Review: Medal of Honor – Allied Assault (PC)

In this review, we prepare for a beach assault in this PC game Medal of Honor – Allied Assault. We find out how well this First Person Shooter (FPS) game plays.

This game was released in 2002 and would be the third game released in this series. Previously, we reviewed the original Medal of Honor and found the game to be good, but with substandard graphics. We then reviewed the game Medal of Honor: Underground. While the game did marginally improve in a number of ways, it still ended up being a mediocre play. So, with this being a new game in the series on a whole new platform, we wondered if this game will turn things around for the series.

You play as Lieutenant Mike Powell, a member of the OSS (Office of Strategic Services). Your missions take place all over Europe and in northern Africa during the Second World War. Your missions vary from rescue operations to sabotage to even taking out enemy infrastructure and supplies.

This game takes some features found in the previous games to the next level. This includes fellow soldiers who are to aid you throughout your mission and secret operatives embedded in the ranks of the enemy. Some of these allies can be extremely useful in combat while others can be annoying to work with as they race ahead and alert every enemy in the area to your presence. In short, they range from invaluable and crucial to a hindrance.

The weapons you get in this game remain largely the same from the previous game. This game removes the Molotov cocktail and crossbow. Some weapons are added to the arsenal, but are largely upgrades to previous weapons. An example of this is the assault rifle that enhances a more difficult to control assault rifle. Some of these enhanced weapons exist only towards the end of the game. Still, the weapons are pretty par for the course as far as this series is concerned. You have pistols, rifles, sniper rifles, assault weapons, a shotgun, a bazooka, and grenades.

Probably the biggest enhancement to your arsenal are the tools you can obtain throughout your mission. This includes binoculars, radio mines, and an air support radio. This goes along with tools found in previous games such as mines and wire cutting pliers. The air support tool requires both the radio and the binoculars. You look through the binoculars and “fire” the orders to the air support team. You then stay focused on that target as you spot the air support team all the way up to when the target is destroyed. If enemies start firing at you, and you take your focus away from the target, you’ll need to re-establish the target after.

The enemies have, by and large, stayed the same from the previous game. There are soldiers with pistols, assault rifles, grenades, and the bazooka weapon. A few of them are even on mounted machine guns, ready to mow you down. What is new is where these enemies can be found. This includes on the back of a truck or in watch towers.

Enemy vehicles are largely the same from the previous game. There are tanks and even an attack plane that attempt to take you down. In addition to this are rocket-powered gun emplacements. Some emplacements fire one rocket at a time while others can fire a whole series of them. Keep your head down.

You also get to take control of various vehicles. While firing a machine gun mounted on a jeep is nothing new, driving the tank is. With this tank, you can take down enemy gun emplacements, tanks, and even whole sections of buildings.

Aiding you along the way are various health pickups. The medical canteen has been modified from the previous game and now replenishes 25% of your health instead of 10%. The medical kit makes its return, restoring 50% of your health (as opposed to 25% like before). Meanwhile, the field surgeon kit (which restored 50% of your health) has been removed and simply replaced with a large medical kit that restores 100% of your health. The thing to keep in mind is the fact that medical supplies are less frequent this time around. Sometimes, whole sections of level is devoid of health pickups entirely.

There is, however, a new way to restore your health in this game. If you are injured, you can locate a field medic who will be happy to restore your health. There are two field medics in the game. One medic will restore 100% of your health only once. The other field medic will restore your health by 50% if your health drops below 50%. The difference is the fact that you basically have unlimited health packs as long as the medic survives. There are only a few medics to be found throughout the game.

If you complete all of your objectives, you’ll be able to exit each level. It is possible to get medals depending on how well you did.

In total, there are 5 missions. Each mission is subdivided into small sections just like the previous games. While there are fewer general missions, there are more sub-sections of each mission that can total more than 5.

A major enhancement to this game is the level design. Previously, this series suffered from a sort of “hall-room-hall-room-finish” syndrome. While this was improved on the second game, this game improves this in a much better matter. There are now multiple routes you can take, some backtracking sections, rooms that are off to the side, bombed out villages, towns, a forest, sniper nests, and roads with forks in them. There is enough variety to say that this game keeps things interesting from beginning to end with little to criticize. A very nice development in the series, that’s for sure.

Another improvement to the series is the inclusion of different difficulty settings. This game is the first in the series that added this feature. While it sounds exciting at first, the only difference the difficulty settings seem to have are on the number of enemies there are in the level, how much damage you take per shot, enemy accuracy, and how much health enemies have. There are no new additional levels or objectives to be found as far as I know. So, a baby step in the right direction, but at least its progress.

While there are a lot of improvements to this series that helped bring this game more on par with other games, this game isn’t without faults. One fault I have with this game is a steep difficulty curve. On easy, mission 1 is quite straight forward. Mission 2 can be challenging, but is manageable. Mission 3 relies a lot on luck on the first attempt or two (chances are, you’re dying a number of times on this one). Mission 4 and 5, meanwhile, relies almost entirely of memorizing enemy positions. This is especially true for the sniper town mission where some positions can only be found by shooting at random windows until enemy shots finally stop. Even then, it’s very touch and go.

Another criticism I have with this game is the ending – or complete lack of one. Once you finish the last mission, you get a very brief ride away from the scene before a credits roll. Not only is this a terrible ending for a game, but it is also probably the worst ending I’ve seen so far in the series. A very anti-climactic feature in this game.

Generally speaking, what I was looking for in this game was a turnaround for the series. As far as I’m concerned, this game is successful in doing just that. A lot of features help bring this series on par, or close to on par, with other games. While I wouldn’t call this game the greatest thing of all time by any means, it’s still a very decent game to play. It has good length, level design, missions, and brings in features that are long overdue for this series. Unfortunately, the difficulty curve is a little steep and the ending is quite non-existent. So, it is by no means a perfect game. Still, it is definitely worth playing.

Graphics for this series has always been a sore spot in this series. It routinely drags down the quality of play in this series. This game finally breaks that habit. The draw distance is more than sufficient. The models are nicely done. The subtle mouth movements when they talk work well for a game of its time. The effects of buildings exploding, the ocean spray, and the dirt being splashed around all elevate this game to a reasonable level. While it is by no means amazing, it was pretty good.

I cringed when I found out that this game re-purposed a lot of the music found in the previous games. The reason is that I found the soundtracks in previous games to only work best when not in the game. The only music in this game that stood out for me was some of the music used in the final mission. The other music did set the mood nicely in some of the levels, but beyond that, they didn’t do that much to be particularly memorable. The sound effects were pretty good. They were good enough to make me struggle between giving this game a 3 or a 4.

Overall, this was a decent all around game. The mouse look eliminates a lot of the control problems this series had in the past. The level design is greatly improved from the previous games. The length of the game is nicely done. The addition of difficulty is a nice long overdue feature, but is only a small baby step forward. The downsides of this game include a steep difficulty curve and a complete lack of an ending. The graphics are finally decent in this game unlike the previous entries. The music had a few instances of being memorable during mission 6, but otherwise didn’t do much beyond providing a mood for the levels themselves. The sound effects were quite good. Overall, while not the greatest game ever, still definitely worth playing.

Overall
Furthest point in game: Beat game on easy. Beat mission 1 on both Medium and Hard.

General gameplay: 19/25
Replay value: 7/10
Graphics: 7/10
Audio: 4/5

Overall rating: 74%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.


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