Gear up and fall in, maggot.
I must admit that I am somewhat of a fan of the Medal of Honor series. The series of World War II themed shooters is, at its worst, totally decent. Rising Sun is, unfortunately, one of the bottom feeders of these illustrious games.
The game itself is very reminiscent of its older brothers. Levels contain various mission objectives, some of which are conveniently taken care of by other in-game characters or even located at the end of the level. The levels are definitely longer his time, so save radios are sprinkled throughout the level. Thankfully, the missions never get too long for their own good. Even the longest level in the game didn’t take me more than 15 minutes, and using the save radios, you can stop playing to take a breather, if you feel so inclined.
The best thing I can compare the missions to is a crap sandwich on two really great slices of rye. The first and last missions are awesome and show off some sweet cinematics as well as fantastic gameplay. In the first one, “Pearl Harbor”, you have to escape from the inside of a docked battleship, the USS California, and make your way topside to fight off the Japanese Air Force. The second part of the mission has you in a gunboat protecting the rest of the fleet as they sortie seaward, with some really neat effects and cinematics that highlight intense gameplay. The last mission has you aboard an aircraft carrier in one of the largest levels I have ever played, with a big finish as the tailgunner in a stolen Zero. In the middle, the game gets slightly less pleasant and more monotonous.
The two missions in the very middle are the worst in the game. “Pistol Pete” is one long ugly shootout with several enemy soldiers. Its tediousness is also magnified by the fact the level is hideously ugly at points. Usually you would have to go out of your way to see a seam in the graphics, but “Pistol Pete” has seams left and right, with some staring you right in the face on the main path. “Pistol Pete” not only looks bad, but I found several times where the AI just started acting screwy, with enemies and teammates getting stuck behind trees and running in place next to a wall. The AI does wig out once in a while on other missions, but it seems to happen a great deal more on this one.
“Singapore Sling” has the ill-conceived notion that it is, in fact, a stealth mission. I’m not a big fan of stealth missions, but this level totally lies about what it is. The only stealth thing about it is that you have a silenced pistol. You can shoot everybody in the level without ever worrying about setting off any alarms, ever. If a guard sees you, he won’t do things like sound an alarm, or call other soldiers. He’ll just run at you and try to kill you. Even though your weapon is holstered in a cutscene, this Joe Griffin guy (the main character) automatically whips it back out for no reason at all, sullying any chance this mission could have had to fit the description given. It’s totally misleading.
But there is some good in the mediocre package. One thing the Medal of Honor games is known for is the absolutely brilliant and high quality sound and music. Rising Sun doesn’t disappoint in this field. Even though I think Frontline’s music was better, Rising Sun has excellent music, and the sound effects are crisper and clearer than the previous games. The whole package is THX certified. It’s obvious that serious effort was made regarding sound.
The multiplayer aspect of Rising Sun is fine, with a few problems. The deathmatch mode is really basic, nothing you haven’t seen before. Co-op is real fun, with some neat situations in the levels, like when one person gets in a tank and the other has to cover the tank from snipers and suicide bombers. However, one weird thing is that there is a limited range that the two players can be apart, probably due to technical limitations. Get too far away from each other, and one player gets yanked toward the other player. Other than that, co-op in Rising Sun is well implemented.
I would recommend this game to Medal of Honor fans, if they don’t mind a few steps forward and a few steps back. For other shooter fans… the well isn’t exactly dry for shooters on the GC, so you might want to rent this one. Although Rising Sun does not exactly push the Medal of Honor series forward, I came away feeling satisfied.