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May 19, 2005
Medal of Honor: European Assault - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
16/6/2005EA GamesEA Los Angeles1-4$89.95

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Graphics look pretty spectacular.
Electronic Arts' World War II First Person Shooter series is one of spectacular highs (such as Medal of Honor: Allied Assault on PC and to a lesser extent Medal of Honor: Frontline on PS2) and spectacular disappointments (such as the recent Medal of Honor: Rising Sun). Fortunately for gamers Electronic Arts have listened to the criticism of the previous title and have put a lot more effort into Medal of Honor: European Assault (which is the new name for Medal of Honor: Dogs of War which was translating poorly in Europe apparently). This game promises to expand and improve on previous titles and at this stage it appears that the developers are heading down the right path – fortunately this game isn’t as linear as the previous title!

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Out in North Africa.
Based in real WWII locations and featuring an original storyline from Academy Award nominee screenwriter John Milius (Apocalypse Now, Clear and Present Danger and Conan the Barbarian) Medal of Honor: European Assault places the gamer in the boots of US Army Lieutenant William Holt, who has been hand-picked by William 'Wild Bill' Donovan to be the first field agent of the newly formed Office of Strategic Services – the OSS. Lt. Holt’s classified mission to Europe is of critical importance to the Allies, as he is tasked with gathering intelligence regarding the development and deployment of the deadly Nazi Tiger Tank and more significantly, stopping the Nazi plan to develop and harness atomic energy.

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The big bang theory!
Medal of Honor: European Assault includes four main campaign areas, with three missions in each. These areas include:
St Nazaire: Fight alongside the British Commandos in a daring raid on the deep water port of St Nazaire, France, in a desperate effort to keep the North Atlantic free of Nazi battleships.
North Africa: Join the infamous Desert Rats, outmanned and outgunned, in an effort to stop Rommel and his feared Tiger Tank prototype.
Stalingrad: Work with members of the Red Army in a last stand effort to push back against the Nazi offensive and preserve the all important Eastern Front. Battle of the Bulge: Engage the enemy alongside the US 101st Airborne Division, and help hold the line against the final Nazi blitzkrieg of the war in preparation for the final push to Berlin.

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Overlooking the town.
The developers of this game have obviously taken the scathing criticism given to Medal of Honor: Rising Sun and have revamped this game considerably. Medal of Honor: European Assault will offer the player 360° movement and the ability to complete missions in any order. In each of the maps enemy soldiers group together as in real life, it is possible to avoid them entirely if you're careful enough. To aide in this openness the developers are greatly reducing the number of scripted elements in the game. In terms of weapons your character will only be able to carry two guns, and grenades. Also new is the melee attack for close quarters combat.

Players will also be able to direct the movements of their squad during combat in real-time via the D-pad. As well as working closely with allies such as the British Commandos and the Red Army in four turning point battles of the European campaign, the player will be given secret OSS objectives which drive the heart of the storyline. Make War Personal: In Medal of Honor European Assault, players will face a series of SS ‘Nemesis’ who will hold intelligence key to the whereabouts and readiness of the Nazi secret atomic development program, known as ‘Virus House’. Not only are these Nemesis tough, they are on the hunt for William Holt.

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Battle at night time.
In Medal of Honor: European Assault player reward is delivered in real-time. Successful in-game ‘plays’ will fill a Rally Meter (highlighted on screen) which when full will allow the player to access 'Rally Mode'. When in this temporary state the player will be able to ‘unleash the hero within’ armed with unlimited ammo and invulnerability. It should be noted that once the Rally Meter is filled the player will be able to choose when to enter Rally Mode. We expect that the majority of players will save this advantage until they are faced with the heaviest of enemy forces. One of the strangest exclusions from this title is the online gameplay which was present in Medal of Honor: Rising Sun. Perhaps it was the fact that it was implemented so poorly in that game that it was left out this time. In any case it will allow the developers to focus on the single player game, although 2-player split screen will also be included.

After the previous games hype and disappointment it would be remiss not to be a little skeptical about the promises and potential for Medal of Honor: European Assault. Still, Electronic Arts aren't a company that will run such a series into the ground and the use of the Havok 2.0 physics engine should be a major boost to the series. They have the money and people to remedy any problems and I think we are set to be pleasantly surprised with this title. Expect a release in June.