"December 07, 1941. 0740 hours. One of the most famous battles of World War II was about to unfold. "
When EA created Medal of Honor on the Playstation one they struck gold, gaming gold. Along with the Sims, this venerable franchise has made EA a very rich company indeed so its natural that they would want to keep the World War II games flowing and that's exactly what Rising Sun for all next generation consoles will do.
Until now, Medal of Honor has been set in the European theatre of war. Battles like Omaha Beach landing on D-Day have immersed players into some of the most horrific battles in history. Rising Sun (along with Pacific Assault on PC further into the future) is going to change this, a new character, a new theatre of war and of course new famous battles for players to fight. Some of these battles are infamous in the history of World War II. For example Pearl Harbour, when a US naval base was targeted and destroyed by Japanese fighter planes.
Players will take the role of Joseph Griffin, a marine corporal stationed on one of the US frigates attacked during the bombing of Pearl Harbour. The game will open with this famous battle which brought the United States into the war for the first time and from then on the intensity won't let up. As the bombs drop, and ships sink, your task will be to get out alive and take down as many Japanese planes as possible. This will serve as the prologue of the storyline, and nine missions later it will conclude with a battle that will no doubt test all your skills learnt whilst playing the Medal of Honor franchise games so far.
The time line of Rising Sun covers almost the entirety of World War II. From 1941-1945. Throughout the course of Rising Sun, you as Griffin will rise in rank and visit many different theatres of battle . Battles such as a midnight raid on Guadalcanal, where you will be tasked with taking back a township from Japanese control, destroying bridges to stop the Japanese war machine and recapturing a lost American airfield just to name a few. As with other Medal of Honor games, you will at times work alone but there will be some NPCs (Non-Player characters) to help you out with information or at times during combat. There is a greater emphasis at times on squad combat as opposed to rushing through levels by yourself.
For the US side of things, players will find most of the weapons are the same as in previous titles. Pistols, shotguns, sniper guns and grenades are included just to name a few. There are twenty featured in the game overall. Players will again be able to take command of gun emplacements such as turrets, and in the first mission one of the massive weapons located on the US frigate. Vehicles such as a rubber dinghy will feature in Rising Sun but will again be on rails and out of the players control.
The major change will come from the enemies as no longer are you fighting Germans, the Japanese are your main enemy now. They have different clothing, different weapons and different tactics. For those of you who thought Medal of Honor was getting boring and easy, you may be in for a culture shock.
EA have left no stone unturned when it came to crafting together a superb team to create Rising Sun. Captain Dale Dye, who has worked on the other titles has again lent his expertise and analysis on the military side of things whilst EA has employed Dan King, a World War II historian to accurately represent the battles featured throughout Rising Sun. Award winning EA Los Angeles sound team is again working on this title so you can expect some superb, accurate sound effects that will rock your house to its foundations. Many of the team have worked on Medal of Honor titles before so players can expect the same level of polish as titles such as Frontline, Allied Assault etc.
As mentioned before ten missions will be included with Medal of Honor: Rising Sun and they will take you as Griffin to numerous differing environments. Players will have to battle slowly through jungle missions trying to pick out camouflaged enemy units, as well as deal with environmental hazards such as swamps. Other environments include remote enemy bases and in a Singapore city. Whilst environments such as the jungle will provide some camouflage for Griffin, others will leave him out in the open. Missions can also be completed in numerous ways. For instance if you manage to save a NPC who is being tortured, he will show you a different route to complete a level avoiding some enemy forces.
Along with a strong single player campaign, Rising Sun will feature an indepth multiplayer portion as well. The Playstation 2 version will be online but it will be only available on broadband connections. Xbox and Gamecube miss out this time around. Four player split screen for deathmatch will also be included as well as two player co-op play, something that will no doubt bring a grin to gamers faces.
Medal of Honor: Rising Sun could reinvigorate the series. Medal of Honor: Frontline was a good finale for the console franchise in the European theatre (although I wouldn't be surprised if it returns there sometime in the future). After numerous titles set in the European theatre of war it was time to move on and the battles with the Japanese and Pearl Harbour appear to be a great new setting for the franchise. Medal of Honor: Rising Sun is due for release early November on all next-generation consoles. More information on this title soon.