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World War II may have irrevocably changed history and traumatised a generation, but as far as the games industry is concerned, it’s the war that keeps on giving. Arguably its biggest gift was the phenomenal Medal Of Honor: Allied Assault, the game entering our Shooters chart at number one with a bullet or several thousand and finally displacing the epic Half-Life.

The inevitable sequel is well under way, and it looks like being a very different proposition. Having extensively explored the European theatre in the original and its brace of expansion packs, the Medal Of Honor universe is heading East, starting at Pearl Harbor, heading for Tokyo and culminating in the assault on the Tarawa Atoll at the end of Pacific Assault senior producer Matt Powers explains the thinking behind this move: About a year ago, after Allied Assault was finished, the team got together and started talking about what the next full product was going to be.

The big thing to come out of it was where do we want the theatre of operations to be? The more we researched Europe, we found there were a lot more battles and interesting historical places to go, but we thought it would be really more interesting to go to the Pacific on this next product.

The first thing we did was to talk to our partners around the world to determine if this was going to be a good idea for the franchise. Is it going to be popular in Europe? Is it going to be popular in Japan? This was one of our big concerns. Understandably so, as the Japanese attack on the American fleet is one of the more contentious areas of the conflict. However, the message back from Japan was that they were happy to see the game go ahead, providing it didn’t bastardise the Emperor.

So don’t expect to see him appear as an end-of-level boss. What you can expect is some extreme attention to detail, as the Medal Of Honor games are nothing if not exhaustively researched. As Powers says: The first thing we do is a lot of research.

We research what the battles were like, we read a lot of books, we hire consultants, who come in and teach us what it was like to fight the Japanese. What were the Japanese strategies? What kind of clothing did they wear? What weapons did they use? It soon became apparent this conflict was a world away from the type of war being waged in Europe, and – as such from the gameplay in Allied Assault – something that was to have a marked effect on the game’s development.

The Pacific theatre is a lot different from the European theatre, says Powers, primarily in terms of the terrain you’re fighting in.

In the Pacific, we’re fighting on islands and in jungles, so we have a lot more terrain elements, more water, more foliage. When we started thinking about that in terms of our game design, we realised our technology’s going to have to change in order to adapt to this new gameplay. In addition, we realised the tech we’ve been using tor Allied Assault, Spearhead and Breakthrough is starting to become a little dated for the PC.

And when we’re talking about PCs, especially first-person shooters, technology is a critical part of that audience and that feel. So with those two things combined, the design element and our ageing tech, we needed to develop a new technology. We did look at some off-the-shelf licensed tech out there, but we found they couldn’t deliver our design requirement: large open environments, foliage, water, new Al, new collision, new physics. It would appear to have been a wise decision, as from our sneak peek, the bespoke engine looks capable of rendering the game’s complex jungle environments with considerable aplomb.

Grass billows in the breeze, water ripples when disturbed and the assorted flora and fauna really feel alive. The physics is also up to scratch, thanks to the integration of the de rigueur Havok engine. We were shown a bridge being blown up with planks tumbling into the water below, each displaying its own buoyancy as well as reacting to collisions.

Scripted events are far less rigidly implemented than in Allied Assault, with so-called procedural Al making for slightly different outcomes to events. And, of course, the obligatory ragdoll physics are in full effect. As for the story, you are raw recruit Tom Conlin, stationed at Pearl Harbor, when the whole shooting match goes off. Tragically you are killed, and the game ends immediately. Of course it doesn’t really, although that would be highly amusing.

Instead, you face two hard years of brutal war, which if it doesn’t kill you, will make a man of you, something that will actually be physically represented in the game.

As part of a four-man squad, you’ll actually be able to witness your buddies age, as their fresh young skin is ravaged by the horrors of war. Also, bandages may appear as appropriate, and they can even permanently lose a tooth. This isn’t an area that EALA has entered into lightly, and their location has helped them to employ the services of some of Hollywood’s leading digital artists, with experience on films such as Shrek, Aladdin and Spider-Man.

Their expertise is already evident, with characters boasting moving tongues, Adam’s apples and even eyes that react to light. According to Powers: When players interact with other characters in the game, we want them to feel like they’re talking to someone who’s real and has a personality. Pacific Assault will still be about action though, often frantic due to the Japanese strategy of banzai attacks, whereby everyone basically steams in with little regard for their personal safety. This is apparently a legitimate tactic, and one that the Japanese soldiers adopted if their leader was killed, preferring to die rather than face the dishonour of retreating.

As for your squad mates, they won’t actually be killed but can be incapacitated during a mission and taken out by a medic to return patched up for the next battle. Medics will play a key part in proceedings, administering bandages to stem the flow of blood, something that takes time and leaves you vulnerable.

You can call a medic for yourself or for a squad mate, at which point you may have to provide cover, as the Japanese show little regard for the conventions of warfare and will happily mow the good doctor down. If it comes to it. As valuable as all these new features are, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t have one or two concerns about Pacific Assault.

Principal among these is that it will appear a bit tame in comparison to the magnificent Call Of Duty, which has now seriously raised the bar for war-based shooters. Not only this, but many of the levels seem a bit linear, which was excusable in the villages and trenches of Allied Assault, but is considerably less so in the open jungle terrain of the Pacific theatre. Matt Powers attempts to allay our fears: Really, what it comes down to is Medal Of Honor is about the war and about one man’s journey in the war.

But it’s about the quality of the gameplay, and we can translate that quality to any game we make. The Pacific theatre should be just as good as the European theatre.

The beach, and The shooting. The dead people, I remember them. That pier wasn’t there last time though, and the graphics are certainly better.

Yes, yes, it’s all coming back to me now. Darling, did you see where I put my receipt? What a first level! What a hook for the rest of the game! I’m being sarcastic of course; it’s actually rubbish.

The sad thing is that, deep down, Pacific Assault is in part a nice game with some lovely levels, shiny graphics and an only slightly wonky physics engine.

When it’s doing its own thing, using a concept known in some areas as ‘being original’, then it’s an engaging shooter that may not turn the world upside down, but has some nice ideas and constructs a fair few memorable set-pieces. The thing is, it just seems so obsessed with reclaiming former Allied Assault glories and replicating and then over playing what made Call Of Duty so wonderful, that it buries itself under the mantra of ‘More jeep chases!

More standing guns! We’ll pull all the same tricks they did, but we’ll do them more often and we’ll do them better’! Only, MoH: PA never actually does them better, and it compounds this by swapping the grit, grime and stomach-chewing terror conveyed in Dawnville or Stalingrad for tamer Boy’s Own adventure tangent.

You see, in far too many places, Pacific Assault feels like yet another rehash of the same WWII game: re-copied and xeroxed into fuzziness and mediocrity. This most stupidly shows up the most in the earlier levels – the part of the game that should have been designed to grab you and not let go. After the perfunctory standing behind military beach furniture and hiding under piers in the first level, you get knocked unconscious and are whisked well, not exactly whisked, the load-times are hideous back in time to a boot camp level.

Here, you’re shouted at by a drill sergeant who’s hellbent on teaching you exactly what you’ve already done in the first level in the most drawn-out and stereotypical way imaginable. Even after this, you’ve still got the delights of more load-screens, some patriotic FMV and an endless jeep ride around Peart Harbour with some divot in a captain’s hat to endure before you’re allowed to have any fun.

The assault on Pearl itself is a blast, but following this, the game takes an extremely long time to capitalise and present you with something that’s actually new and improved. In fact, Pacific Assault continues to stutter until it hits its stride a ‘ good seven levels into the Pacific, campaign, by which point you’re deep in the jungle in the excellent Guadalcanal missions and fully accustomed to the eccentricities of your squad and the way the game mechanics operate.

You’re stuck under the helmet of one Tommy Conlin. With these guys in tow and sometimes a fair few more for good measure , you find yourself infiltrating Japanese bases and listening to distant shouts and rumblings as you prepare to hold off advancing troops on Bloody Ridge. You also find yourself running over airfields as countless Zeros swami overhead, trudging along jungle paths or waist-deep in jungle rivers and keeping your eyes on the undergrowth for the many, many ambushes that await you.

It’s only here that Pacific Assault begins to impress a bit more on its own terms, regularly coming up with new objectives and environments that ensure that, even if you’re not enraptured, you rarely get bored. Offence can be rapidly changed to defence quiet jungle paths can suddenly sprout shitloads and I mean shitloads, this is a game that favours quantity of enemy over quality of ‘Banzai! Here, in the jungle with lots of villages to snipe and fleeing soldiers to lead you into ambushes, there’s plenty to enjoy even if the action regularly sways the wrong side of mindless.

One thing that Pacific Assault absolutely nails, meanwhile, is its healing system. Despite his bizarre prediction towards puking his guts up about four times a level towards the start of the game at least , the usage of Jimmy the medic is inspired. If you’re wounded, a brief tap of the keyboard informs him that you need assistance, and he then patches you up as soon as he can or when he’s magically recovered from his own bullet wounds. This lessens the need for obsessive-compulsive quicksaving considerably, especially because when you’re shot to pieces, as Jimmy can reach you to bring you back to the land of the living while you stare up at the sky through the mists of semi-unconsciousness.

That is. Squad control too is quite fun: you have limited control in that, when the game judges it feasible, you can tell them to open fire, retreat, regroup or push forward – although it’s true that these effectively translate to ‘I know you’re shooting things, please carry on’, ‘Where the hell are you guys going? Squad mechanics are loose, and rarely used tactically unless they relate to your own health-bar, but they still add an extra level to an otherwise linear experience.

That said, while Call of Duty generally kept you with your allies because being behind a wall with them meant you were alive and going anywhere else meant you were dead , here it’s too easy to find yourself fighting far in front of your homeboys, simply because you don’t have the patience to follow their sometimes laborious pace or misplaced battle chat.

When it isn’t trying hard to impress you. Pacific Assault is a fun blast, but it truly lacks the sense that you’re fighting in a larger scale conflict, or even that you’re fighting real people. When you get Banzai! The Al too, is from the school of alternately standing up and sitting down in a nearby window, while the easiest way to clear out a bunker is to shoot the guy on the mounted gun and then watch the troops take turns to waddle up to the gun and stand directly in your line of fire.

Meanwhile, the mandate of ‘More! Etc’ means that PA is also heavily punctuated by ‘roller-coaster’ moments that have you either being driven around in vehicles and doing all manner of exciting things with gigantic guns. This is fine in moderation, but by the end, you won’t want to touch a gun emplacement ever again. This is a flawed game, and it’ll be even more flawed in the punter’s estimation in that it simply isn’t Call Of Duty and never gets close to instilling the same thrills or emotions.



Download medal of honor pacific assault for pc.Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault download torrent


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