Medal of Honor: Warfighter Review
Always a bridesmaid.
When your game is directly competing for the attention of Call of Duty and Battlefield’s fans, you need to create a high quality First-Person Shooter that gives gamers something different to draw their attention away from the competition. With Medal of Honor Warfighter, Danger Close may have failed in their attempt to create a unique shooter experience, but it’s not quite as bad as you may have heard and it doesn’t mean that it’s not worth playing.
The 2010 Medal of Honor reboot was met with mixed reviews but that didn’t stop it from selling over five million copies around the world, which meant EA and Danger Close would be back to give it another shot. That shot was fired last week with the release of Medal of Honor: Warfighter, which follows returning Tier 1 Operators Mother, Voodoo and Preacher and newcomer Stump, as they hunt down terrorists around the world to stop them from dealing and using PETN, one of the most dangerous explosives around. The campaign will have you jumping back and forth between their missions in the field and their life at home, where Danger Close tries to show us the other side of these brave men and the consequences they face with their family due to their choice to save the rest of us from the dangers of the world.
The problem is that the story feels rushed, with short cutscenes that don’t do enough to win you over and make you care about what’s going on, even if the subject matter should. If you can look past the lack of a great story, you’ll find a decent, yet familiar first-person shooter experience that could be compared to a summer blockbuster movie. You may not care about the characters or why you’re doing what you’re doing, but it’s still an enjoyable ride for the most part. You’ll fight in intense gunfights, sneak through a war-torn city subduing enemies from the shadows, ride on the side of a helicopter while you rain down terror from behind a turret, skim along the water in a boat while the city explodes around you and many other cliché missions that you’ve seen in so many shooters before it. Even if most of it is fun and entertaining, anyone who’s played one of the million shooters out there will say “been there, done that” after pretty much every mission.
There’s also a few technical issues to be aware of, with the worst offender being the enemy AI. Your teammates, even though they like to steal your cover position, work well most of the time, but the enemy AI seems to have a mind of its own and quite often acts like a pile of idiots. They’ll run into walls, shoot at the ground, throw grenades nowhere near you and there were multiple occasions where an enemy would pop out of cover and just run away from me completely and vanish into a building, never to be seen again. The game also loves to award you with headshots, even though you didn’t shoot them in the head, but then when you breach a door and actually get a headshot, it loves to say that it wasn’t one. This is a problem because Danger Close love Breaching and you’ll be doing this every five minutes and the more headshots you get during a breach, you’ll unlock new breaching methods. When the game denies these obvious headshots it’s pretty annoying and hinders your ability to unlock new ways to breach.
On the flip side, I do like the new cover system in the game, and it’s one of the few things the Warfighter has that I wish more First-Person Shooters did. When you’re behind cover and hold LB, your player will stick to that piece of cover and then you can lean out to either side or pop-up and shoot. I like cover-based games and this is a neat way, that worked quite well I might add, to get it into a First-Person Shooter, which aren’t normally known for their great cover systems. I also really like the movement in Warfighter and it almost feels like the player is gliding a little bit, compared to running or walking. It’s not too much that it feels like you’re one ice or something, but there’s just a enough of a sliding feeling to make it feel fast and fluid. This carries over really well to the multiplayer too, which we’ll get to in a minute.
The five to six hour campaign starts off with a bang but soon fades into the same familiar territory that you’ve journeyed through many times before. After you’re done with the campaign there are no other single player modes to tackle and there’s no real reason to play the campaign again, so you’ll be moving on to the multiplayer for the rest of your time.
The focus of pretty much every First-Person Shooter nowadays is the multiplayer and Danger Close have definitely followed that trend with Medal of Honor: Warfighter. It has something for everyone, whether you love just straight up Team Deathmatch or more objective-based modes like Domination from Call of Duty or Rush from Battlefield. It comes with eight maps, which are nothing to write home about, but they get the job done. Hopefully they’re not holding out on us and saving their best ones for map packs.
You’ll start off by picking your class from either Assaulter or Spec Ops, with Sniper, Demolitions, Heavy Gunner and Point Man unlocked until level 7. Each have their own selection of weapons and Support Actions such as smoke screen, radar jammer, mortar strike, Apache helicopters and more. You also get to pick which Country you want to your Tier 1 Operator to support, with each of the 12 countries starting with different gear unlocked. Regardless of which Class or Country you pick, you’ll be unlocking new weapons, gear and Support Actions as you earn points and level up. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before, but it’s on par with what I like to see in a shooter.
One thing that is new in Warfighter is the Fireteam Buddy system, where you are connected to one other player during the game to resupply, heal and spawn with. During each match, your Fireteam Buddy will glow green, and you’ll be able to see them through walls and other objects so you always know where they are. It’s also nice how it highlights an opponent after they kill your Buddy to help in the task of avenging them. At first, I didn’t really care about my Buddy when I was playing alone, but it grew on me and I started to pay more attention to where they were and how they were doing. You’ll earn bonus points for doing things with your Buddy, so it’s worth sticking together and helping each other out. Overall, I like how Battlefield does this with Squads of four better, as we tend to play with more than just two of us, but it’s still a nice addition to the game.
Something that might disappoint some people is that there is no option to create a private game and customize the rules in Medal of Honor: Warfighter. I know you can rent dedicated servers if you want to host your own, but what about just the regular old free private game option that shooters have had for years. We’ve done this quite a bit in both Halo and Call of Duty, and it’s always odd when a shooter leaves this option out. It’s also disappointing that there are no vehicles in any of the game modes, but I’m not that surprised since Battlefield 3 is known for their vehicles and I’m willing to bet that EA wanted to keep that as a selling point for their more popular shooter.
As I said earlier in the review, I love the movement in Warfighter and it was especially noticeable in the multiplayer. It feels fast and really smooth, and between that and the cover system, I enjoyed it more than I expected. It’s definitely not as good as Call of Duty or Battlefield, but I’ve been having fun with it and I think you’ll be surprised by just how good it can be.
We didn’t get an early copy of the game, so I had a chance to read some other reviews of Medal of Honor: Warfighter before I played it and the low scores it received had me worried. After playing it, I do agree that the campaign was disappointing due to the short length, familiar missions and underwhelming story, but the multiplayer turned things around and I’ve been having a great time with that. If you’re on the fence with this one after reading so many negative reviews, I would recommend that you give it a shot as a rental and see what you think. The game does require an online pass but you can start a free two-day trial, which is more than enough time to decide if you like the multiplayer or not. Even if you don’t end up buying it afterwards, renting it will still be enough time to beat the campaign and enjoy some of the multiplayer while you wait for Halo 4 and Blacks Ops 2 to drop next month.
Available On: Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on Origin