you will actually be the man in charge of protecting the leader head of the crime family Boss Chiang. This doesn’t last long though as you soon have to find Chiang’s daughter in San Francisco. This is not such an easy task as there are loads of people who want to hinder your progress. So its time to pull out the gun and dust your fists and get ready for a load of hand to hand combat and shooting to complete your mission.
Rise to Honor features two types of game play, hand to hand combat and shooting. The majority of the game sees Jet Li’s character taking on numerous bad guys at once armed only with his martial arts knowledge. You will move around using the left analogue stick and attack using the right analogue stick. The attack works by simply pointing the stick in the direction of the foes, pressing the shoulder buttons will pull off a varied assortment of moves including throws, blocks, counters and some matrix style slowed down combos. At this point it is worth mentioning that the scenery plays a good part in the action, foes can be smashed against walls and even thrown on to a hot grill so they get seared backsides. The combat also features combos which can be pulled off by holding down the R1 button and tapping the L1 button and then using the right analogue stick to direct each attack. This is a far more effective way to dispose of you enemy. If you just rely of wiggling the stick around you will make some progress taking out enemies from all directions but the action soon catches up with you. This control system is not the norm and has only been seen in a couple of games, but if you haven’t tried it, you should because the controls are simply yet the action on screen is amazing. But that is the downside, as the controls are so simple the same movements can get tiresome quickly and when combined with the simple enemy AI you will begin to think things are getting a little repetitive.
Rise to Honor does have the shooting scenes to break things up a bit. The gun you are armed with has an unlimited supply of ammo, which is quite handy. Even with the unlimited ammo the shooting scenes can initially seem quite hard, but the secret to success with the gun is to take cover at every opportunity, especially when the bad guns start up with the machine guns. Unfortunately things aren’t quite as simple as they first seem. To hide behind the scenery you must press and hold the R1 button, then to fire you let go of the R1 button and press the R2 button to shoot. But is you don’t have you crosshair on an enemy you simply can’t shoot, you must wait until you have the crosshair on the enemy and when the circular target lights up this is essentially a green light to shoot. This can cause problems when you want to come out of cover and fire a couple of shots off. There is no mechanic to duck out or just peak out and shoot enemies, you are forced to come all the way out of cover into heavy gin fire before you can target and then shoot the bad guys. If these two elements of ducking and firing from behind cover were included, they alone would have improved the gameplay and made Rise to Honor a far better game than it is now. The only way to really make progress in Rise to Honor is to use the matrix style slow down which gives you an increased firing rate. As before though, you are still forced into the path of a machine gun fire when coming out of cover.
As for the action that is about it but there are loads of cut-scenes which have been really well done. The cut-scenes are used to forward to the story so you can see some full blown action and simple dialogue cuts. Usually the amount of cut-scenes would probably annoy, but they do provide quite a nice and deserved break from the monotonous action. There are a couple of gripes I have though, most of the really good action like shooting down helicopter etc has been left out of the core of the game and put in the cut-scenes. For example, you control Jet Li and he runs away from the helicopter but when you stumble across the two Uzis the action stops and the cut-scene come in to show you what you are missing out on. If only these heavy action scenes where playable the game could have been far improved.
Graphically Rise to Honor is very good and it will appear as if you are in one of Jet Li’s movies. Well apart from his over sized head. The look is solid and the cut-scenes work very well, loading very quickly and seamlessly blending real time game play with story telling with no waiting.
The sound is also very good and most of the voice acting has been very well done. The game is spoken in English when you are in San Francisco but you can choose weather to have the English or Cantonese during the Hong Kong sections of the game. To accompany the action Rise to Honor features an ambient soundtrack which sets the scene.
Rise to Honor has some good elements to but it also has quite a few bad points. Such as the shooting sections, it is almost as if the developers couldn’t be bothered to add duck out and shoot and shoot from cover mechanics to the game. The absence of heavy action that has been left to movie style playbacks does make you feel like you are missing out on some great action. Saying that novice plays will probably like the style if Rise to Honor, you can look good without having to do too much or be particularly skilful. The experienced gamer will find the controls overly simplistic and the shooting sections overly flawed. Casual gamers should probably rent first and have a mess around before taking the decision to buy.
6 out of 10