Medal of Honor Warfighter Review
Developer Danger Close
Platform PS3, Xbox & PC
Release Date Out Now.
This is a review of the PC version of the game we have noticed a serious lack of graphical power on console online but in this review it is the PC version that was reviewed.
In 2010 Danger close released a reboot of the Medal of Honor series moving from the WW2 setting and instead focusing on the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. The game likes to class itself as an authentic shooter. This is not to be confused with a realistic shooter as it is still very much an arcade shooter at its core, with regenerating health and plenty of big Michael Bay-esque explosions. They do however place a greater enfaces on the real life soldiers, the real life weapons and the real life locations they fight in. In 2010 the game received mixed reviews from critics but is still regarded among its players as one of the finest campaigns in any modern military shooter.
For those of you who played it will remember that it focused on two groups. Along with an unit of Army Rangers worked main group of Tier 1 agents and the game focused in on Preacher, Mother, Rabbit, Voodoo and Dusty. This was very much a boots on the ground campaign and a much better flow through the game as you battled through the hills fighting the Taliban, it had a definite direction that was easy to follow.
Warfighter is a direct sequel but moves from Afghanistan onto the global setting, so be warned don’t go into this game expecting anything other than an “authentic” arcade shooter that involves hopping the globe fighting terrorists.
The actual campaign is inspired by real events and the missions are written by the Tier 1 operatives themselves. Many of the missions you may recognize from the news, such high profile missions like the sniper team that lay still for over 18 hours waiting to take their shot on a boat that had been hijacked by pirates. Hostage rescues in the Philippines that is mixed with car chases around Dubai and plenty of other action that makes up a pretty diverse campaign.
The story itself does like to jump about a bit and for new players to the series this might be a bit jarring, for those you invested heavily in the 2010 game you will be able to follow the story and characters quite easily as it features many of the same faces and more than one direct link to the previous campaign.
The most prominent link to the 2010 game is the cut scene that rolled after the credits which was a sneak trailer for Warfighter. This is actually the beginning of one mission in Warfighter.
Medal of Honor has always been a series that was about the soldier and rarely got bogged down in the politics or rights and wrongs of conflict and this time it is no different. The campaign is built around the impact that going overseas to fight has on the home life of the soldiers. This is explored through Preacher who has just been honorably discharged and is going home to try and patch up his failing marriage. They explore some pretty heavy subject matters such as post-traumatic stress and the cut scenes do a great job of bringing home the reality of the situation.
Very often the main characters in these games are just faceless super soldiers who kill with wanton abandonment and it is rare that you get to see any other side of the person. Warfighter does a solid job of conveying this through some scarily realistic CGI cut scenes. Due to the nature of his work Preacher is not ideal husband material. He can’t really talk to his wife about his day at work, never mind that he runs top secret missions but he also wants to shield her from the horrors of the battle field. Preacher battles with this double life, is he locking up because he wants to protect his wife from the horrors he has witnessed? Or is he blocking them out so he doesn’t have to relive them as he still can’t really process them. It is a very serious issue one that is quite hard to mix with an arcade shooter and still carry the full weight of the sentiment.
To the actual missions as mentioned this is a global terrorist hunt so expect to find most missions are built around hunting terrorists in different areas of the globe. A source deep inside the terrorist network had fed back intelligence that a highly dangerous agent P.E.T.N is bound for the USA. A training camp in Pakistan led by “The Cleric” is just the tip of the iceberg as this network reaches into every corner of the globe.
The story hops around building up this chase to track down and stop the Cleric’s plan but all comes together in the final three heart pounding missions.
The campaign is played as it should be on hard and using lots of cover will take around 7 hours which is the norm for this genre. Within those missions you will have traditions FPS shoot everything that moves, some foot chases and interestingly two very unique car chases. These have not simple on rails sections with QTE prompts but rather they have been designed by the Need for Speed team at Black Box so they are full driving levels.
Two other features that makes the game stick out from the crowd is one that every shooter should have and that is a cover system. Rather than walking in and out from behind walls you actually duck behind objects to avoid getting shot. You can use an optional button to then peak out from cover to shoot the enemy.
The second feature that is quite unique is the double scoping system, every gun is designed to carry two different scopes that you can swap between quite easily depending on whether you are faced with long range combat or up close and personal combat. The last thing you need is a gun with a 4X scope in a narrow corridor.
Breaching doors is the most dangerous part of any mission and this plays a huge roll in the game, when you stack up you can choose the way to take down the door, these are unlocked by getting head shots in the following slow motion entry. The idea of a slow motion entry has been done before but adding the unlocks to it makes it a bit more interesting.
Gameplay is solid in our two play throughs we only encountered one small bug with a door closing that did nothing to block out progress, but we have also has reports from console users of more dramatic bugs than that such as full door missing in missions blocking the game and of course the VOIP issues on PS3.
The game looks and sounds amazing, it is built on the same Frostbite 2 engine that Battlefield 3 is and in parts it even looks better than BF3. Again console users did get a little jipped in this department more so in the online modes that are pretty ropey.
Onto the multiplayer, online is all about your Fireteam, when these guys are in the field they work in pairs and many develop such a close relationship that they can almost tell what they are thinking. This is what Danger Close have tried to capture and when you are in a good Fireteam you are unstoppable but as with all online games this is hard to find when teaming up with strangers.
It must be said that the community that has grown around Medal of Honor is one of the best communities for any online shooter and what makes it so much fun to play. They are welcoming and open to helping new players and just want to enjoy a good game. It is far more common to hear praise for the opponents after a good showing that shrills of hacker or cheats!
Danger Close get to take control of the multiplayer aspects this time around but still with a lot of support from DICE and this shows. The game is built around the two man Fireteam so the first batch of maps are nice and tight which suit this.
This Fireteam system really works, a 4 man squad can be quite hard to manage but a two man Fireteam is easy. When you get a good buddy it changes the whole game, I have even had games where I would walk through the maps back to back with my buddy so I could watch his back knowing all the time that he has mine.
You also get resupplied and healed from your Fireteam buddy so sticking close does pay off, you also have to factor that when you kill one guy there is often a second very close too. When you get killed you can respawn on your fire team buddy and again another new feature ensures that you can’t squad spawn into a hail of bullets as if your fire team buddy is under fire your spawn is delayed by 2 seconds. Your team mate needs to get into cover or of course you can fall back and spawn straight away. This removes the annoying squad spawning that has plagued Battlefield 3 where you are going in for the kill and suddenly one or two enemy soldiers just materialize out of thin air.
Game modes include the usual death match, capture the flag, but also Hot spot and Home Run are new modes. Home run sees one team try to capture a flag and return it to their baseline while the others try to stop them. This has the added edge that everyone only has one life so when you are dead you are sitting out the rest of that round. Rounds are short though so it still remains fun.
Hot spot sees 5 locations, one of which is picked at random. One team must plant a bomb on it the other team must defend it. The random nature of it means the matches rarely get bottlenecked and camping is not an issue.
Overall: The elephant in the room is the overwhelmingly negative reviews this game has received and something that has to be looked at. We didn’t review the genre, we didn’t let personal taste cloud our judgment, we did not mark it down because it is a linear shooter because like the millions of others we actually like linear shooters as a break from all the open world games and finally we did not go into this game expecting it to rewrite the rule book. It does what it does and it does it well, it looks, sounds and plays incredibly well, it has a good solid story and some unique online features that make it stand out from the rest.
It won’t be for everyone but as the people who are playing it are finding out that for those willing to spend more than 24 hours with the game it is a really solid shooter with a great community.
Warfighter is a very satisfying, emotionally charged arcade shooter that delivers some truly memorable moments.