Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault PC DVD-ROM
by EA Games
Developed by Electronic Arts
Release Date: Out Now
Price : £34.99
Few would have believed that the Medal of Honor series would have been so popular when it made it's way onto the PC. Originally a console only game 2015 did a sterling job with Medal of Honor: Allied Assault and to this day it's one of the most popular World War II based FPS games on the PC. Two expansions later though and it's time for a different World War II Theatre. Now the action switches to the Pacific and begins with the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor.
Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault puts you in the shoes of Tom Conlin, a soldier with the US Marine Corps. The game tracks his progression through the Pacific Theatre of Operations across various terrains and ranges from rescuing injured men aboard a heavily damaged ship to making your way through thick foliage whilst heavily under fire to manning the guns on aircraft and attempting to take down other aircraft. It's all very dramatic stuff and there's 25+ levels in Pacific Assault so it's going to keep you busy for a while especially as the game has challenging AI to keep you on your toes throughout (much more challenging than in Allied Assault).
If you've played Medal of Honor: Rising Sun you'd be forgiven for thinking you're playing a similar game as the first mission starts. It's a familiar beginning to be sure as you sail around the wrecked battleships trying to take out the aircraft with the AA guns. After this first mission is out of the way though you'll see that it's a completely different game (although it's the same Theatre). The main difference with Pacific Assault is the squad based combat. You can issue orders and have your men attack, pull back, advance and rally to you. These orders are carried out via the cursor keys. Because of the squad based nature of the game you'll notice that the battles are fairly random and won't occur in exactly the same places if you play through a mission again. You'll have to be careful with your health in Pacific Assault too. You can't just collect health packs and canteens, instead you'll have to make use of your Corpsman (a medic). In each mission your Corpsman will have a certain amount of bandages that he can give to you so in effect your health top ups are limited. Once the Corpsman has treated you though you'll be back to full health. Should you be taken down in battle you'll enter what the game calls Verge of Death mode. When this happens a Corpsman will attempt to get to you in time. If he succeeds you'll regain all of your health. Should he fail to reach you (or you've already used your supply of bandages) it's game over. Thankfully though you can quicksave anywhere you like.
The multiplayer side of Allied Assault is still, to this day, very popular. Pacific Assault also aims to be just as popular and comes with 3 multiplayer modes. The old favourites Free-For-All and Team Deathmatch make a return but the mode that's all new is Invader. The Invader mode basically involves two teams. One team attacks and has a series of objectives to complete whilst the other team must do their best to prevent them from doing so. The compass will highlight where your objectives are (like in single player mode) and also where the Corpsman player is located. Pacific Assault makes it easy to play online by giving you an instant play option where it finds a game for you depending on your connection type and preferences. Invader seems like a solid online game mode and it's one that should prove to be popular.
Pacific Assault obviously looks better than the aging Allied Assault and the terrain, vehicles and character models all look much improved. There is a downside to the game engine though and that is that it's a serious system resource hog. Having played the latest and greatest FPS games this year I can honestly say that the one with the poorest performance has to be the one used in Pacific Assault. My system that's run Half-Life 2, Far Cry and many others superbly, does chug from time to time and the frame rate can dip quite dramatically at times. It's a bit difficult to explain as whilst the game looks good it's not in the same league as the likes of Far Cry and Half-Life 2. Load times are long and some levels can take a little too long to load up. On the positive side though the game has a more movie like feel to it than Allied Assault and you'll get dramatic scenes such as enemies finishing you off or the almost blurred monochrome affect when an enemy hits you.
Pacific Assault has a few omissions but on the whole it does a good job for deaf gamers. You'll notice that the radio chatter that occurs when you're on the main menu is subtitled. The training missions are subtitled which allows you to learn all of the games controls. During missions all of the important conversations are also subtitled, which is good to see (some unimportant speech isn't subtitled though) . Pressing the Tab key will reveal your objectives and you'll receive text notifications when orders are issued or completed. Your comrades will have an icon above their heads which helps to make it clear they are not to be fired at which might be obvious but when you're surrounded by thick foliage it's easy to adopt a shoot anything that moves approach, which can be dangerous. The compass in the upper left of the screen shows you the locations of your comrades, the Corpsman and your objective. The commands that you issue to your comrades are bound to your cursor keys and the icons for these commands appear on the top right of your screen. Icons are also used when you give orders and to show how many bandages the Corpsman has left. The cutscenes aren't subtitled though but given the wealth of information in the game that is subtitled it's not as damaging as you might think.
Many would have expected Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault to have simply been Medal of Honor: Allied Assault in the Pacific Theatre. This isn't quite how Pacific Assault has turned out though and what we have here is a slightly different experience to what you've been used to in Allied Assault. This isn't a complaint though and perhaps making it a different experience will help to keep the series fresh. There's a few nods towards realism here such as having to call a medic over rather than picking up health packs and canteens and the game does a lot more to make you feel part of a team rather than simply putting you in the role of an all action hero who goes it alone (something Allied Assault did a little too much). Many will claim it's been influenced by the success of Call of Duty but this would be unfair as Pacific Assault feels quite different from Call of Duty. Pacific Assault manages to feel different from other World War II FPS games and with it's challenging AI and online modes it's sure to become a popular addition to the legendary Medal of Honor series.
Game Rating: 8.6/10
Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault is something of a surprise as it's quite a different experience from what we're used to in Allied Assault. It's still a very enjoyable experience but it's no longer the one man, all action hero game that Allied Assault was. The game is surprisingly demanding though and you'll need a strong PC to run the game well at high resolutions.
No subtitles in the cutscenes but in many other ways it's fine for deaf gamers.