GameSpot may receive revenue from affiliate and advertising partnerships for sharing this content and from purchases through links.

Medal of Honor Rising Sun Hands-On Impressions

We learn more about the latest console Medal of Honor and take its multiplayer mode for a spin.


At Electronic Arts' Camp EA press event, we were able to see a new and impressive demonstration of the PS2 version of Medal of Honor Rising Sun, the newest game in the long-running World War II-themed action series. As you might gather from the title, Rising Sun chronicles the struggle between American and Japanese forces in WWII, from the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor to various battles in the Pacific theater of operations. The demo showed one of the later missions from the game, which was set in a steamy jungle in Thailand, near the infamous river Kwai. The map had a lot of natural terrain and foliage that could be used for cover. One of the game's developers was on hand to tell us about Rising Sun's development process, and he told us the series' engine had to be improved significantly in order to facilitate the much more uneven terrain characteristics of these Pacific Rim locations.

The Rising Sun demo featured a large number of unique and cinematic events, which are really at the heart of the Medal of Honor experience. In one sequence, the game's main character wedged a large board into a railroad track that wound along a narrow cliffside road. When Japanese forces attempted to drive a truck over this track, the truck was violently thrown off course and tumbled down the cliff to its doom. The developer on hand told us that the development staff for Rising Sun is much larger than that of the previous PS2 Medal of Honor game, Frontline, and that while Frontline had around 30 of these unique events, Rising Sun will have nearly 300 of them, so players who enjoyed the varied and cinematic feel of previous MOH games should expect to see many more of these sequences in Rising Sun.

We learned about a number of new gameplay enhancements during the demo as well. For one, the lengthy missions in Rising Sun have necessitated a new save point system that will let you save and load games at will, so that it will be easier to restart once you've died. The required mission objectives in the game will now be supplemented with secret bonus objectives that won't show up on your list of goals until you've already completed them. These bonus goals are entirely optional and are being hidden in the game for those players who want to discover 100 percent of the game's content on their own. There will also be three secret items--a machete, an entrenching tool, and a lock-picking device--hidden in the game that will carry over between missions and allow you to perform new actions. Finally, Rising Sun will include a feature that many Medal of Honor fans have surely been clamoring for: elephant riding. We watched as the main character rode a great pachyderm into battle and dispatched oncoming Japanese soldiers with a machine gun.

The Rising Sun developer providing the demo gave us some more information about how the team is adapting the game to the new setting and characters. Members of the development team actually traveled to Pearl Harbor, Thailand, Singapore, and Guadalcanal to research geography and architecture, and they even took photos that served as the basis for the texture maps in Rising Sun's levels. On the technical side, the soldiers in the game won't use any canned animations for their aiming and movement--there's a new system based on inverse kinematics that makes these animations much more fluid and dynamic. Finally, there will be AI differences between the new Japanese soldiers and the German soldiers featured in previous games. Rather than hanging back under cover, these new enemies will rush in and attack you at close range in an attempt to neutralize you. Fighting hand-to-hand with the enemy will be especially dangerous and damaging, and you'll need to avoid it at all costs to survive.

The multiplayer component in Medal of Honor Rising Sun is still extremely early in development, but we still got to a chance to try it for a few minutes. It will support four players using a split-screen view and up to eight players online. The game will support deathmatch, team deathmatch, and capture the flag, though we only got to try our hand at a quick free-for-all deathmatch game. The hit detection and controls are still being smoothed out in multiplayer, but from what we've seen, it seems like Rising Sun could provide a pretty entertaining competitive experience.

Based on our early experience with Medal of Honor Rising Sun, the game is shaping up to be a worthy addition to the series. One last feature we learned about today is the inclusion of unlockable interviews with World War II veterans that the development team recorded during the research phase. This seemingly minor feature should be quite valuable to history buffs and anyone who enjoys playing their games in a meaningful historical context. We'll bring you more information on Medal of Honor Rising Sun as its November release approaches.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are 1 comments about this story