Medal of Honor: Rising Sun

aka: Medal of Honor: Soleil Levant
Moby ID: 11377

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 64% (based on 39 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 44 ratings with 3 reviews)

Paint-by-numbers WWII exploitation

The Good
At times, Rising Sun manages a kind of cheap, guilty pleasure. The high production values and obviously heartfelt (if misguided) passion evident in the game's presentation may fail to mask a multitude of shameful errors, as will be seen, but the game's heavily cinema-influenced, set-piece based nature means that there is an urge to keep playing to see what it'll throw at you next. Said set-pieces may be at times little more interactive than Dragon's Lair, but the roads in between can be filled with folk to shoot, and if you're playing the game in the first place, that's probably what you signed up for, right? (I know that was the case for me).
In a climate where AI and unscripted encounters are all the rage, there's definitely something to be said for pumping a lot of money into a game dependent pretty much entirely on prescripted action. It may be seen as taking the easy way out, but then again, it could be argued that EA, in designing a game so linear and fixed in its pathways, are doing things their way, and damn the Haloes and Far Crys that dare to pursue other avenues.
Not that that's necessarily an argument I'd make.

The Bad
I remember when my grandfather sat me down and told me about the war.
"It was great", he said.
"Fresh out of my time in Europe, I got sent to the Pacific. Hadn't been there but a few days when our fleet at Pearl Harbor got bombed! Now, some folk say Pearl Harbor was a nightmare, but me, I had a blast. The clouds of smoke, they were so beautiful I almost didn't notice that my crewmates all had faces that looked like bricks with faces painted on 'em. (You gotta realize, sonny, I'd just been through Europe, where they all look like painted bricks, so I was getting accustomed to this sort o' thing).
"Speeding around the Harbor, popping Zeroes with my fixed mounted gun (I'd be doing a lot of that sort of thing, but I didn't know that then), it was almost like I could hear a grand orchestral score playing in my head, just for me. Oh, sure, the music sounded exactly like John Williams' scores for popular motion pictures, so much so that - heh - some would call it plagiarism, but it was so grand! Y'know what they say, sonny, 'steal big, steal little', and whoever stole that music in my head, they were stealing it BIG!
"Now, I hear some folk died at the Harbor, but I assure you, son, they didn't bleed and their deaths were quick and painless, and that's the way it really was in the war, that's why war's so great. Yep, if someone were to depict my efforts, and the efforts of my fellow soldiers, I wouldn't be at all disgusted if they were to gloss over the tragic pain and sacrifice we had to endure as real soldiers. Nope, even if they made war seem easy and fun and without moral or psychological consequences while simultaneously painting their retellings as some sort of noble effort to educate the whippersnappers of today about the heroic effort made by us folk who really fought the war, well, I wouldn't think that risible in the least, and neither should you. After all, if anyone were to depict the horrendous realities of that conflict, fully admitting the wrenching physical and mental anguishes our heroic sacrifice actually entailed, how would they sell anything? Exactly!
"But I'm getting ahead of myself. After the attack at Pearl Harbor, we went to Guadalcanal. Some folk say Guadalcanal was an island with a jungle on it. Those people don't know nothing. What Guadalcanal was, was an office building with a series of corridors where the walls were painted with leaves on 'em. You'd walk down one hallway, and after a whiles, you'd see another hallway to walk down, and so you'd walk down that there hallway instead. Jungle? Them folks don't know what they're talking about with their jungle.
"The folks on Guadalcanal weren't none too bright, though. Reckon the reason they weren't too bright was on account of they spent all their time standing next to cans of highly explosive material - now, I don't know why someone would put one of them things in the middle of the jungle, so I reckon these folks were huffing on that highly explosive material. Either way, it reduced them to racist caricatures who'd run at you screaming in Japanese, or Mandarin, or Viet, or something - I don't know. What I do know is that if someone were to retell my story, I'd want them to portray my enemies as two-dimensional racist stereotypes, because as someone who really fought in that war, that's something I wouldn't find despicable in the slightest, and as a citizen of the world in the 21st century, my grandson, it's something you shouldn't find despicable in the slightest either.
"Also, their attacks were never really a threat, because in real war, nobody who mattered got killed. Heck, you could shoot them in the head a half-dozen times and they'd just look at you like you was whistlin' Dixie. That sure was a fun game to play when the going got quiet! And me personally, well, Ike had seen to it that there was a medical canteen hid in the bushes after every two or three enemies, so it's not as if I was ever scared or threatened or anything. So that was good.
"But I'm getting a little political here, and I think you'll be aware by now that politics isn't a dimension you should be thinking along for the purposes of this tale. The point is that war is hell, and I hope you never have to fight in one, and if your generation is lucky enough not to have a World War to fight in, I know you'll be smart enough to use the time that is given to you making the world a better place, instead of, oh, say, playing paint-by-numbers first-person shooters that exploit every cliche in the book while casting you as a Straight White Guy With A Gun impervious to actual harm. If you ended up doing that, well, frankly, I'd feel as if my efforts in the war were a little wasted."

The Bottom Line
A risible, disgusting effort that actually thinks it's a simulation or educational document, the best Rising Sun ever manages to be is cheap fun that makes you feel dirty. No matter what you're looking for in a first-person war game, there's a better alternative to this.

PlayStation 2 · by Bill Clay (33) · 2003

Yet another EA title

The Good
Experiencing a few good WWII Medal of Honor games, seeing this one was an immediate capture of interest. Going to the eastern front this time, seeing a World War II from entirely new perspective using different strategies. Well, it appears EA was just blowing their horn, nothing more. Still, it has a few bright moments and it can be addictive at times, so let's take a whack at those few there are...

Right from the start, you'll feel the dynamic of Pearl Harbor mission, trying to escape out of the ship alive for the first 10 minutes. Needless to say, the level of details was neat, and you were running so fast for your life that it is admirable they did it with such care even though none (or maybe just a few) of players will stop to check out on things. So, the moment you get on the upper deck, you see the real deal, fighters coming in from all the sides and you start shooting mindlessly. Of course, they do sink your ship... but a nearby gunboat rescues you. Now starts the best part of the game... to which I was hoping of seeing a bit more, but to no avail. You are finding your ways on the burning waters among all those USS ships, just seeing them sinking one by one as swarm of Zeros come from all sides, and no matter how fast you shoot you just can't take 'em all.

The other missions aren't so dynamic, but will let you run through the various jungles, daytime or nighttime, navigate your way onboard an enemy carrier, and encounter a couple of towns. That is all just swell, and the missions are quite long. It is also neat to observe enemy's behavior, how they use forest to their advantage as they are using camouflaged uniforms (one german officer actually hide behind the plant in the hotel lobby as he was having green uniform, dunno if it was on purpose or just due to cause of gameplay, but it was neat nevertheless), run for some cover, or try get to a nearby machine-gun nest. Those that somehow pop up close to you may rush at you with their bayonets instead of shooting atcha.

The Bad
Well, they don't get any dumber AI then you can find it here. Your comrades are probably the stupidest in the entire game, mindlessly rushing at the enemy, pointlessly yelling to attack thus giving away your position, and being unable to defeat a single enemy even when surrounded from all sides. Of course, reason why they may act so stupid may be that they appear to be invulnerable. I dunno if that should be considered a good point or a bad one, but enemy's intelligence isn't any better either. They sometimes rush blindly, sometimes dunno where to shoot and sometimes if you shoot them and they turn to other side they continue shooting that way until they realize you're not there. Looks like best AI is the one of pre-defined plane routes, even though they have lack of being able to explode and continue burning all the time and even again coming atcha. Still ,sometimes it's fun, especially that with the planes. I'm thinking this might be a much better game if it's be a fighter simulation only.

Music is neat, orchestral as ever, and not a one step closer to the point of being epic (just as LOTR movies are far from it). Still, it is fine for the background during constant shooting, so you don't have to pay too much attention. Personally I find the one from Allied Assault series far better and ambient than this one, but it could be just my opinion, I'm sure they probably invested a great deal into this soundtrack. However, cinematics that are using ingame graphics are terrible. They could've done a few of pre-rendered like in that trailer, but nooooo, why, everybody cares about the gameplay only. Well screw them all, the trailer FMV would be perfect to open the first mission, nothing should even be changed. Besides, they are not hard to make nowadays, not for a company such as EA. I mean, they make tons of them for all kind of trailers yet they exclude them from their all games. Talking about false publicity and promises. Ah well, that might've been crossed off a list if they only did a little better character models, they are far too unacceptable from a company of such caliber. Also, more the merrier is not a rule to stick to when it comes to cheating. Enemies can be many, but not that they just pop out of nowhere. I was on the middle of a wagon and was standing on entrance and was facing the exit, yet enemies just respawned on both of my sides like they came in through walls. Now that is really a terrible. If EA team can't get them to become interesting and to plan a few neat ambushes, then they shouldn't use such a cheap trick, I don't believe even Doom games are using this. Shame on you guys, really.

The Bottom Line
Why is this game on 2 discs is a thing that will haunt me for ages. It has but about an 8 or so missions from which last 2 I believe take place on second disc. Well, I like more discs, I never don't that, I just cannot see what can possibly require such a space. I mean, Allied Assault was much longer and for PC with high-polygon models and high-res and all that PC can handle yet game was on 2 CDs which is still less than a single GameCube disc. Maybe they just didn't want to bother with compression and were just leaving it all as it. I mean, Frontline is no less requiring yet it doesn't span two discs, and is in fact far better game then this one is. Still, it is a neat to add it to you collection, no matter my rumbling (after all, I finished it and I actually liked the bigger part of it), as long as you find it cheap, I don't think it's worth the full price. Of course, when this game came out I could swear it is worth a double. This just proves how you don't know a game until you get it and give it a whole ride through. Never trust the advertisements, especially if they come from EA.

GameCube · by MAT (240123) · 2012

Sins of the Rising Sun

The Good
The new theme and setting of the game comes in as quite a surprise as you're plunged straight into a fire fight in the first mission. The game certainly tests your alertness and calibre with a fair amount of hazards, tanks, snipers and soldiers hidden in spider holes. The secrets and hidden objectives in the missions are intriguing enough to hunt for and do give the missions some replay value. Some of the rewards such as the Letters from Home give some personality to the game. I was amazed to find that they featured a real person in the game - Martin Clemens.

It comes as a change that takes getting used to, to find that you're playing nine long missions instead of the usual six or seven divided into three parts, but the generous number of save points make it worth that change. Weapons come as an interesting variety in most missions (although there is no Arisaka you can wield), although it's nice that there is a button to throw grenades instead of switching to them. While Michael Giacchino's composition is absent from the game, Christopher Lennertz offers very fitting and thrilling music tracks that change as the situation does in a mission.

The Bad
In some missions there are not a lot of weapons to work with. Sometimes you'll be stuck with only a machine gun with terrible recoil and your chances of getting 100% accuracy are impossible, you're better off sticking to mounted machine guns whenever possible. You're not going to get reliable help from any of your allies during the gameplay, the non-plot relevant ones such as the Chindits will die as quickly as they join up, so you're better off fighting alone anyway.

The controls are awkward to work with and the movement isn't as smooth as the PlayStation 1 Medal of Honor games, which makes sniping particularly difficult. Often you'll find yourself getting shot first, before you can make your crack shot, it's a like mongoose vs. snake game. The rail-shooting scenes, like the boat and the elephant, reduce your control and cover even more.

The Bottom Line
The developers took a significant step going from the European to the Pacific Theater of WW2. It's obvious that they were trying a new formula. Unfortunately that formula sours quickly after one or two playthroughs. You don't have to have Colonel Hargrove, Manon Batiste or any of the likeable characters to make a good game, but you really need to balance the pacing and make at least four different weapon types available at all times to balance the abundance of automatic weapons. Undoubtedly the failure of this game led to the cancellation of its sequel, but it wouldn't be many years before EA fixed its mistakes with the release of Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault, so I would say they made a supreme effort in this title.

PlayStation 2 · by Kayburt (29521) · 2021

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by 64er, Patrick Bregger, vicrabb, nyccrg, Alsy, jlebel, Jacob Gens, Wizo, Alaka, PolloDiablo, Cantillon, Jeanne, Parf, Tim Janssen.