Thursday, November 29, 2012

Medal of Honor: Warfighter Review

Despite being one of the most popular genres in gaming today, the war setting of a FPS is one most often explored away from the launch of the latest Call of Duty title. Electronic Arts are the only company brave enough to take on the Christmas periods in recent years, with moderate success coming from Battlefield 3 and 2010's Medal of Honor to some degree. Medal of Honor: Warfighter is the sequel to the latter title and aims to reveal the true hardship and danger involved in being a Tier-1 operator. Trailers and gameplay footage from pre-launch showed a beautiful game that is going to have all those massive action packed set pieces we are used to, but sadly it has failed to completely live up to the hype.


The one true shining light in Medal of Honor: Warfighter is the outstanding graphics throughout the entire single player campaign. As long as you take the effort to install the HD content before starting the game, you will be witness to a showcase of what the Frostbite engine can offer. The cut scenes especially are absolutely stunning and at times can mislead you into thinking it is a television show you are watching and not a videogame. Character models are incredibly realistic and everything from gross movements to fine movements such as lip syncing are spot on.

The campaign is a non-stop action sequence aimed at showing exactly what the Frostbite engine is able to deliver. Right from the start there will be explosions and timed events that aim to provide a visual spectacle to the viewer. You either love this or hate it, but MoH: Warfighter does it as good as the best of them. Explosions constantly rocking your screen deliver the danger you are constantly facing and these little visual vibes take the delivery from good to great. You will be travelling through a large variety of locations which are all stunning. These range from dark dense pathways to a more open environment that has the sun pulsating in the background. There are a few low res areas that dampen the game slightly but it will take some nit picking to look negatively upon the overall package.

Player animations take a leaf out of Battlefield 3's book and aim to make you less stagnant than the basic set of animations provided in other FPS games. These games generally don't allow you to take advantage of the cover provided throughout levels. It is merely a setpiece that can be used to hide behind to regenerate your health. In Medal of Honor: Warfighter you can actually peek around cover and use that to shoot at enemies with protection. This is an intuitive design that should be in more games. Running, jumping, going prone and stabbing enemies all use fluid designs that perform more like their real world counterparts and makes it all just that little bit more believable.

The audio in the game is commendable but doesn't really do anything to make it a true standout in this day and age. The voice acting in the cut scenes and in game are nicely done, but sadly the dialogue is confusing and you will more than likely not even pay attention to it after a while. The guns sound great and the explosions from weapons will rock you with a good sound system. Bullets whizzing by you provide a sense of danger. The audio is at the same high quality as Battlefield last year essentially without really improving on it.


After looking at the game you would be forgiven thinking this is going to be a solid experience. Sadly the overall package Danger Close have tried to deliver is a failed attempt at providing all angles of the Tier-1 experience. In trying to show 'behind the scenes' into the emotional aspect of life as a solider the entire story becomes irrelevant and confusing to even follow what they are trying to say. The game starts off with no introduction, thrusting you into a short mission shortly followed by an attempted dramatic cut scene that quickly shifts to cocky soliders preparing to go into battle. You have no idea why you are fighting or what is actually happening and it becomes frustrating. It doesn't really improve and you won't find yourself getting attached to the various characters in your control. A stronger sense of direction and true introduction to the Tier-1 operators was probably needed, but sadly this games now strongly relies on the action.

Once again, MoH: Warfighter fails to completely hit the mark with the gameplay. The first thing you will notice is that the campaign is short, extremely short. I finished the game in around 5 hours and found no incentive or motivation to complete it again on one of the two extreme difficulties unlocked upon completing the game. I personally am a big fan of these games that mix up the gameplay with the sniper sequences, boat/driving/flying areas and explosive scenes that really get the adrenalin flowing. Warfighter does these brilliantly and are a definite highlight in the game, but the space between these are filled with mundane shooting. Enemies are complete idiots who just stay in the same spot and basically wait for you to shoot them as they pop up from the exact same bit of cover. There is no choice in this game as you travel down a predetermined path to dispatch wave after wave of enemies. It becomes boring and only the knowledge that something cool was around the corner kept me going on.

Multiplayer is another area that seems tacked on to provide a good experience, but again nothing that we haven't seen multiple times before. Being able to choose to play as a member of the special service from a large range of countries (even Australia) is very cool and the way co-op has been introduced into the game with a teammate are the real positives out of this mode. Battlefield 3 was about teamwork but knowing that there is one player who has your back and vice versa really emphasises this point if you want to be successful. Once again, this could be promising but some poor map designs and mediocre selection of modes and innovation leave a lot to be desired when Halo and Black Ops II are commanding everyones attention this Christmas period.


Medal of Honor: Warfighter is a game full of promise that ultimately falls short when it comes down to it. In a genre where you need something special to stand out, it just fails to push the envelope and ends up becoming just another title. Sure the graphics are something special and the explosive areas of the game are a heap of fun, but the body of the game fails to capture what Danger Close have set out to achieve. A disjointed storyline that never really draws you into the experience is at the root of the problem. You will find this game fun in parts, but if there is only one shooter you can afford to get this summer then you may be better off looking elsewhere I'm afraid.

Graphics - 8.5/10
Sound - 8/10
Gameplay - 4/10
Overall - 6/10