Movement and imbalanced realism problems aside, Breakthrough still manages a good singleplayer game. With heavy, non-stop scripting that never lets you realize you’re on rails, it definitely feels like an experience. The only thing comparable to the opening movement (yes, like a symphony) at Kasserine is the Omaha Beach battle from the original Allied Assault.
Indeed, whereas Spearhead started somewhat slow, got very good in the middle and ended on a rather mediocre note, Breakthrough follows the MOHAA tradition of a strong and following up with a mixed bag. Some missions are really great, others feel ridiculously contrived – like dropping mortars (of all things) on multiple waves of tanks. I understand that MOHAA is, deep down inside, still an arcade shooter, but I thought we’d given up on Galaga-style games a long time ago. There are several very frustrating scripted sequences, but nothing that a gamer shouldn’t be able to pass with a few tries.
Fortunately AI’s aim seems to have been toned down a notch as well. Riflemen and snipers aren’t always going to hit you, but they still manage a good 80-90% of shots. The player will also get to work with AI teammates more often, and these aren’t necessarily the “follow me” sequences.
Vehicles have been introduced, but if you’re expecting Battlefield 1942, boy, are you ever in for a disappointment. The tanks are quite clumsy, despite offering the advantage of a 3rd person point of view. Driving one is probably much more akin to the difficulties faced by real tank drivers, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.
The one conclusion that’s impossible to escape is that Medal of Honor is old. The AI is just plain stupid. Enemies will stand right in front of you, firing their bolt-action rifles once every 5 seconds, as you reload your 30-round Sturmgewehr in preparation for a massacre. The multiplayer is clearly past its best-before date. Battlefield 1942 hasn’t aged one bit, while it’s plain to see that MOHAA’s attraction is clearly fading.
Moreover, the once-great animation looks as clumsy as the movement feels in the game. Enemies and friends alike will do startling, abrupt motions in the middle of combat, almost as if frames of animation are missing. One moment a Wehrmacht officer is running towards you, the next he’s standing stiff as a board, and a fraction of a second after that his pistol is leveled at your head. It’s all very sterile and not dynamic at all.
Sound effects are absolutely fantastic. Guns and explosions have a sharpness, clarity and shameless loudness to them that puts the timid sounds from Max Payne 2 to shame. Speech is recorded fantastically, but I’d swear that the Brit accents are fake.