World War II obsesses this nation. For whatever reason, we go gaga for carnage, blood, and destruction on a European scale. Possibly, it is the international intrigue or the uniting of the world against a common enemy. Whatever the cause, this obsession spurred what is, in my mind, the best World War II games ever: the Medal of Honor series. Here, I am going to review the three classic PS2 games that to this day still occupy hours of my time on occasion.
Medal of Honor: Frontline
The first in this great PS2 dynasty, MOH: Frontline starts you off at D-Day controlling Lieutenant James Patterson (No, he is not writing his 9,000th thriller while on the Higgins transport.). From D-Day to Market Garden, from Nijmegen Bridge to a secret V-2 rocket facility, this game is one of espionage, thrills, and good times.
Even for coming out in 2001, this game still has decent graphics and inarguably fun and tense game play. There are only a few missions where you do not kick ass solo-style; for most of the game you are free as a bird, under cover or sneaking around behind Nazi lines. From escaping a Nazi-occupied chateau or helping the Resistance fix a car, Frontline has a multitude of missions to choose within it.
Probably my favorite of the series, the first installment for the PS2 will forever be the sterling silver in my collection. Whenever I am bored, I pick up my dusty PS2 controller and blast my through Arnhem with some comrades or fight Market Garden for Monty. And hey, who doesn’t love shooting everything and anything with impunity?
Medal of Honor: Rising Sun
The first of the series to bring us to the Pacific War, Rising Sun has great features that were missing from Frontline. Though having more comrade-based missions, there are still some damn good solo spy missions to go through, especially the one in Singapore where your character, Sergeant Joe Griffin, needs to slip into a Japanese-German meeting of the minds. Even though this game received mixed reviews, there are some great missions and features that you cannot ignore.
Incorporating a team free-play mode, Rising Sun is great to shoot your friends with, even though there is not a cooperative campaign mode. This is my least favorite of the Medal of Honor series, I will not deny that. However, it is still damn fun to play. The missions, especially the well-developed jungle espionage ones, are something to look forward to throughout the game. This game also has an interesting plot line to follow. Overall, it is a good game, even if it is not my personal favorite.
Medal of Honor: European Assault
Definitely one of the best World War II games ever, European Assault is a great game with a terrific linear plot and combination of mission types and objectives. In this game, you become another Lieutenant, William Holt. Focusing on the European and African theatres, European Assault has stellar graphics (which still hold up today!) and a decent plot line to keep you entertained as you kick some skulls.
European Assault gives the player a change of scenery as the battles shift into North Africa and the Ardennes Forest during the Battle of the Bulge, with the ultimate goal of detonating a mega-bomb to destroy the personal nemesis of you, Holt, Graf von Schrader. Again featuring multi-player versus mode, European Assault goes a step further and allows you to design your own game with various weapons and objectives for you and your opponent.
Having taken a class on World War II, I can attest to the historical accuracy of the settings, battles, and outcomes in this game. While the names are clearly fictional, all of the places and battles are actually real and actually happened. With a good attention to detail, the developers of European Assault took care while designing this game, which is adds to its depth and status as a classic.
Definitely one of my all-time favorite video game franchises, Medal of Honor boasts fourteen games to its name with more on the way. Even though they have taken the direction of Call of Duty and started going in the direction of modern war, I feel that their best and most enjoyable games will always be the “classic three” for the PS2. These games have a traditional, linear plot, simple objectives, and difficult challenges. With these games in your catalogue, things will always be ok on a rainy, nostalgic day.Throwback: Medal of Honor,