I finished playing Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault (MOHPA) today. I am a big fan of the MOH series, particularly the earlier MOHAA and its Spearhead and Breakthrough expansion packs, and have played far too many hours of multiplayer to count. This being said MOHPA did not impress me at all.
MOHPA consists of five missions, Boot Camp (a quick tutorial), Pearl Harbor, Makin Atoll, Guadalcanal and Tarawa. Guadalcanal and Tarawa combined will probably take up 3/4 of the time it takes you to play the game since the difficult parts seem to be concentrated there.
To start with the positive aspects of the game, the graphics were quite nice. It ran very smoothly on my system (AMD 3400+/1 GB RAM/Radeon 9800 Pro) with the highest graphics settings, in 1024 x 768, almost everywhere. There were a few hiccups in some of the huge battle scenes in Tawara, but nothing worth complaining about. The health system is different from the previous games. Your squad contains a medic, who you can hail by hitting 'H', and will come over and restore your health to 100. He has a fixed number, usually 4, of health packs for each level. The levels are fairly short so this doesn't end up being much of an inconvenience and adds to the realism (not that this is necessarily a good thing). There are a few health packs scattered around in the harder levels, particularly towards the end of the game. The game also has squad tactics -- you can instruct your team to advance, fall back, assemble or engage the enemy. I didn't find myself using this much, but it was a nice addition. There are also "Hero Moments" and hidden objectives, basically optional objectives that give you a reward back at the Menu screen (similar to the medals for hidden missions in MOHAA). This was overall a decent addition to the game.
And now, for the bad about this game. Where to begin? There is seemingly a bit too much realism built into this game. You can shoot banzaiing soldiers in the torso with a rifle, and still they come at you. I understand that certain guns do not have perfect accuracy, but there was way too much shooting, with apparently zero effect. There is an evil mission where, through some dubious circumstances, you end up flying a fighter plane on three-part mission in the Pacific. First you engage in a dogfight, then take out some fixed targets on an atoll, and finally you have to more or less singlehandedly take out an aircraft carrier and a destroyer. This is just silly, since you are not even a pilot, you are a private in the Marines and your mission is to take out an aircraft carrier?! The controls for flying are awful (basically, just use the mouse) and this part took me ages to play. I was getting really close to looking for some kind of cheat code, it was that bad.
More negatives? The levels were very linear and repetitive. Most of the Guadalcanal mission involves going from one little jungle village to the next. There is virtually zero exploration in this (and many other similar) games any more. In the good old days of Wolfenstein 3D you at least got the feeling of exploring each level of the castle. There wasn't just one way through, there were hundreds, with secrets to find and dead ends and shortcuts. The average jungle level involves a very narrow path, maybe 20 feet wide, between jungle encampments, with a few Japanese soldiers on patrol in each of them. Then there is the absurdity of your squadmates yelling "They're flanking!" when in reality you are all bottled up into a 20-foot wide corridor, with them at one end and you at the other. One other thing, grenades seem to be ineffective. Maybe it's just me but I couldn't aim the throws at all.
To make matters worse, the multiplayer (the part of MOHAA that I enjoyed the most) is very laggy. Gun fights seem to be more the result of luck than anything, and a entire clip of the Thompson proved not be lethal on more than one occasion. Everybody seems to be complaining about this and it is not proving to be popular at all. I haven't downloaded the patch yet (since it apparently wipes out your previous saved games) so maybe that will fix the problem, but I'm doubtful.
Anyway, stay far clear of this one. Get the MOHAA War Chest, or pick up the original Call of Duty or the United Offensive expansion pack if you want to get some WW2 gaming going.
Saw National Treasure last night at the Coliseum. It was the usual Bruckheimer fluff, but mostly entertaining. I hadn't been to the theatre in ages (I believe the last movie I saw in was Team America: World Police so I figured a light action movie would be worth checking out. It was good mindless entertainment, the type of summer "popcorn" movie that all the critics hate but still does well at the box office.
I spent a few minutes in the movie trying to figure out where I had seen the lead actress, Diane Kruger but could not, until I got home and learned she was Helen of Troy. Oh, I almost forgot, I was in a generous mood and rated National Treasure an 8.
Back on the topic of blog spammers, I had forgotten that one remaining way of spamming my blog, through the comments. Fortunately I have an automatic email sent to me when any comment gets posted, so I can easily delete those vague one-line posts containing a link to a pr0n site. I've only had maybe five so far, so I'm not going to worry about that unless it gets out of hand. I was also looking through my traffic logs today and noticed that the pr0n spam had actually been getting me a fair bit of traffic -- several hundreds of hits due to people searching the names of pr0n sites and stumbling here because of faked referer hits. Sigh.
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