When playing Medal of Honor Warfighter, one simple sentence kept popping into my head. “Danger Close, this game better be out before Black Ops 2 arrives or else…”. Obviously this wasn’t what actually happened between the games publisher Electronic Arts and developer Danger Close but, this is how I felt when I was playing through this game. Medal of Honor Warfighter is not a bad game by any stretch of the imagination but, it is a rushed endeavour that feels like its only existence is to try rival the inevitable Behemoth that is Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.
I enjoyed my 8 or so hours with the campaign and over 15 hours with the multiplayer but, there were some glaring problems that kept rearing their ugly head.
The Medal of Honor reboot that was released in 2010 tried to desperately shake up the genre by introducing a human element to the story and also making the gameplay more realistic. For the first time in a modern military first person shooter, Danger Close showed us that these normally faceless 1 dimensional characters actually had a human element to them. Following suit, Warfighter tries to replicate this formula again and actually succeeds to a certain degree but, unfortunately this is where the cracks start to show.
The majority of the story is portrayed through CG cut-scenes that are bordering on uncanny valley levels of detail. While they do look amazing and help to draw the gamer in to the story, the disparity between the cut-scenes and the gameplay is so obvious that it actually takes away from the immersion when you are thrown back in to the actual gameplay. The story follows various Tier 1 operators as they try to track down the leader for the entire Jihad network called The Cleric that is stationed in the Pakistan. While the story is generic an initially confusing, it starts to pick up the pace just in time for the excellent final part of the game. Thankfully, when the game starts to dip, Danger Close expertly inserts some memorable heart racing segments such as a high-speed chase through Dubai, a Little Bird convoy assault on a Taliban training facility and an exhilarating boat chase through Yemen. I also found the human elements of the story to be very well executed especially the relationship between one of the main characters called Preacher and his wife.
One part of the game which I found particularly disappointing was the graphics. Warfighter is powered by EA’s incredibly versatile Frostbite 2 engine which was made famous in Battlefield 3. Unfortunately, MOH actually looks worse than its older brother and can be more comparable to the graphic fidelity of the Call of Duty series. Textures pop in regularly, gun sounds are missing and the voices of the soldiers sound like they were recorded in a tunnel. I can’t help but feel that if Danger Close were given another few months to pollish the game, all these annoying bugs could have been ironed out. The weapons sound great though, especially through a surround sound system.
The gameplay mechanics are the usual FPS affair that we have come accustomed to over the last few years. The cover system is actually a strong point of the game but due to my style of play, I never used it. The biggest waste of opportunity for Warfighter to legitimately stand out from the crowd was the breach system. I was frustrated playing these parts because the system could have been implemented so much better.
As you play through the campaign you will have to breach a hell of a lot of doors. When you do, you are presented with various ways to breach the door such as using a tomahawk, a shotgun or a crowbar. The problem is, when you pick an option such as the crowbar, one of your squad mates uses the crowbar to pull the door handle off and then kicks the door open. This makes completely no sense because the first option of the kicking the door down is the most efficient way to breach the door. What should have happened instead was, you pick a crowbar, your squad mate kicks the door down and you imbed the crowbar in the poor enemies face. What we get instead is a wasted opportunity that makes no sense.
The multiplayer component of the game is a very solid addition. It is a class based system like Killzone 3 or Team Fortress 2, so a lot of choice is presented to the player. The player can choose between the sniper, assaulter, demolitions, heavy gunner, pointer and Spec ops class. Within each class you then pick a soldier from a certain country and customise your weapons. Each class has specific killstreaks that are exclusive to that class which can be used tactically to change the tide of the battle.
The weapons customisation is incredible and the presentation of the customisation screen is the best in the genre. When you highlight a specific part of the weapon, the screen zooms in to that part so the player can customise it to his/her satisfaction. Every single weapon in the game is fully customisable which is great because there are a lot of weapons!
The main problem with the multiplayer is that it looks considerably worse than the campaign. For some reason it looks like a completely different engine was used for the online portion of the game. While it isn’t a major problem, it is still instantly noticeable. The online modes present in Warfighter are the usual affair we are all accustomed to by now. Team deathmatch, capture the flag, hardcore mode and demolition are all present. When all is said and done, the multiplayer is fun but lacks the intensity of Battlefield 3 and the adrenaline fueled mayhem of the Call of Duty series.
Medal of Honor Warfighter feels like a rushed game. While the single player story is interesting in parts and the Frostbite 2 engine looks great at times, it is the overwhelming bugs, inconsistent graphics and by the books multiplayer that take away from the experience as a whole. If Danger Close were given a longer time frame to make this game, it could have been something excellent. If you are completely starved of Military first person shooters this year, then by all means grab this game, just don’t expect it to blow your socks off.