which was to simply finish the level with over 75% health and kill 95% of the enemies. This time around, those two don't matter. That's right,as long as you don't get shot more than an x amount of times (number varies from mission to mission) and get over 85% accuracy rating and finish the bonus objectives(the only cool requirement of getting a medal), you'll get the medal. This can become very hard and boring as you will be required to be so careful of every move and shot you make it becomes scary. The restart option will be used often. Thankfully, the loading times are quite short.

I was ready to give up on getting the medals when I found out there was an easier way to get these requirements. Absent in Frontline were bonuses, or as I like to say; legitimate cheats. I say legitimate because they are; they are simply ''bonuses'' that you acquire legally by playing the game and achieving them, without typing in a password or anything like that. Two of these cheats are ''infinite ammo'' and ''bullet shield.'' Bullet shield basically makes all bullets not able to touch you, making the ''hits taken'' part of getting the medal very easy. The infinite ammo cheat also gives you infinite grenades if you start off with even 1 in the level. This way, you only need to shoot an enemy once to get that 100% accuracy rating, and simply bomb the rest of the level with your countless number of grenades. To those who master the game without the bonuses I congratulate you, but I don't think it's necessary to legitimately master the game.

This is what makes the game good, and not superb. The minor bugs and glitches that could have been improved, the length of the game that should have been double that it actually was, and the acquiring of medals that should have been the same as all the other MOH games, which would have made mastering the game fun, and not absurdly challenging. In terms of realism, would your commander care more about your accuracy on your assignment(Rising Sun) or the fact that you killed all the enemies in the mission that you were assigned to(Frontline)? Don't you deserve better for achieving the latter? Unfortunately, not in Rising Sun.

To all, I recommend a rental rather than a purchase, even to the loyal fan base of the Medal of Honor series that has been built over the last few years that even I have become until now. You'll have a great time with your rental, but your money can be better spent.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 12/22/03

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