PS2 Previews: Medal of Honor: European Assault Preview

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Medal of Honor: European Assault Preview

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Scheduled release date:

June 2005

The Medal of Honor games have seen some serious fluctuations in quality since the first one surprised many PSX owners back in 1999, much like alternating taking a step forward and a step back. If the pattern holds to form, which we hope it will, then EA's latest Medal of Honor game could be a dandy—and from early looks and information, there's definitely cause for optimism.

Medal of Honor: European Assault, which is due for release in June, puts players in the role of William Holt, a field agent for the Office of Strategic Services—or OSS—and the game will follow Holt's forays into some of the most chaotic, dangerous, and important theaters of war on the European front. Unlike earlier games in this series, however, there's a certain amount of open-endedness in European Assault's gameplay. While there will still be main objectives to accomplish, there will be new ones that tend to flesh out the "spy" portion of being an OSS operative. Accomplishing these extra objectives and learning more about Hitler's plans for the Nazi war machine can prove instrumental in turning the tide of the war. Each level is large and offers multiple pathways through each one, making for a potentially different experience with each playthrough.

As with more and more games of this ilk, there's a squad-based element to European Assault's gameplay. The game's development team has managed to keep the squad controls relatively simple, so that it won't overwhelm those who want to get into the action instead of barking out orders. The other major addition of note is the introduction of Rally Mode. As you carry out certain actions in the course of a game, a rally meter will gradually fill. Once full, the player can enter Rally Mode, in which there is unlimited ammo, increased accuracy, temporary invincibility, and a temporary one-shot kill ability.

There will be lots going on graphically in European Assault. Up to 50 soldiers can be on-screen at once, which means a lot of incoming and outgoing fire... and a lot of chaos, just like you'd expect in a wartime battle scenario. You'll be able to notice little things, too, such as enemy reaction to the current battle situation. Germans will run if outnumbered, but if things swing in their favor, be prepared for a blitz. Combine this with varying battle locations and conditions, and this looks to be a sweet game.

One unfortunate piece of news regarding European Assault is that it's a totally offline experience. Despite the obvious concentration on the single-player campaign, EALA has not totally forsaken the multiplayer aspect of the game. Although the action is splitscreen, there will be over 15 different maps, many of which will be multiplayer-specific. There will also be quite a few multiplayer gameplay options, ranging from traditional deathmatches to Capture The Flag games.

Can EALA pull off the comeback here and bring the Medal of Honor franchise back to respectability? There's only one way to find out... and that's by looking for our review of the game, which is slated for an early June release.

5/4/2005 Peter Skerritt Jr.

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