WW2 #9: Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault

One of the worst WW2 games in a genre full of garbage

june gloom
4 min readFeb 19, 2024

This review was originally posted to Twitter on September 5, 2018.

Wondering where WW2 shooter reviews #1–8 are? They don’t really exist. The List — that shambling monster of a spreadsheet I maintain that determines what I review — was actually created as one of several spreadsheets inspired by my idea to review multiple World War 2 shooter series, ranging from Wolfenstein 3D to Call of Duty. What is now a series of formal reviews began as me posting my disordered mutterings on Twitter, beginning with the earlier Medal of Honor games. I don’t think I ever really intended to write whole reviews, which is why my reviews for Kuon and Kuroneko also don’t exist, and my main review series thusly begins at #3. I may at some point revisit these games and write real reviews for them, as most of them (except Frontline) were fairly decent. But as you will see, Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault pissed me off so bad I had to dunk on it, and the rest is history. I did continue to write reviews under the WW2 shooter heading for a while, but after a while I wound up just folding much of the remainder into the main List.

Initial release: November 4, 2004
Platform: PC
Developer: EA Los Angeles

I knew I was in for a bad time with Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault when the first level had me dying and reloading over and over and not understanding what I was doing wrong. As it turns out, you’re required to let the death sequence play out; the story then goes to flashback. The game gives no indication that this is supposed to happen.

If you were looking for a game that replicates the feelings of rage and hopelessness of participants in the Pacific theater of World War II as they bleed for every inch of a lifeless rock, then Pacific Assault might be what you’re looking for, but it doesn’t do this through good writing or solid gameplay, but by being one of the worst-designed games I’ve ever played.

In a series known for uneven quality from one game to the next, Pacific Assault marks a serious low point, going beyond even the example set by Medal of Honor: Rising Sun, which was at least relatively creative and fun. I genuinely honestly truly cannot understand how this game got released in this state. While it looks pretty good for 2004 (utilizing an early version of LithTech Jupiter, the same engine as Monolith Productions’ F.E.A.R.) it’s still not on par with even, say, Far Cry, and its use of physics is at times laughable. This would all be forgivable, if not for everything else. I don’t know if it’s an issue with hitboxes or if the enemies just have wildly varying health, but often you will shoot an enemy enough times to kill him, only for him to continue charging or shooting at him. This is frustrating because you have 10 million other enemies to fight at the same time. The level design is, um… how shall we say… bland. Most of it is the same jungles over and over and over again. there is almost no variance whatsoever. The first chapter is another Pearl Harbor re-enactment, and there’s a level where you’re in a plane. but that’s it.

The AI is anemic at best; enemies will not only know exactly where you are and often prioritize you, they’ll often teleport in right in front of your eyes. They also like to charge from places you previously cleared, even if it makes no sense for them to be doing so. Speaking of AI, your AI buddies are awful. The new squad commands system is basically worthless; you will usually be ignored. And let’s talk about the medic system, shall we? If ever there was an argument for regenerating health, this game is it. The medic system basically revolves around you and your AI buddies relying on another AI-controlled medic to keep you all alive. The problem is that his AI and pathing is just as bad as everyone else’s, and more often than not, you’re going to die waiting for him to reach you. And you will die, by the way. Often. In fact, all the time. Sometimes for no discernible reason whatsoever. Even on the easiest setting, getting shot does tremendous damage. You can go from 100% health to about 30% in seconds… often immediately after being healed.

The difficulty gets increasingly out of whack; by the time you reach Guadalcanal, you’ll be hittin’ that quickload button ’til your finger’s sore. (And with a long load time each time, yes even in 2018 when I first wrote this.) The final few levels were so infuriatingly difficult I turned on god mode. I no longer cared.

Bugs abound. I’ve had multiple situations where the game couldn’t progress due to a scripting error and the level needed to be restarted. There were clipping issues out the wazoo. AI issues, hitbox issues, animation issues. It’s just a constant, unrelenting diarrhea flow of incompetence.

The gameplay is very much an incompetent clone of Call of Duty, with constant frontline action, noise, ADS, the works. No real stealth sequences at all, which is probably a blessing considering how buggy this game is. Tere’s even a storyline, some guff about a marine and his buddies. Of course, Call of Duty is much better put together, whereas this game has “budget title” written all over it. And I’ve played some damn good budget games! I’m honestly appalled that it has an 80 on Metacritic. It’s easily the worst game yet in a franchise that was already in decline. In fact, coming back to this old review six years later I have to say not a single one of the later games ever reached the depths of garbage this game did.




june gloom

Media critic, retired streamer, furry. I love you. [she/her]