Medal of Honor: Rising Sun Xbox
by EA Games
Developed by EA Games
Released: Out Now
While console FPS games are often a mixed bag in terms of quality there are a few series that stand out as being dependable and consistently offering a high level of quality. One such series is Medal of Honor. The Medal of Honor series has, until now concentrated on the European events of World War II but that is all to change with Medal of Honor: Rising Sun.
Medal of Honor: Rising Sun concentrates on the Pacific theater and the game begins with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. Straight away you are thrown into an intense and exhilarating battle in a similar fashion to the way Medal of Honor: Frontline began on the Normandy beaches. There are no sedate build ups to action here as the game wastes no time in placing you in the thick of the action. The first mission sees you running around a ship doing various tasks such as putting fires out and helping various people. Next you'll be manning the guns and trying to shoot Japanese aircraft out of the sky. The third mission onwards sees you return to being on foot in the traditional Medal of Honor style. The game includes around 20 authentic weapons with the usual pistols, rifles and grenades that the series contains.
Whilst the single player game is good it isn't that long (although there are 3 difficulty modes) and will only take around 8 hours of play at the most to complete. Thankfully there is a 2-player co-operative mode that allows you to play through the whole game with a friend, which is a welcome inclusion. The Xbox version, like all the other EA games we have reviewed, doesn't support online play and even system link play is not supported. Up to 4 players can play either a free for all or a team deathmatch game in split-screen mode but to be honest unless you've got a rather large TV this won't be very practical.
The games controls are pretty much the standard for any FPS on the Xbox. The left analogue stick moves your character whilst the right analogue stick allows you to aim and look around. The white button performs a crouch and the black button enables you to reload. The 'A' button is your action button and will allow you to pick up items and use various objects. The 'X' button throws a grenade and the 'B' button changes weapons. The directional-pad controls the sniper zoom whilst the right and left triggers are used to fire and aim respectively. Should you ever need to jump you'll have to press the 'Y' button. As we've already said it's a standard control scheme and using a Controller S, it feels comfortable.
Those historians among you will be pleased to know that a fair amount of Rising Sun is actually based on real events although it's not always 100% accurate, but that would probably be impossible to achieve anyway. The game begins with the attack on Pearl Harbour and you'll also get to fight in the jungles of Guadalcanal and the streets of Singapore during the course of the game. There are also some nice extra features, such as the Historical Movies and the Valour in History veteran interviews, which should be of some interest for those of you that are interested in the World War II period.
Visually speaking the game is around the same standard as Frontline and on the whole the game looks good but could probably have been better. I suspect the game is a direct port from the PlayStation 2 version. I have encountered various glitches from time to time, such as men getting stuck on the environment, which were not present in Frontline and this is disappointing although it doesn't affect the gameplay. It was good to see the framerate remain stable even during the really intense battles. In short then if you like the way Frontline looked you'll have no problem with Rising Sun.
Whilst Medal of Honor: Frontline was not subtitled, Rising Sun is. It's always nice to see subtitles and other text placed on a darker overlay that makes the text stand out but the size of the overlay during the game (the cutscenes do not have an overlay although the text is still perfectly visible) in Rising Sun is humongous and just a little obtrusive as it takes up a third of the screen (as you can see from the screenshots). Still it's better to have subtitles on a huge overlay than not at all and it's a big improvement on last years Frontline. Once again your objectives can be accessed from the pause menu. The games unlockable extras are also subtitled as well, which is very impressive as I don't remember ever seeing extras subtitled.
Medal of Honor: Rising Sun is a solid but not spectacular continuation of the series. It would be difficult to say it was a big step forward but it certainly is a refreshing side step that takes the winning formula of Frontline and places it in the Pacific theatre. If you are interested in online play though you've only got the PlayStation 2 version to consider but the Xbox version does allow for up to 4 players to play in split-screen mode. Those expecting the series to move forward will be disappointed though and it certainly can't be classed as an improvement on Frontline.
Game Rating: 7.8/10
Rising Sun sees a change of theatre and it makes a refreshing change. However it's a shame that no improvements have been made to the gameplay.
Unlike Frontline, Rising Sun is subtitled although the overlays used are a little obtrusive.