PC Game Review: Medal of Honor Pacific Assault
Pacific Assault is not only an homage to the World War II vet in general and the United States Marine Corps in particular, but also a first-person shooter jungle warfare simulator. Does it have it all?
A Game Worthy of the Name
First-Person Shooters (FPS) would seem to have covered the Second World War fairly extensively. Chat around the water cooler has many gamers wondering how much more the genre can effectively cover. Yet every year seems to produce another game or two that not only does the FPS genre justice, but also seems to improve on the games which preceded it.
Medal of Honor Pacific Assault continues that trend, though it may surprise many gamers in its departure from the proven formulas of past FPS games and even of the Medal of Honor series in general. Past Medal of Honor games, while excellent in quality, seemed to lack the satisfaction worthy of the name of the highest award given to warriors in the United States. That isnít to say that they werenít excellent games. It is to say that it seemed like the homage they gave to the Medal of Honor seemed a bit contrived. Until now.
A Jungle Warfare Sim
Medal of Honor Pacific Assault, as the name implies, is all about the war in the Pacific. The game opens with a beach landing on Tarawa. The message appears to be that one man, untrained, wonít last long. Like it or not, the player cannot bypass his training. Just as every Marine must go through boot camp, so too must every player pass through the gameís training. So from Tarawa the player is next taken through a series of boot camp training assignments that will be useful to the beginner but old hat to the FPS veteran. The only skill I failed to master was that of throwing hand grenades. For some reason I found them quite difficult to find the range on. In virtually every other FPS Iíve played I had no trouble with the grenades, but here, I never really got the knack of them, even with the training. Regardless, once done with training the player moves on to his first assignment: Pearl Harbor. The rest, as they say, is history.
With most FPS games players are lucky if the named battles are even in chronological order. This isnít the case with Medal of Honor Pacific Assault. Captain Dyeís influence is unmistakable. In order to help the development team better understand the challenges the Marines faced, the team was given some basic training in tactics and weapons use. They then were flown to some of the islands where battles were fought. Speaking with Captain Dye and some of his team at this yearís E3, he told The Wargamer that the development team came back from their experience and scrapped much of the work they had done beforehand. That effort and rework is reflected in the game. Medal of Honor Pacific Assault plays less like its predecessors and more like a jungle warfare simulator. There are some exceptions. While head shots can produce a one-shot-one-kill effect, most body shots require several hits to take down an opponent. Conversely the player can be hit several times before he losses all of his health. The result is a game that blends reality and fun into an enjoyable, if challenging, experience.