"A fresh new look for an age old franchise"
Medal of Honor is one of the most successful video game franchises around today. Debuting on the Playstation it has been through many theatres of battle and across many different platforms. This years installment, Rising Sun takes you to the land of the rising sun, Japan and is a solid addition to the Medal of Honor franchise but carries with it a few minor problems.
Rising Sun begins with one of the most famous battles of World War II, Pearl Harbour. You as Joseph Griffin are stationed on the USS California when the bombs start dropping. From then you are thrown into the action and must save the USS California but also get out of there with your lives. You begin as a regular soldier but halfway through the game you gain a promotion to a sergeant in the newly formed OSS.
Rising Sun sets you a number of tasks to complete in each mission. These don't ever get boring and repetitive because there is such variety included in the storyline. For instance in the Pearl Harbour mission you have to defend ships from attack by Japanese Zeros but another task is to infiltrate an Axis meeting. This variety keeps Rising Sun from getting repetitive. You meet up with numerous NPCs (non-player characters) throughout some missions but for most of the time its all up to you to complete tasks.
One area where Rising Sun definitely succeeds is the atmosphere. Pearl Harbour is one of the most cinematic video game experiences to date and really captures the horror and surprise of the United States on that fateful day in 1941. Once Joseph is promoted to the OSS as a sergeant the gameplay changes and rather then having all out battles with lots of Japanese soldiers, you will have to be careful as you have limited supplies. Where as objectives before the promotion included reaching a point and defeating all the Japanese soldiers, they then become find secret information from enemy commanders etc.
The other problems with Rising Sun are the controls and the difficulty. It is likely you will breeze through half the game in a matter of hours as long as you can handle the controls. Most of the early missions last about twenty to thirty minutes, even shorter if you know what you're doing. The game is also heavily scripted. For instance in one area you will walk up to a grate and it will be locked, complete an objective and it all of a sudden becomes useable.
The problem with the controls is that it requires the accuracy of a mouse and keyboard combination with a PS2 controller. At times you will be sure you are hitting the soldiers, only to not register a hit and given they appear to have superhuman accuracy even when you're moving and on the easiest difficulty level this can become quite a problem. At times you will be able to take command of gun emplacements and the game also features on rails section such as infiltrating a Japanese camp in a dinghy.
The AI as mentioned before have superb accuracy when shooting and will take cover. Add the fact that they can be often well camouflaged and you have one serious challenge on your hands. Although the game is based around conflicts with Japan, the German hierarchy features at one point in the game. They will take cover behind objects and will throw grenades back at you. Overall they can offer quite a challenge to even the most seasoned MOH veteran.
To defeat the enemy you have a variety of historically accurate weapons to use, but you can't pick up the weapons they drop. The weapons include the M1 Garand, Thompson, shotgun and grenades. In other areas such as Pearl Harbour you will have non-conventional items such as a fire extinguisher to douse flames or binoculars to spy on Japanese camps. Enemy soldiers have individual hit points, so shooting them in the leg will take more bullets then in the torso or other areas.
Joseph visits a variety of locales throughout the missions. Obviously starting in Pearl Harbour, you move through the Jungle and Singapore just to name a few. These environments are all heavily detailed. For instance in Pearl Harbour there is numerous battleships and hundreds of Japanese Zero planes flying over head, in the jungle dense bushland and camouflaged soldiers await you. Overall the graphics are only adequate and are not aesthetically pleasing. The planes and ships do look historically accurate as do the soldiers but considering the frame rate at times drops then its hard to recommend Rising Sun based on its looks.
Between each mission you are given a background on the actual battle that happened during World War II including footage and a voice over. This helps string the storyline together and also shows which battles of World War II the missions in Rising Sun are based off. Another great feature is the Letters from Home. Joseph receives letters from his sister, who is still in America and this helps show the side of World War II in terms of the people back home. Propoganda posters are shown and overall this section adds to the storyline as you can see both sides of the war from both the soldiers and relatives perspective's
Medal of Honor: Rising Sun includes multiplayer both online and offline on the PS2. The online multiplayer consists of deathmatch and team deathmatch only. The game connects to US servers and at the moment there are quite a few people already playing. Offline you can also play co-operative through the single player campaign.
Overall Medal of Honor: Rising Sun will please fans of the MOH franchise but those who were looking for something new other then a new theatre of war and new battles won't get much. If you have played another Medal of Honor game then you can know what to expect from Rising Sun. Rent this one first before handing over the cold hard cash.