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SummaryWarning: Contains one of the most cinematic combat experience ever.
The GoodOf course it's all about THAT level. The level that the developers' must have wanted to include since the first game but obviously didn't have have the power to do it justice. It's the selling point of the game and they had to build the player up to be ready for it.
As a result we start with a few levels in various parts of the occupied world as we get used to the controls. Again we take the role of a Special Forces trooper, this time with the upgraded Quake 3 engine, which means the addition of some friendly squad mates to 'help' you out. This is no squad shooter though as they're quickly taken down, leaving you in the classic one-man army situation. There are more tactics and other characters than in previous instalment though and you often have to team up with someone to complete a level.
Having fought through Northern Africa and behind the enemy lines in Norway you're finally treated to the game's golden moment; the D-Day landings. It seems a bit puzzling that as a top Special Forces trooper who's previously been sent on highly classified mission you're suddenly put in a landing craft alongside the normal G.I.'s, but then it's all about the experience.
What an experience it is, a true recreation of Saving Private Ryan. Standing in a landing craft, you're helpless as you enter the battle with explosions all around, it's terrifying. The door opens and suddenly you're off, running like mad for the sparse cover whilst the bullets tear apart those around you. Like the previous Medal of Honor games there's no blood which is just as well.
Surviving the landing the rest of the game follows the Allies march towards Germany in a series of mini-campaigns. Whilst it's all quite exciting nothing quite matches the landings, though another level plucked straight from Saving Private Ryan comes close. In it you have to pick your way through a ruined French town taking out snipers, followed by stopping a tank from a church bell tower.
Once again the developers' have a done a masterful job of creating excitement and an atmosphere, much as with the first game but on a bigger scale. The graphics look gorgeous in muted tones and the sounds are amazing. Events are scripted to keep you on your toes as you follow the clear and obvious path. Obviously there's not much story but then it's a war and you're a soldier and you don't question orders.
The BadThe game is truly an experience; like I mentioned it requires no critical thought and can be a happy shooting gallery. Clearly designed for mass appeal you can't even kill your squad mates if you try, so no chance of accidental guilt.
I don't want to spoil the experience for first time players; suffice to say don't play it a second time as it will spoil that all important first impression.
Finally my last real gripe is the last level. It felt as if the developers decided to turn up the difficulty and punish the player for coming so far. Suddenly you have a timed sprint followed by an almost impossible cross-fire for no real realism or drama – a total let-down.
The Bottom LineThis is a great and hopefully terrifying taste of cinematic warfare. The series finally achieved it's goal of recreating sections of Saving Private Ryan and bringing them home.