Video Game Review – Medal of Honor: Rising Sun

Medal of Honor: Rising Sun
EA Games
PS2, XBox, Gamecube

When it comes to gaming, the World War II genre is the most overpopulated today. It seems as though every company with the ability to animate a character throws their hat into the ever so jumbled WWII genre mix. So, in a situation like this, expectations for the games are higher, as standards are continuously being matched and raised. In order for a WWII game to get noticed, it better be special, otherwise it will crash into the huge slush pile of its fallen predecessors. Enter Medal of Honor: Rising Sun published by EA Games. The Medal of Honor series has been one of the lucky ones, making a name for itself with its realistic storylines, intense battles and unique History Channel-style atmosphere. However, with Rising Sun, the Medal of Honor series seems to have taken a step back.


Rising Sun takes place in the Pacific Theater of operations during WWII; a drastic departure for the series, but a welcome change of environmental style from Nazi Germany and it’s surrounding areas to which Medal of Honor fans are accustomed. Players take on the role of Joe Griffin, whose brother goes missing during a skirmish in the Philippines. However, the mission focuses less on the brother’s whereabouts and more on the United States exacting revenge on the Japanese after the attack on Pearl Harbor.


Rising Sun uses the classic first-person shooter style. Aiming weapons can be a bit of a pain at times, as the analog seems tough to control when trying to achieve accuracy. The control schemes — when the character is posted at a machine gun or rail gun, for instance — are quite simplistic, and a blast to use. The Medal of Honor games always tend to suffer from badly-balanced level quality, and Rising Sun is no exception. Some levels such as “The Bridge on the River Kwai” and “Singapore Sling” offer nice environments and mix up the game play, but others are just forgettable, serving as filler levels until reaching the good stuff.


At first glance, Rising Sun won’t impress in very many ways because the game looks much like Frontline, and by now, we’ve come to expect more. Scarce plant life attempts to hide the angular walls in a forest — and though the gamer realizes that outdoor environments are harder to execute than indoor, the designers could have at least put a bit more effort into disguising the less detailed areas. In many ways, Frontline actually beats this, simply because that game’s problem areas are far less noticeable in comparison.

Fun Factor:

Most of the fun in Rising Sun is in the first few missions. The first two take place on a ship, during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The scenes are overwhelming, and playing them sparks the same kind of raw emotion as the Normandy Beach invasion from Frontline did. One improvement from the last outing, though is the design of the levels. No longer linear “Point A to Point B” strides, Rising Sun’s levels are more open to branching off and more complicated in design, encouraging heavy exploration. In addition, there are items that can be found within the game (like a machete) that can open up areas in other levels. Once the item is acquired, you are meant to revisit levels to open up new possible paths. This open-ended style of play makes for an enjoyable experience beyond just shooting at enemy soldiers.

Three reasons Medal of Honor: Rising Sun will have you enlisting:

– The Pearl Harbor mission. You’ll feel as though you’re there, not that you really ever want to be. The mission allows you to feel intense emotion, rare for a video game.

– Shooting down planes. Firing those rail guns at nonstop onslaughts of Japanese planes is quite a rush.

– Unlocking the real WWII footage. Seeing real footage of the mission adds a unique atmosphere to the game.

Three reasons Medal of Honor: Rising Sun will teach you to never enroll in a history class again.

-The enemy. These are quite possibly the dumbest soldiers in the world; it’s as if Jessica Simpson trained these guys.

– Medal of Honor: Rising Sun is only eight missions long. This is the first time anyone’s ever been able to defeat the Japanese in two days.

– Medal of Honor: Frontline. Frontline just makes Rising Sun pale in comparison. Nobody likes to take a step down in quality, and that’s exactly what Rising Sun does.

Contact Chase Kobrin at