Another Metal Round

Medal of Honor: European Assault
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Europe 1942. I have boldly trespassed upon the blood-stained shores of my enemy. I have tactfully infiltrated their front lines and systematically plotted to destroy their defenses from within. I have stood toe to toe with the most ruthless and maniacal of enemy leaders and laid their souls to rest before my feet. I have stood my ground time and time again in the most hellish of cross fires and found victory in the most insurmountable odds.

I am bound to my duty. I am bound to the men around me that would gladly lay down their lives for me. I live to serve my country well. A sense of honor courses through my veins. I am American serviceman, Lieutenant William Holt of the British Office of Strategic Services, otherwise known as OSS. This is my story: "Medal of Honor: European Assault."

Once again EA Games has delivered a solid World War II FPS title to loyal fans of the Medal of Honor series and this one is arguably the best installment of the series. Packed with a dynamically compelling storyline, an ultra-realistic audio package, crisp top-notch next generation graphics, and a highly addictive game play engine, European Assault does far from disappoint.

Building on the graphical legacy of its former predecessors, Medal of Honor: European Assault is magnificent recollection of the World War II era. The battlefield is never a pretty scene and EA Games really took out time to get that point across.

A vast morbid environment full of abandoned two story and half crumpled buildings become home to man-made bunkers, bomb shelters, and underground HQ’s. Large crates, stone walls, back street alleys, or anything that can stop a stray bullet become cover zones and safe havens to the opportunistic eye. Enemy tanks often parade the major roads or wide open areas near enemy strongholds. Dark and smoggy smoke clouds often black out the sky leaving that gloomy feeling that death is always out there in the distance or waiting for you just around the corner.

As masterful as the graphical presentation of the game is, it’s ultimately the awe-inspiring sound engine that brings the realism right straight to your living room. The beautiful thing about European Assault is that you would probably remember more about the sounds rather than the sights of your battle experiences. It could be the constant barrage of frag grenades, mortar shells, and other high explosives going off all around the perimeter or the crude and clanky sound of a patrolling battle tank closing in on your position. It could be the faint cries of dying soldiers muffled out underneath the sporadic weapons fire or radio transmissions from superior officers laying out the next mission objectives or congratulating you on a job well done. Such incredibly realistic sound effects inspired by an awesome orchestrated soundtrack will make hearing the action just as in enjoyable as seeing the action.

You play the game as Lieutenant William Holt, a well-known and decorated American soldier hand-picked by the President himself to work closely alongside the British Office of Strategic Services A.K.A the OSS, an intelligence agency that was a precursor to our own Central Intelligence Agency.

The OSS conducted dozens of daring raids on the German war machine, helping to turn the tides in the Allies’ favor. The agency did everything in its power to slow down the German advance, from sabotaging their supply lines to staging direct attacks on their forward positions. On his own, or with his squad, Lt. Holt is pivotal in helping to turn the tide in four of the most crucial battles leading to the victory in Europe. Thus MoH: European Assault is born.

The game play engine of this new installment will feel both familiar and yet tactfully new in some aspects. For starters the game seems to take on a patriotic theme this time round as opposed to the usual, blood, guts, and glory campaign. A lot of the battles are depicted as gallant heroic raids on selective enemy targets. The pace of the game seems a little more fast and upbeat which is a nice little change-up for the series.

The environments allow for a little more open-ended exploration rather than the usual linear operation. At the beginning of each mission your primary objectives are stated to you, but as you go along you can discover new secondary objectives depending on where you find yourself during the heat of battle. This newer broader game design structure allows players to incorporate their own style of play in the midst of completing mission objectives.

The computer A.I has gotten a serious boost this year and you can rest assured they’re up for a challenge this time round. They use a lot of quick "duck and cover" tactics and their a lot more aggressive with their attacks. In certain situations they will even go so far as to flank you and pin you down in a cross-fire. Fortunately, for you, your computer driven allies have also had A.I upgrades. Thus they carry themselves in the same manner as the enemy and when they can’t seem to get the job done right you can step in and guide them manually.

An all new game play feature to the Medal of Honor series this year is the "adrenaline rush" bonus. Depending on how bravely and skillfully you fight in battle you will have the opportunity to gain an adrenaline rush during battle which will give you a momentary distinct advantage over your enemy. You can use this mode to perform heroic exploits to help turn the tide of battle and ensure certain victory for your company.

The bottom line is European Assault is living proof that the Medal of Honor series still commands considerable respect in a genre of military games that is slowly but surely becoming heavily populated. Boasting some of the best graphics the series has seen as well a superior soundtrack and an enhanced game play engine make this one a must have for all those hardcore militant gamers out there.

Whoever said that the MoH series was dead must have forgotten that while patrons and heroes may come and go tomorrow it is honor that will last forever and ever. 4 + GiN gems is my final verdict.

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