Written by  :  vicrabb (7299)
Written on  :  Oct 09, 2008
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  2.71 Stars2.71 Stars2.71 Stars2.71 Stars2.71 Stars

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Breakthrough: Fatal blow for MoHAA

The Good

Medal of Honor Allied Assault Breakthrough is the second add-on for the first PC MoH game. After a disastrous original game and a sequel that digged deeper MoH's grave, Breakthrough seemed to be the savior of Allied Assault.

I didn't like Allied Assault apart from the disguising part and the Omaha Beach mission. I didn't like Spearhead apart from the British part. I did like the beginning of Breakthrough with the North Africa battle... But then...

Medal of Honor is one of the well-known series on WWII with Call of Duty and Brothers in Arms in the FPS world. Its story begins on the Playstation before going on the PC and others next-gen consoles like PSP or Wii.

But on PC, according to me, its beginning was very rocky, buggy and ugly. Uhm, perhaps that the five-years gap between Breakthrough and the time of the writing is influencing me. But perhaps it's not the fact that we're in 2008 but the fact that I didn't enjoy myself with the game.

The story is Sgt. Baker's one, involved in the North Africa battle between Rommel and Montgomery. As you may know, USA was also involved in this important battle. So, it's not really a surprise to see a GI in the desert.

The first thing that Baker did was to go behind enemies lines and making .88 shut up. It was a promising beginning. Then he had to escort Shermans with a good part of sniping Nazis with Panzershreks, another rocket launcher. When arriving in a town, where Italians and Germans were trying to push back the Allies' assault, you had to free some British soldiers and to secure the fortress. A shocking thing will be revealed at you... Anyway, you had to meet Kurt Knefler, a German secret agent working for the Allies' side. After all, don't forget that all the Germans weren't nazis. There are some political adversaries to Hitler... but not in the open light. They were imprisoned for the most part of them.

Anyway, Kurt and you, after an epic run from Nazis, find enemies' uniform... You're now an Italian colonel and Kurt is a German officer. You're going to the harbor in order to sabotage a destroyer. Unfortunately, you didn't escape it in time... I mean, before having a harder road for exiting it. Anyway, you find Kurt and you're trying to escape the city.

That's how Baker was involved in Kasserine Pass and in Bizerte.

After this victory, you're now ready for the Italian battles. Oh, your plane has just crashed but it's not a problem for you to kill some Italians, destroy some cannons and find a way to relink with Allies. That's Operation Husky for you.

Anyway, you'll be in a jeep in order to sabotage Italian fighters (the cutscene showing them damaging the airfield is very great). But after that, I never though that what will happen next would be so difficult. Usually, repelling a tank assault is easy: bazooka and munitions are sufficient. Not here. Still now, I didn't understand how to use properly the mortars. But hey, when finally winning, you're ready for the two last missions.

Cooperating with British soldiers is something known if you play Spearhead. Now, it's time to do that again. You're in the heart of Monte Cassino Battle. You have the reach the city and find any wounded British troops. Well, with a medic, a jeep ride and some sniper rifle, you can survive. I mean, I did it. With a poor life, I did it.

After that, you had to rescue prisoners in a German HQ. A soldier you saved from being executed told you so. Well, you'll be very happy to learn that when escaping from the building, snipers are making an appearance... again.

Then you're in Anzio. You're going to make some sabotage. Stopping a convoy, blowing a K5 railway gun (with a lot of Nazis near it) and riding in a AB41 rail tank will be your destiny. That was a funny mission. The only one who wasn't so dramatically hard during the Italian campaign.

Finally, you'll be involved in Monte Battaglia defense. Going from bunker to bunker will be your hell before assaulting a castle and protecting the communication tower (in a good sniping moment).

End of European Tour for Baker.

End of Hell for you.

You know, it's not difficult to shoot with a weapon in a game. If you don't forget to duck, you'll be able to survive even in the sand. Your missions are varied and the return of the disguising passage is very great. I loved it in Allied Assault and was disappointed by the absence of it in Spearhead.

Instead of the tank ride, you're going to be for some jeep ride and it's easier to be behind the .30 than trying to switch between weapons and driving in the same time. Oh, I'll admit it that you had to pilot a tank.... for seconds only. It's not really involved in your campaign, it's just for advancing on the map for some meters only.

Graphics were improving lightly. It was still inferior from what I've known in the past (guess which game I'm talking about? Dr Freeman, I presume?) but it was improving. The North Africa campaign was finally giving satisfaction in the graphics. But not Italy or Sicily. Reminding me too much of the landscape in AA or Spearhead.

Nothing new to say about the soundtrack, it's still good music, adapted to the ambiance. The voice acting is pretty good, like the sounds. What should I say more?

You've still the three difficulty modes and the multiplayer. So, it can be a good lifetime but not a good replay value. Are you crazy? Easy mode is hellish! Even the medikits are rare...

The Bad

Breakthrough seemed to be the savior of MoHAA series for me. But the game is worse in some domains.

Take AA and Spearhead. You can reload your ammo reserve by picking enemy's weapons. In Breakthrough, it's in 95% impossible. The weapon is disappearing, so you have to be careful about it. This was an horror when I became conscious of this problem during the cleaning of the fortress, before meeting Kurt. This results in a fight with Nazis with Beretta when Kurt was trying to open a door. I assure you that it was hell. Without ammo for my MP40 or my M1 Garand, I manage after a lot of trying to save Kurt but I was pesting again that fact.

I was so happy to see that the North Africa campaign wasn't frustrating, so, making me hoping for the best, that this suddenly thing has destroyed the faith in a good add-on.

Again, Breakthrough seemed normal in Sicily. A little hard but normal. The repelling tank was again destroying the hope put in it. The mortars... Even if I have understood the main thing, I still not understand why when in the good position, my rockets weren't going in the right direction. When the crosshair was higher, normally, the rockets have to explode near the building. Well, some were going behind the hills. When I was lower, some were exploding near me (and it wasn't the tank), instead of going farther. How do you want to use the mortars in these conditions? It was frustrating and I was going to give up. Finally, I win but my bazooka was more helpful than the mortars. Even if I had to switch between the two.

The Italy campaign isn't so thrilling after this bad experience with mortars. Yes, I was curious to see it. But it wasn't with conviction that I played. I just wanted to finish the add-on for writing the review and uninstalling the game. The Monte Cassino comforted me in the enemy spotting you before you, with all the snipers reminding me the rescuing of a tank crew near Brest in Allied Assault and the providing cover fire to prisoners was comforting me in the feeling that despite being in Easy mode, if you don't have enough life, you will be in a dangerous situation. The damage inflicted by the enemies are too high for an easy mode... unless having health station or medikits. Medikits are hard to find in Breakthrough.

Finally, the run in the canyon in the Monte Battaglia mission is quite difficult. I don't know how I manage with 1HP to enter the castle, take the bazooka and shoot the tank. Miracle? Anyway, that was perhaps the last difficult thing.

As I've already mentioned it, you'll be in hell with the easy mode, I can't imagine what will be the hard mode. Low ammunition, more than ever since you can't pick enemy ammo, low life because enemy spotting you before you and very well hidden, medikits aren't running everywhere and last but not least, the mortars are so difficult to use that you'll be frustrated and cursing the game, well, your day is suddenly looking bad.

Nothing changed really. Just hope always destroyed by the gameplay.

Back to graphics. They're still inferior to past games and worst of it, the zebra texture was still there. You're used ot it since Spearhead but it's not really great to fire with a zebra weapon or to see zebra uniforms. Unless it was because I've bought the Warchest... Also, the landscape are very similar to what you've already encountered except the North Africa campaign.

The Bottom Line

Officially, Breakthrough can be promising by moments. In reality, it's worse than Spearhead. Even if I loved the North Africa campaign, the fact that I still have a low life, a low ammunition without possibility to replenish my ammo reserve and that the enemy is always spotting you before you made me hate Medal of Honor Allied Assault and I'm afraid that Pacific Assault, bought before playing MoH and because CoD2 was in the package, will be as bad as AA, even worse.

Fans of MoH will be happy to see different actions like the mortars thing. Occasional players will be wondering why they can't have a good ammunition. Hardcore gamers will avoid it. I knew it when playing Allied Assault that playing the add-on will be a bad idea. But no. I did it. I'm uninstalling it. Making some space for worthy games or software.