Let's be honest, Rising Sun was a real low point for the prestigious Medal of Honor series. However, having been seriously scolded by some searing criticism, EA LA has bandaged its wounds, regrouped and is now launching a counter offensive with Medal of Honor: European Assault.
We got a chance to sample the game first hand during a recent visit to EA LA's offices, and you know what? This might just be a genuine return to form for the franchise. "Up till now the Medal of Honor games have been very linear," explains Tarrnie Williams, the game's senior producer. "We wanted to take the series to the next step."
After Williams' brief introduction, it was time to get bloody. Our objective? To attack a French dry dock called St-Nazaire. From the moment we were spotted to the second the lead stopped hailing, we were submerged into one of the most fearsome firefights we'd ever been involved in. With the all-new engine generating up to 75 soldiers on screen at a time, the devastatingly powerful explosions and snaking tracer fire, this was Medal of Honor well and truly back to its best.
But the mission wasn't only intense, but freeform too. No longer were we ushered down set paths. Instead we were unleashed on a world where we could go anywhere, the level and the enemy reacting intelligently to our every move.
With victory in sight, we fanned out our squad with the new and intuitive command system, and moved in for the kill. The final German resistance was intense. Suddenly, the game kicked into Rally mode (a World War II version of Bullet Time), allowing us to rampage our way through the remaining enemies. Sadly, this excellent new feature was somewhat cheapened by giving us unlimited ammunition. Lets hope they take that out before the game ships, eh?
So, is European Assault a return to form for the series? Well, judging by this one level and some innovative new features, it just might be. It's certainly looking like it could be a huge improvement over the turgid Rising Sun, and if all the other levels are as good as St-Nazaire, then who knows, it might even be one of the best Medal of Honor games yet.