Electronic Arts – Medal of Honor: Allied Assault review

the ultimate war game?
Photo of Electronic Arts – Medal of Honor: Allied Assault

Who’d have thought it? A war-based first-person shooter inspired by the Antiques Roadshow. No, it might not involve bursting into Whitby Town Hall and mowing down Hugh Scully with a Browning Automatic Rifle – though there’s an acorn of an idea right there…

But Medal of Honor, you see, is all about collecting medals. You play the part of a US Ranger who is dispatched to war-torn Europe around 1944. Over the game’s six missions (which are split into many sub-missions – there are 30 plus levels in total) you’ll get the chance to earn up to nine medals, including the fabled Medal of Honor. Then, when you pass away, your grasping offspring can take them off to be valued by Mr Scully’s son and try to make a fast buck or two.

Okay, maybe the Antiques Roadshow connection is just a little tenuous, but the war one certainly isn’t. Allied Assault is nothing if not supremely atmospheric. The environments you fight in are beautifully rendered, from snowy Norwegian wastelands through African deserts to war-torn bombed-out cities. More to the point, the missions make you feel like you’re immersed in a conflict.

Along with the top graphics – and sounds – this immersion is achieved through the clever AI of the enemy soldiers and the actions of your own. Often you’ll be working with a squad of allied troops (helping to keep as many alive as possible will earn you medals, too). When heavy enemy fire is raining down on your position, as you crouch in a bunker, shells exploding here and there, friendly troops barking status reports whilst giving you covering fire… it’s simply awesome.

Particularly memorable is the “Omaha beach” mission. Essentially you’re taking part in the D-Day landings here, and from the moment you spill out of your troop carrier it’s intense, adrenaline-pumping action as you run up the beach, trying to avoid the tons of cross-fire and shells the Germans are lobbing. Some of the missions are quite scripted, as you’ll see when you play them more than once, but the first time you play through MoH it’s truly an awesome experience.

The single player campaign will take you a good 12 to 15 hours to finish and there’s a superb variety in the missions. Some are all-out action, some require stealth, others even have you disguising yourself as a German officer and infiltrating a base. Occasionally, you get to drive vehicles too; and find out just how much damage a stolen Tiger Tank can do!

Multiplayer action is similarly tasty. A recent patch has introduced an in-game server browser and there are plenty of game options to pick from, including straight deathmatch, team games and objective based maps.

Company: Electronic Arts

This is a corker - in fact, it's an entire-bottle-of-winer. We're talking superb graphics and sound, mixed with excellent mission design and an enthralling WWII ambience. Top that off with a highly enjoyable multiplayer mode and you've got one assault that you'll assuredly want to take part in.