Medal of Honor Pacific Assault - Legacy Review

The title says it all. It’s MOHAA in the Pacific.

Release Date:

November 2004.

Pros:

  • Everything that made MOHAA so much fun is also in Pacific Assault. Graphics are better. Story presentation has improved with a narrated story, better cutscenes and a character with a name. Sound and music are about the same as MOHAA which is great. Fixed guns and on-rails shooting are present just enough to make the game fun without getting too boring. Of course the first-person experience has also improved with more things that can be done.
  • Similar to Call of Pripyat, there are options to turn off the HUD and crosshairs for a more difficult, but more immersive game.
  • If you get incapacitated you can bandage your wound and call for a corpsman to heal you. They do not always make it to you, so life and death depends on where you are and where your mates are. There is also a limit to the number of times you can be healed.
  • To accompany the cutscenes there are nice archival video footages from history. The pre-rendered and game engine cutscenes are already good, but the full motion video sequences makes it even better.
  • There are supplemental documentary type videos about the USMC, The Pacific War and the game.
  • There is also a pop-up facts feature which when turned on, displays snippets of facts as you play. It can be quite distracting, but at the same time it can be interesting.
  • On the harder difficulty levels, the game feels very realistic. A couple of hits and you are down. You can bleed to death. It reminded me of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. somewhat.

Cons:

  • Cutscenes do not display properly in wide screen. The main game playing part displays OK.
  • Invisible walls are in most first-person shooters, but in Pacific Assault it is extra annoying. Trying to hide among the trees is made extra difficult because the invisible walls are so close to the main path.

Other Points:

  • Medal of Honor Pacific Assault is a very linear FPS, much like MOHAA before it.
  • The AI for your team mates have vastly improved since MOHAA. They do not do all the work for you, but at least they learnt not to stand out in the open to get shot.
  • Your team mates are invulnerable. They will get shot and go down, but they never die. I am unsure whether to flag this as a bad thing or a good thing, because at the higher difficulty settings, you really need their help.
  • There is a tutorial which is appropriately placed in the bootcamp level, but it comes after the prologue level. It is good that the tutorial teaches everything, but you have to get past the prologue first.
  • In one level, you pilot a plane. The flight model is very simple so flying with keyboard and mouse is manageable. Being an IL-2 fan though, I found the whole sequence a waste of time and wished I could skip it. Others may find it more fun as it does add something different to the whole running on the ground and shooting.

Biases:

  • Reviewed version 1.2, Director’s Edition of the game.
  • The online servers have been taken down and I have not had the opportunity to try Pacific Assault on LAN. So, I have no idea what mutiplayer is like.
  • I completd the game on hard difficulty. Strange thing is I was only given the completion medal for medium difficulty. I do wonder whether this medal downgrade was due to my changing the settings to turn off the HUD.
  • I really liked Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, so it’s no surprise that I like Pacific Assault as well.
  • I also really liked S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl, Clear Sky and Call of Pripyat.

DRM:

  • Uses SafeDisc.
  • A serial code must be entered when installing the game.
  • The Disc must be in the drive to play the game.

Patches:

  • 1.2 – Patches version 1.0 to 1.2. Set check point saves in version 1.0 works after patching to 1.2, but any in between check point saves get reverted back to the previous check point save.

Minimum Requirements (as stated in the readme.txt):

  • Windows XP or Windows 2000
  • 1.5 GHz Intel Pentium IV or AMD Athlon processor
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 3D video card with 64+ MB video memory which fully supports DirectX 8.1
  • At least 3.0 GB free space on your hard drive for Standard Edition, and 4.5 GB free space for Director’s Edition.

Computer Played On:

  • Windows 7 64 bit.
  • Intel Core i5 2.3GHz
  • 4GB RAM
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 525M 1GB RAM
  • Conexant SmartAudio with egg speakers or earphones.
  • Graphics settings are set to whatever I feel comfortable with playing on this PC. They are usually not set to the highest settings. All screenshots are taken with my settings.

Handy Tips:

  • To skip the intro ads for Intel, THX and EA, create a new shortcut using mohpa.exe, then add +set cl_playintro 0 +set ui_skip_eamovie 1 +set ui_skip_titlescreen 1 to the shortcut. Found this from here.

Space Hulk: Deathwing - Other Points

Within the game, the single-player campaign story is presented via mission briefings, audio dialogue, ships’ logs and psychic vision scenes. Most of the time is spent walking around and beating the bones out of Tyranids though, so if you are after a strong progressing narrative, Space Hulk: Deathwing is NOT for you.

Character upgrades in the single-player campaign are attained by performing certain actions in the game like finding relics, making melee or psychic kills and hacking stuff. At the end of a chapter, you are given fervour points to upgrade your abilities.

In multiplayer and special missions, upgrading is completely different. When you complete or fail missions, experience is awarded. Get enough experience and you level up. Upon levelling up you get renown and a random freebie to upgrade your character. Upgrades can also be bought with the renown you earn.

Space Hulk: Deathwing - Other Points

Ammo is unlimited. It is a good thing too as the hordes of Genestealers just keep coming. The real challenge comes in the form of when to reload your weapon or to use a different attack type.

There are no manual saves for the single-player campaign. Your progress is saved at checkpoints which include activation of the Psygate. In a way, the Psygate activation can be used as a manual save, but there are only a limited number of activations available for each chapter of the campaign. Only your last 9 saves can be reloaded. Your progress is also saved at the end of each chapter.

Space Hulk: Deathwing - Pros

The sounds are awesome. The guns sound powerful. Whacking with your fist or sword gives a very satisfying contact sound, even when hitting walls or railings. The ambient sounds and that of the Genestealers also sound awesome.

Although the Space Marines do not speak much, what little speech the game has, does sound very good.

The graphics are Warhammer 40,000 wonderful.  Your fellow battle-brothers, the enemies, the space hulk interior, the details on weapons, the exploding sparks from your Power Fist when you pound a Genestealer into oblivion – everything in the game looks awesome.

The Fall of the Dungeon Guardians - Cons

Despite the myriad of options to tweak the difficulty of the game, there is no option for monster respawning. The developer did say that they wanted players to think tactically rather than being able to grind their way to higher levels to defeat bosses, but the side effect is, backtracking to explore missed areas becomes very boring. Inspired by Might and Magic, but also more boring than Might and Magic. There are options for so many other things, why not monster respawning?

The Fall of the Dungeon Guardians - Pros

Many aspects of the game’s difficulty can be adjusted.  There is the usual how much damage the enemy does or how much health they have.  Then there are the helpers with options like enabling auto-mapping before you find the magic map or whether you want auto pause at certain times.  I cannot remember another game with this many options for tweaking the difficulty level.

The puzzles in The Fall of The Dungeon Guardians are quite clever.  There is no hand-holding or even hints as to what to do.  Eagle eye observation is also required for some puzzles.  Many times I have passed an area and did not notice that key thing that was required for a puzzle.

In general, I hate puzzles, but I was quite impressed with how they were presented in the game.  Most likely I will get stuck and start reading walkthroughs though.

The controls are very easy to use and the whole game can be controlled entirely with the mouse alone.  For people like me, there are plenty of shortcut keys and they are fully customisable as well.

The music sounds nice.  Unfortunately, there are only a handful of tracks so it does keep repeating.  The good thing is, it does not grow annoying with time.

Rolling Reviews

Time to get back to reviewing games (since I already play them) .  Time is also the issue.  Just don’t have the time to play the games enough to write full reviews in good time.  Let’s try rolling reviews.  As I play I will write whatever comes to mind at that time for that thing.  Over time it will build up to be a complete review anyway.

Another plus for the rolling review is, years later I may return to a game and find something new and update the review.  Games get updates, why not game reviews too?

The framework is ready.  I just hope this site holds together as I have overloaded the standard WordPress stuff in every way imaginable.

My old reviews from the Posidyn Games Information Base will also be returning, albeit in a very bare bones form.