Retro Monday: “Medal of Honor: Rising Sun”

Title: “Medal of Honor: Rising Sun”

Developer: EA LA (Electronic Arts: Los Angles)

Publisher:  EA

Released: 11th November 2003 (NA)

28th November 2003 (EU)

Today is the 11th of November, Remembrance Day. I am writing this on Remembrance Sunday, i.e. yesterday so it is appropriate to talk about a war game. And the latest “Call of Duty” was released last week so there is another reason. As a note to you readers, don’t complain about the spelling of honor. Because honor is the US spelling and the one use for the game and honour is the English, and MS Word’s, spelling. Although, I prefer the phonetic spelling it’s probably going to change many times in this review. Or I’ll just use MoH and avoid the problem altogether. Yes, I’ll do that.

If you didn’t know, the Medal of Honor is a real medal. Its full name is the “Congressional Medal of Honor” and it’s given out by the US military. There are three different designs for the different sections of the military and it’s presented by the President. OK, last time I’m going to use the H word.

The “MoH” series went on for over a decade and it was always a great series. Partly I think because it stayed historical. Well, until “Warfighter” came along and modernised the series and flushed the series down the toilet. “ARMA II” was around beating it in total realism and “Battlefield”, EA’s other war series, was more silly and over-the-top. Anyway, back to Rising Sun.

MoH games where set during World War Two Europe, mostly Western Europe, going through some of the major events. “Frontline” (the one before “Rising Sun”) starts on Omaha beach on D-Day, goes through Operation Market Garden then going over the Nijmegen under the behest of the OSS. Although you end up going Rambo in a secret air base and fly away in what I have to call a 1940’s version of the B2 bomber so realism wasn’t that deep. “Rising Sun” on the other hand is set in the Pacific and is about the US’s war against the Japanese. For me, as a Brit, I like the change. I always hear about WW2 in Europe because that was us. Not forgetting the French, the Polish, most of the Commonwealth… oh never mind. In the UK we didn’t have much going for us in that part of the world at the time. Unless you count helping the Chinese and fighting from India… oh never mind.

Rising Sun starts off the same way as Frontline but in the pacific. Pearl Harbour opens the game and acts as the tutorial. It’s pretty good as tutorials goes. It shows all the secrets and collectables that you can get in the game as well as teaching you the controls. The controls are the same as all other first person shooter games but this was 2003, Call of Duty was still historical.

On the historical nature of games, this MoH game had the usual narration between levels, talking about the historical events around the level. Also in the game are unlockable interviews with veterans about the level as well. This I think is good because the usual narration feels like a war documentary will the interviews feel more personal. This last paragraph wasn’t that funny I know but I’m allowed to be serous sometimes.

The ending may annoy some people, it still annoys me, but that’s because there was going to a sequel but EA pulled the plug it because the game didn’t do that well. When I say “didn’t do well” I mean it did better than Warfighter (~50%) but did worse than Frontline, (~80%). (Rising Sun got ~60%.) So the first sign that EA is run by people wanting money. Although it got a low score, I really liked it. It was colourful, historical, had decent controls and didn’t do what all other war games where doing at the time, revolving around D-Day. Although, looking at it in a modern view it doesn’t have much to make it stand out. Although, (if EA is reading this,) I wouldn’t mind getting a sequel. Epically considering that most shooter games now have a modern premise/setting and have a sheen of brown. It’s an odd time when you want more WW2 games considering most game companies wee’d them out and furious speed at the time. And it started the Call of Duty franchise. So, maybe not then. If I have to sacrifice “Rising Sun 2” to not get “Call of Duty 9: More Level Recycling” then it’s a good deal.

Retro Score: 3.5/5

Modern Score: 3/5

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