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Up until a month ago I had often wondered what happened to all of the first person shooters for the Playstation. Besides the Duke and a few oldies, things have been relatively quiet in this genre. All of a sudden we get a reasonable port of Quake II and now Medal of Honor graces our unstoppable console.
Medal of Honor is a 1st person shooter that attempts to recreate some of the missions fought during WWII. Believe it or not, the concept of this game was actually brought forward by Steven Spielberg after his experience with making his movie, "Saving Private Ryan". To help authenticate the game and make things as accurately depicted as possible, Dreamworks actually brought in retired WWII USMC Captain Dale Dye to help consult on the project. Dale's previous contributions were to the films Saving Private Ryan, Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July, so this guy knows what the hell he is doing.
This game promises gamers a very in-depth view into the perils and bravery, heroism and combat that was all part of the Second World War. Details such as weapons, environments and uniforms were all taken into consideration for the making of this title but does it deliver or does it instead just end up being a dry history lesson that many gamers may choose to dismiss? Well, you're about to find out.
Sound and Vision:
Holy crap the musical score and sound effects in Medal of Honor just totally blew me away. There is just no other way to describe the sound portion of this game without including the words "brilliant, masterpiece or incredible". The game actually includes an hour-long original orchestral soundtrack that manages to capture the theme and "feel" of the title completely. The musical score is uplifting at one moment and then full of dread the next it sets the stage perfectly and runs hand-in-hand with what you are experiencing in the game.
The sound effects are equally as impressive hell, maybe even more so. When weapons are fired you get a very distinctive sound for each and every one. No more wimpy little pop sounds when you discharge a bazooka or turret mounted machine gun for example now you get an incredible bass oomph and a resounding echo as the sound reflects off of walls or canyon sides. We are talking maximum impact here folks and that's not all. As you are making your way through missions you will be immersed with all sorts of ambient background sounds. You can hear footsteps shuffling around, dogs barking in the distance, lone cries for help from some tortured souls, weapon fire, air strikes, you name it. If this is what war sounds like then count me out because it is scary as all hell.
For those of you lucky enough to have your Playstation connected to a good surround receiver with four or five speakers you are gonna be in heaven, as the sound effects are taken to a whole new level. Now you will be able to place an enemy by listening to what speaker they are coming from. If you hear talking or gun fire coming from the left rear speaker for instance, you can turn in that direction and be pretty certain you will see your opponent. As you spin your character around the sound travels from speaker to speaker the effects are spectacular.
On the graphics side of the house you might be in for a bit of a let down maybe. At first glance things look a bit grainy and washed out. The majority of the events take place at night so things are also rather dark and muddy. Once you get past this though, it's all uphill from there.
The character models are very nicely detailed. Yes, you can certainly tell that they are polygon created and there are some rough edges, but up close they are not too bad and from a distance they look superb. The place where the characters really shine though is in their animations. Wounded enemies squirm and writhe in agony (hehehe) and react very realistically to their hits. You can even plink a helmet off of a Nazi with a well placed head shot glorious!
The environments, while grainy, offer a tremendous amount of detail. Cities are accurately depicted and convincing in nature with all of their nooks and crannies and war ravaged appearance. Nice lighting effects are used to portray weapon fire in the horizon during the evening and explosions look wonderful.
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