Ah, yet another acclaimed A-list title coming to the Mac thanks to the efforts of Aspyr and Westlake Interactive. Before getting too far into the preview, I think it would be appropriate for Mac gamers to sit back for a second and give thanks for amazing technology such as the Quake 3 engine. No matter your feelings on the standalone game, the engine's raw power, extensibility, network capabilities, and --most importantly for Mac users-- portability have greatly boosted the Mac gaming scene over the last few years with titles like Elite Force, American McGee's Alice, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and more.
Of course, this latest technology from id Software comes at a hefty premium to game makers (at least a few hundred thousand dollars at last check), so it's not an engine for shareware games or student developers with little startup cash. The cost barrier raises the bar high enough that those fronting so much money for it are also willing to put forth millions of dollars into the rest of the game. This means they are going to surely want a hit game from their investment, which directly ends up benefiting gamers. As it turns out, just about every one of the Quake 3-based games has been a success.
It's here that Medal of Honor: Allied Assault enters the scene. Electronic Arts garnered many compliments a year ago at E3, with many people noting the game almost had a cinematic feel. Because it is an FPS centered around World War II, it may seem to be in direct competition with Return to Castle Wolfenstein (especially with both titles based on the same Quake 3 engine). However, using movies as a comparison, Wolfenstein would be an action-laden summer blockbuster where you watch a one-man killing machine blast his way through monsters and bad guys. Medal of Honor takes a different tack as more of a dramatic thriller, with many making an apt comparison to Saving Private Ryan.
That's not to say the action in Medal of Honor isn't big and intense. Rather, you won't find sci-fi monsters or over-the-top acting. Instead of an untouchable superhero, Medal of Honor sticks to gritty realism with bullets whizzing by your ears, enemies you can't always see, and companions that are not always possible to save.
Move 'em outMedal of Honor is set up as a series of six missions in which you play Lieutenant Mike Powell, an exemplary infantryman with Ranger training who gets recruited into the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) to perform a variety of tasks over the course of World War II. The missions span the last three years of the war and are broken up into over 20 separate levels. As you progress through the game, your prestige as a rifleman and all-around soldier increase, earning you more difficult operations.
A studio called 2015 developed Medal of Honor for EA, and many will recognize their work on the acclaimed SiN add-on pack, Wages of SiN. Their expertise continues here in both the level design and the extremely well scripted events throughout the game. While Medal of Honor may be linear in nature, these events keep the player moving forward as if they were caught up in the storyline of a movie.
The objectives of the missions vary greatly. While some are fairly straightforward, others become complex quickly. You are also moved between a wide variety of environments such as bombed-out cities, snow-covered woods, and even Normandy beach on D-Day.