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June 30, 2005
Medal of Honor: European Assault - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
16/6/2005EA GamesEA Los Angeles1-4M15+Medium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
95KBDolby Pro Logic IIYesNoNoneNo

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Graphics look pretty spectacular.
As I stated in my preview of this game 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 Medal of Honor: Rising Sun on PS2). This latest title, Medal of Honor: European Assault, is fortunately a much better title then previous games in the series with bigger missions, more open levels, multiple objectives and squad members to assist you.

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 Ė the OSS. Lt. Holtís 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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Out in North Africa.
Medal of Honor: European Assault is essentially another First Person Shooter, but this time there are a couple of new additions to the game. The biggest of these is that you now have a small squad of up to three members to assist you in completing the missions. It's possible to order the squad to move to different positions. They'll take cover and fire on enemies often covering your back while you take on an approaching onslaught. The game allows you to only carry two weapons at a time as well as grenades. It is possible to drop weapons and pick up others - even from fallen enemies while the developers have also given us a melee attack for close range combat. The levels themselves are much, much bigger then in previous games - many have multiple paths to the targets or almost open landscapes to explore. Indeed exploration is now a key in completing all the objectives in the mission - including several hidden ones.

One more new addition to Medal of Honor: European Assault is the Adrenaline Meter. This meter, when filled, allows the player to enter and 'Adrenaline Mode'. Essentially this gives the player unlimited ammo, extra focus and even makes them invincible for approximately 15 seconds. When I first heard about this I was concerned how it would fit into a semi-realistic World War II simulation, but it isn't as bad as it sounds and certainly helps you in one or two of the boss encounters.

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Nice explosion.
Speaking of boss encounters during each of the missions in this game you will encounter a boss, or nemesis. These guys are pretty quick and handy at taking you out - get too close and you're likely to be killed pretty quickly. You'll need your wits to get past some of these guys. Impressively these encounters don't mean the end of the level as you'll still have to battle your way out of their strongholds. Speaking of being killed the game does provide a fair number of medi-kits to heal yourselves and upon completing objectives you are given new revive tokens which act like continues within the level if you die.

The game includes four main campaign areas. The first of these is a raid on the port of St Nazaire in France which was a staging point to Nazi warships. This actual campaign is actually the least impressive with rather dull visuals. Get through this and you'll then be off to the deserts of North Africa where you have to stop Rommel and his Tiger Tank prototypes, then Stalingrad where you must work with the Red Army to stop the Nazi offensive and finally into the Battle of the Bulge. The campaigns are all vastly different in their look and it's because of this you remain so enthusiastic about the game.

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Overlooking the town.
In a game such as this there is one major question everyone will inevitably ask - what happened to the online gameplay? With games such as SOCOM and Killzone providing some wonderful online experiences it's a bit of a disappointment. Having said that Electronic Arts are a long way behind the 8- ball in this area on all consoles. Another disappointment is the length of the game. It's not as short as some with about 15 hour completion time, but with no online modes you would expect just that little bit more to add some value.

In terms of graphics the first thing that hits you is the presentation of the title. Using old footage from the war the developers have blended this perfectly into the game as it gives you a sense of the real events. The in-game graphics are also pretty special. The first missions in St Nazaire is a little concerning as it takes place at night - the graphics look dark and dull, as soon as you head into North Africa things really start to pick up and you realise how much effort Electronic Arts has put into this aspect of the game. The frame rate is solid and while the character models could have done with a bit more detail the effects such as explosions and smoke will have you on your toes.

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The St Nazaire opening battle.
One area where Electronic Arts almost never fail to please is the sound and Medal of Honor: European Assault is absolutely no exception. Absolutely every second of the game oozes World War II battlefields and quality. One perfect example is the way in which the developers have used the voice of an older person (possibly a real veteran - I'm not sure) and then during the cut scene it changes to a younger voice as the game begins. It's not dissimilar to the effect that Steven Spielberg used in his movie, Saving Private Ryan. The music includes some wonderful orchestral moments which certainly wouldn't be out of place in the latest big screen movies.

All-in-all this is a wonderful return to form for EA's Medal of Honor series. The previous title, Medal of Honor: Rising Sun, was extremely disappointing and while this game should have included online gameplay and a couple more missions to extend its life it's certainly an enjoyable title.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version) or Amazon (NTSC Version)
GRAPHICSNot the best on PS2, but certainly better then the previous game.
SOUNDOne area EA almost never get wrong is sound. This is brilliant.
GAMEPLAYCommanding squads adds some depth, the gameplay is entertaining.
VALUEA bigger game then Rising Sun, but there are no online modes!
OVERALLMedal of Honor: European Assault is a very solid game - as long as you don't want to play online. Certainly a game which FPS fans should check out.

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