Previously limited only to home con- soles, World War II gaming is now available for on-the-go play with two first-person shooters for the PlayStation Portable. While both games are similar, they are separated by unique game play and distinctive presentation.
In Medal of Honor: Heroes, you shoot your way through the coasts of Italy during Operation Avalanche, the streets of Holland during Operation Market-Garden and through the snowy Ardennes in the Battle of the Bulge. Missions consist of planting charges to destroy enemy installations, capturing and holding strategic locations and picking up important items on fetching errands. The game play is fast-paced, with enemies firing on you and you firing right back. When you get wounded, you can grab a health pack and jump back in the fray. The campaign length is relatively short, which is excellent for mobile play. Aiming can be a little difficult due to the PlayStation Portable controls, but the “aim assist” function helps a great deal.
The game has a few drawbacks. Certain important documents—most notably, of all things, a German Enigma machine— are left out in the open. Plus, the game perpetuates a common misconception concerning the M1 Garand rifle. The M1 can, in fact, be reloaded even if the eight-round “en bloc” clip is full or partially expended, but in the game you must empty the clip entirely before you can reload.
Brothers in Arms: D-Day, offers a more in-depth, squad-based style of game play. It follows actual missions of the 101st Airborne Division “Screaming Eagles” during the Normandy invasion. You play as one of two fictional sergeants leading your squads to Carentan and eventually toward St. Sauveur. This game focuses on tactics and strategy, rather than the “run-and-gun” style of Medal of Honor: Heroes. Your character issues commands to your fire team to pin down enemy soldiers with suppressing fire, giving you time to flank them and take them out. The infantry tactics—find the enemy, fix them by pinning them down, flank them and finish them—are so accurate that the console versions of the game have been used as a teaching tool at West Point.
Originally published in the May 2007 issue of World War II Magazine. To subscribe, click here.