Medal of Honor DVD Director's Cut out

Picked it up at Fry’s for $60. Includes the usual “making of”, plus some documentaries and the game, all one one DVD (hooray!).

Installed it, but haven’t played it yet. More impressions later.

Does it include the soundtracks? Michael Giacchino’s older stuff is getting hard to find.

  • Alan

Giacchino did not do the soundtrack (apparently there was a disagreement between him and EA) - it was composed by Charles Lenmitzer or whatever.

— Alan

Is it in a DVD style case or?

Yes. Slightly thicker, to accomodate the manual, but thinner than the normal game box.

So far, pretty good. Interesting start to the game. I don’t want to give it away, but you think you’re starting out like the original MoH game started, then…

Anyway, I’ve gotten several levels in. Good variety of mission types, but you’re still on a rail. Graphics are very detailed, though the gameplay it feels a bit arcady in places. Still, I’ve just entered the first real combat mission, so we’ll see…

The Director’s Edition is a double-wide DVD-style case, like Myst IV or Thief Deadly Shadows. It installs a separate app that lets you pick musical selections from all the MOH games, but there isn’t a seperate CD or anything. Music in MOHPA was done by Chris Lennertz, and it’s pretty good stuff in its own right.

(Giacchino, btw, worked on The Incredibles, which I wasn’t aware of until I saw the flick today. He’s also doing work on the Call of Duty games, which might explain why he’s not working on MOH. :) )

I finished Pacific Assault this week for my review, and – while I’m sure opinions will vary – it frustrated the hell out me. The opening is great, and if you’re into rail-style missions, Pearl Harbor is fantastic. But once I got to the jungle missions at Makin Atoll and Guadalcanal – which go on FOREVER – it all fell apart for me. There’s plenty of tension, but it’s because the developers resort to all sorts of cheap spawning tricks instead of making it a fair fight. Prepare for lots of quicksaves and reloading.

FWIW, I loved Allied Assault and Call of Duty. I was lukewarm towards COD: United Offensive, which felt more gamey and unbalanced, and Pacific Assault ventures down that same path. I suspect some people will dig it, but others will think “wow, this game is ridiculously irritating,” and throw it out forever.

He’s also scoring Lost every week.

opening is great, and if you’re into rail-style missions, Pearl Harbor is fantastic.

I had the exact opposite reaction. I think the first maybe 1/4 (through Pearl Harbor) is all spectacle and no game. It’s kind of the worst nightmare of people who think heavily scripted shooters are devolving into just barely interactive movies. I think the game picks up a lot after that. On the other hand, I’m not somebody who’s bothered much by spawning enemies - especially in these Virtua Cop style shooting gallery shooters.

He’s also scoring Lost every week.[/quote]

And Alias… and he just got the gig for ‘The Muppets Wizard of Oz’ :)

I’ve had the MOHPA soundtrack for awhile now and didn’t really find it that appealing, and certainly not to the level of Giacchino’s work. Maybe it needs a re-listening…

— Alan

Erik: I understand your point of view, which is why I included that qualifier about rail-style missions. If you’re into that sort of thing, I think the Pearl Harbor levels are as good as any in MOHAA or COD. But if you’re not, and just want to get to the “real” combat, you’re not going to like the opening 90 minutes.

That said, it’s hard for me to see anyone who hates rail-style missions enjoying the combat, because it’s every bit as scripted. The game doesn’t reward tactical thinking, such as scouting ahead with a sniper rifle or lobbing grenades into open windows – any area is fair game for an enemy to spawn in, even when it defies believability. Most “realistic” games try to maintain consistency by spawning enemies out of view or out of locked rooms. Pacific Assault is sloppy in this regard, and you can see the strings everywhere. I realize this won’t be a game-killer for people who like arcadey shooters, but it destroyed any sense of immersion for me – I felt like I was trying to outthink the designers more than the onscreen enemies.

It’s doubly disappointing when you see the way EA trots out military advisors and has “making of” scenes where they show toy sandboxes supposedly used to craft scenarios. Where’s the video where they say “OK, we’ll put a sniper in this tree, but we won’t spawn him in until the player crosses this spot below him, at which point he’s pretty much fucked.”

Whatever you do, be sure to set your crosshair to “static.” There’s a “dynamic” setting where – like most games – your accuracy depends on your rate of fire, if you’re crouched, etc. The problem is that it’s horrifically inaccurate compared to other games, which would explain why there’s an option to shut it off completely. Now, if they’d only bothered to explain that in the manual somewhere, I wouldn’t have struggled with it through all the jungle missions.

I’m having a hard time comprehending this, even after reading your review. If you set the crosshair to “static” does it actually change the behavior of the weapons? In other words, there’s no recoil, and maybe not a cone of fire, so each gun becomes railgun-accurate?

Excessive recoil seems common in “realistic” FPS games. To compensate I have learned to always use semi-auto weapons at anything beyond point-blank. I’d rather fire a few accurate shots than a bunch of full-auto misses.

Once you set the crosshair to “static,” there’s still weapons recoil, but the cone of fire is completely eliminated. As far as I can tell, every shot indeed becomes railgun-accurate.

I’m hugely in favor of recoil and cone of fire in shooters. I think it adds an interesting element to combat, and many games have done it well. But, IMO, Pacific Assault takes it to such a crazy degree that it becomes a major detriment. After playing Call of Duty, MOHPA’s weapons frustrated the hell out of me until I realized I could turn that option off. Recoil still plays into things, but it’s a lot more manageable.

I’m just speculating, but the fact that this option exists is a signal to me that enough testers complained about it. If so, kudos to the developers for realizing they’d screwed something up and giving gamers a way to fix it. But considering I’ve never seen this option in an FPS, it should have been documented better in the game or the manual. It’s just one of a lot of things in Pacific Assault that I thought could have been handled much, much better.

Man, am I tired of shooters with cheap spawns and “wtf I just threw six grenades over that wall/window/small enclosed area and now I get an endless stream of assholes spawning from it??? I got tired of that crap in SoF2!”

NO SALE

–scharmers

You’ll love this story, then. :)

Early in the game, our squad is walking through the jungle. There’s a little village up ahead, and it’s obvious a fight is coming.

The first structure is a raised, enclosed platform maybe 10, 15 meters ahead. I can’t tell if anyone is in there lurking, so I lob in a grenade. It’s a perfect shot – it actually blows off the entire front of the platform, exposing the interior to our squad. Cool! It’s clearly empty.

Thinking we’re safe for the moment, we advance, but then an enemy just … appears … in the middle of the platform, plain as day. He wasn’t hiding behind a crate or anything … he just blinked in out of thin air. There was nowhere to take cover when he spawned in, so I took some damage before I could gun him down.

It was at this point that I officially cried bullshit. This is my reward for trying to play smart and tactical? Who thinks this is good game design? This kind of stuff happens throughout MOHPA, and it annoyed the hell out of me.

What kills me is that the AI in MOHPA actually isn’t that bad. It probably would have made for much more compelling combat if they’d dropped 20 enemies into each area and let the AI take over, instead of the silly spawn tactics they decided to go with. Oh well.

But enough ranting from me. Back to Halo 2!

I’m surprised you like Call of Duty so much sluggo. Most of your complaints about Pacific Assault were big issues to me in CoD and are why I’ve pretty much sworn off the recent wave of theme-park shooters.

Sluggo, how’s the MP?

My friends and I are holdouts that still prefer vanilla DM to the team-based shit. And because of that Alied Assault and it’s add-on’s ruled at our LAN parties for a long time. I checked out the MP demo, but it didn’t seem to have the same feel. Maybe because the map was just to big for a 4 player LAN.

Thanks.

Actually, I want a feel for MP for quite the opposite reason. For me and my buds, RtCW and ET were the pinnacle of FPS MP, with great objective based missions and well designed class based characters.

Any opinions on PA in that regard?

Although both games are defintely linear in nature and have their share of scripted sequences, I saw Pacific Assault and Call of Duty as totally different games in terms of their combat.

Call of Duty adhered to a set of rules that made sense in the context of its world. When you threw a grenade into a second-story window, you felt confident that 3 newly-spawned enemies wouldn’t be waiting up there. Better yet, there were wide-open set pieces where it was you against a bunch of enemies, which could play out differently every time through. These were basically sandboxes where the devs dropped in enemies and let you have a rip against the AI.

There are completely different rules that govern the combat in Pacific Assault. Maybe the new engine presented some technical limitations Infinity Ward didn’t have with the Quake 3 engine, so they couldn’t go with the sandbox format. I don’t know. But when you walk into an area, you’re not worried about who’s out there … you’re worried about who’s NOT there, and might appear out of thin air. It’s one thing to hide enemies in locked rooms and trapdoors, but in Pacific Assault, you’re effectively fighting ghosts.

Put it this way: If Call of Duty was a read-and-react type of game, Pacific Assault is trial-and-error. One encouraged you to think on your feet; the other demands an endless use of quicksaves. They might look similar, but IMO the difference is miles apart.

Hmmm… I’m not sure I can answer this, because I’m the opposite. :) I loved Enemy Territory and have really high hopes for the objective-based Invader mode, while I barely touched the DM.

I can tell you this: at times I felt I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with the dynamic crosshair in single-player, but the weapons feel really nice and tight in MP. The maps are indeed huge, which should make for some good team DM, but you’ll probably need 8 players minimum.

You just killed any curiosity I had about checking this game out. I absolutely loathe this kind of stuff in shooters. Scripting is not a bad thing on its own but poorly-implemented scripting is a deal breaker for me.

I and my wallet thank you. :)