Medal of Honor: Allied Assault War Chest PC CD-ROM
by EA Games
Developed by 2015
Released - Out Now
Price : £34.99
Sometimes it pays to wait for a game. This can be difficult if it's a game you're very interested in and if you're into FPS games, particularly ones based on the events in World War II you would have to be a very patient person to not have purchased Medal of Honor: Allied Assault when it arrived on PC. If, for one reason or another, you didn't pick up Medal of Honor: Allied Assault then you're in luck because EA have released Medal of Honor: Allied Assault War Chest which includes not only the original game but also the two expansion packs Spearhead and Breakthrough.
Now I have to be completely honest here and say that I had never played the original MoH: AA when it was first released. The reason for this is simply that I don't have enough time to play games other than those I have to review. I did play a demo though and was impressed by the game. It's now a few years since it's release and because of having the War Chest edition to review I've finally got round to playing the game. Even though it's now a few years old it's still a great game. As you probably know we reviewed Call of Duty upon it's release and it's obvious that Call of Duty took a lot of ideas from MoH:AA. Both games are excellent in their own right but you'll find that Call of Duty encourages you to work more as a member of a team where as MoH:AA for the most part is a solitary affair.
Compared to more recent FPS games MoH:AA still compares very favourably and there are some classic moments that you'll really enjoy. I'd read about the Omaha beach landings mission in various reviews but nothing can prepare you for the ruthlessness of being killed numerous times until you've figured what route to take to avoid being a walking colander. What I really like about the game is the varied environments and events that you'll encounter throughout the game. There are 6 main missions within the game which consisted of smaller sub-missions. The game is linear and you can't really deviate from the 'on-rails' experience. Some see this as a negative but it allows the action to be scripted and for it to generate a movie like experience that is very enjoyable. The level of AI in the game is a mix of good and slightly poor at times but overall it's not too bad. There are times where you'll have to follow a fellow officer and if they die it's game over. These moments can be irritating especially as they do silly things from time to time (and there is no indication of their health either which is a shame) but this is only a small complaint. Unless you're playing through on the higher difficulty settings the game won't last above 10 hours but it's a very enjoyable 10 or so hours and then you have the expansion disks to sink your teeth into.
Both Spearhead and Breakthrough are enjoyable but the missions they contain are not quite as good as those found in the original MoH:AA. Spearhead sees you back in France (as well as Belgium and Germany) and overall it's an enjoyable expansion. The only problem though is it's length. It will take you, at the most, only 4 hours to complete. This would have been a serious complaint if purchased on it's own but as part of the War Chest edition it isn't too much of an issue. Breakthrough is almost twice as long as Spearhead but suffers from not really adding anything new to the game and there are some irritating missions too such as the opening one in Tunisia where sandstorms prevent you from seeing the many enemies and shots seem to come from nowhere. Still if you've enjoyed MoH:AA and Spearhead then you'll be quite content with what's on offer in Breakthrough.
As a single player game MoH:AA is definitely a classic but as a multiplayer game the experience isn't as memorable. Free For All, Team Match, Round Based Match, Objective Based Match, Tug of War and Liberation make up the modes that's on offer. I like the Tug of War mode which is a team based game where you have to be the first team to complete all their objectives. The online modes in general are OK but it's a disappointment that they aren't of the same calibre as the single player game (although that would require the online mode to be something very special indeed).
MoH:AA uses the Quake III game engine and like all games built on this game engine it looks good and flies along on a decent specification PC (although it seems a lot smoother on a Nvidia graphics card as it uses OpenGL rather than Direct3D). You always expect a game that's a few years old to look quite poor when compared with recent titles but this isn't really the case with MoH:AA. The textures within the game look a little basic (even with the graphical details turned up full) and the character models might not be as impressive as those found in Far Cry but the game looks more than acceptable and is also highly configurable so even if you have an old system (within reason of course) you'll have no problems playing MoH:AA or it's expansions.
When it comes to how deaf gamer friendly MoH:AA is the answer has to be that it's a bit of a mixed bag. Subtitles are available and are enabled by default but that's not to say that everything within the game is subtitled because it isn't. Cutscenes aren't subtitled (those shown with the game engine are though) but this doesn't really spoil the game. Rather more disturbing is that the basic training isn't subtitled either. You get text to tell you what keys perform a specific control though and you can press the Tab key to obtain your objectives at any time. Speech within the game is only displayed in text if it's really important otherwise there are no subtitles. If you're playing at a resolution of 1024x768 the text can appear too small (unless you're using a large monitor) and the positioning of the text is also less than ideal as it appears at the left hand side of the screen rather than in the centre where it would catch the eye much more successfully. Deaf gamers will also have to contend with no visual clues for alarms or nearby enemies which again is unfortunate. The basic training tells you that you'll be able to hear if a door is locked which of course is not possible for deaf gamers. A compass helps you navigate towards you objectives but it doesn't display information such as the location of enemies or whether a goal is on another floor when you are in a building. Essentially despite all these annoyances you'll still be able to enjoy the game but it's not quite as accessible as it could have been.
It may be a couple of years old but Medal of Honor: Allied Assault has aged extremely well. As a compilation War Chest is very good but it's only going to appeal to those you haven't played the original MoH:AA. It's a shame that the game isn't completely deaf gamer friendly but there aren't too many problems and any FPS fan that hasn't picked up MoH:AA should definitely get the War Chest edition. The expansions might not be of the same calibre as the original game but considering you get MoH:AA (a game that is still available at full price) and the two expansions for the price of one game it doesn't really matter. It will also get you in the mood for Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault which is only weeks away now.
Game Rating: 8.8/10
War Chest is a great introduction to the Medal of Honor series on PC and only looses marks because it's not completely deaf gamer friendly. The expansions are a little disappointing for various reasons (Spearhead because of it's length and Breakthrough because the missions are not as good) but overall it's a great package.
There are some problems but nothing that should deter fans of great FPS games.