Average design and average gameplay, a far inferior game to the original.
The problem is that it felt just like Vietcong, with improved graphics having been released 1.5 years later, but with fewer set pieces. Much of MODPA felt like extremely linear corridors of jungle. Move from one little village with a few huts thrown in, through some tight jungle paths to the next village. The graphics, of course, were better than its predecessar MOD:Allied Assault and the mission packs, but with the repetitive design and lack of memorable levels, it doesn't stand out as a great looking game to buy against other releases in 2004.
Having said that, the Tarawa Beach sections (which probably made up 1/4 of the game), were definitely the highlight in atmosphere. They were a big improvement on the intense but bland Omaha Beach sections of MODAA.
The sad thing is, however, that the average design is still MODPA's strong point, because the gameplay was full of flaws. At the forefront, for me, were the atrocious weapons. Of course you can only handle two at a time, and normally you don't get much of a selection. There are a few good weapons in the game, but you rarely get to use them because unless your enemies are carrying the same weapon, you'll soon run out of ammo. What I was left with for the majority of the game were slow reloading, slow firing and extrememly inaccurate broomsticks. The rifle, for instance; there's a one second pause between firing, and a three second pause while reloading. You can point the thing perfectly at an opponents head, and still somehow miss. You can stand almost point blank and fire one into his chest... watch him stumble, then get back up again like nothing happened. There's no such thing as a headshot in MODPA, because the weapons are just too unreliable to even attempt it.
Gameplay is also very unbalanced in terms of difficulty. In playing on medium (although i'm well above medium in skill) I normally don't have much trouble getting through a game. But at times some of the fights were ridiculous, and forced god mode. The turret machine gunners are far too difficult to kill without being mowed down by bullets within seconds of revealing yourself. And no matter how well hidden you were, they always seem to find you almost instantly. There's a few times where you've got 2/3 machine gunners at once. Problem is your guns are hopeless at long range and you can't even see the enemy manning the gun to even aim at him. He could be standing on either side of the gun.
Tarawa Beach, as well, was far too difficult with poor weaponry and not enough ammo. In one jungle scene, your given a sniper riple (for the only time in the entire game) with one bullet to take out four enemies hiding high up in trees. I'd already run out of bullets with my other gun, so what's a man to do? God mode, noclipping up to the tree top and bashing them with my gun was the only solution. Let's not forget the section where your forced to man a plane, supposedly whilst drunk since the handling of the plane is rubbish. They inverted the up/down of the mouse aiming for the plane section, so when you finally return to two legs, your aiming ability is corrupted as your moving the mouse down to look up! This entire plane section was painstakingly frustrating and boring, and should never have made the cut in a first person shooter.
So my overall thoughts; average design and average gameplay, thanks to some inconsistencies in difficult and useless weapons, makes MODPA a far inferior game to the original. I hope MOD: Airborne makes up for it in 2007, but from what I've heard already, I might have to wait till the fourth MOD in 2010 for a good game again.
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