It’s hard to be unique and innovative when there’s already a sea of big first-person shooters out there, especially when it comes to modern combat settings. Already Call of Duty and Battlefield 3 fill the space quite well, and so when Medal of Honor finally joined the modern era back in 2010 everything got a little bit crowded. Now EA are following a pattern of alternating Battlefield and Medal of Honor each year, it’s time for that 2010 reboot to get a not so well deserved sequel in the form of Medal of Honor: Warfighter. So, does Warfighter stand a chance in this over-saturated genre of guns and grit, or will it fail to rise above the call of duty?
Taking on the role of the affectionately named US. Navy Seal Stump and returning character Preacher, you travel the globe from Pakistan to Somalia and over to te Philippines to prevent terrorist incursions. Of course, you’ll do this by performing the usual raids on hideouts, chasing suspects by boat and car and gathering intel with the barrel of your gun. Generally, if you couldn’t have guessed, you’ll be left wondering exactly what is going on as the weak narrative and threadbare plot do very little to aid you. Essentially it feels like a Call of Duty-style campaign that’s short and full of explosions and action with set pieces and overly dramatic scenes aplenty.
As with 2010’s release, Warfighter‘s real goal is to give you an insight into the emotional turmoils and physical exertion that soldiers and their families go through. Surprisingly, it manages to do this rather well. Scenes where you see Preacher’s family visiting him in the hospital actually begin to tug on a couple of heartstrings here and there. Of course, this is juxtaposed by the back drop of over-the-top action and explosions with high-octane car chases. Warfighter‘s trying to be two things at once, and in doing so it’s managed to feel more muddled than before, leaving the original feeling more authentic in the process.
Thankfully Warfighter isn’t all bad and, as with almost all modern shooters, it’s the multiplayer portion that saves the day. Spread across 12 different Special Forces from around the world, including the U.S Navy Seals, UK SAS and Canada’s JFT2, each with six different classes to unlock, you’ve got a whopping 72 characters to play as. As always you’ll unlock new characters, classes and weapons as you level up online, allowing you to customise your experience even more.
When you’re ready to wade into the battlefield you’ll be greeted with five game modes that can be played on both Hardcore or Normal gametypes. Combat Mission is essentially Rush from Battlefield 3, while Team Deathmatch is your standard mode that could have been lifted from any game with a gun in it. Sector Control replaces Domination, and Hotspot works as an attack and defend gametype that sees you planting a set number of bombs and then defending as the opposing team does the same. Finally, my personal favourite, Homerun sees you and your team taking turns in defending two flags from being taken, and to make things interesting you each only have one life per round.
As you may have guessed, Warfighter also places a large focus upon team-oriented play. You’ll always be divided into a different fireteam composed of two people. This setup means that cooperation is vital and so encourages you to always stick with your partner, especially as working together means you’ll gain additional experience and have the ability to heal, resupply and respawn on each other. This works very well with certain support actions that you’ll acquire as you play. While this method was used in 2010’s instalment, this time around things work even better and calling in an apache helicopter that you and your fireteam member can use is quite the sight.
Of course, not everything is peachy. While it may seem petty, the HUD and interface is really poorly designed in comparison to its peers – meaning you’ll spend far too long getting acquainted to this new system. Hit detection is also rather sloppy as you’ll either die from a few scant bullets or be downed after an entire clip has been pumped into you; to make matters worse the well designed maps have incredibly poor spawn placement – emphasized more in certain game modes. Luckily all these issues could be solved via a patch, so hopefully that’ll get sorted soon.
Adding insult to injury, Warfighter isn’t even presented in the best light. For a game using the powerful and beautiful Frostbite 2 engine it’s a shame to see those beautiful graphics and high-res textures go to waste on poor animations and glaring glitches. The same can also be said for multiplayer, despite the understandable toning down of graphical quality. Warfighter also suffers the fate of many shooters with some rather rubbish dialoge, although hats off to the rather good voice actors who managed to engage with such a terrible script.
Medal of Honor: Warfighter is a tribute to all the men and women in the armed forces around the world, despite this it just doesn’t quite live up to the expectations EA held for it. The campaign is weak and split into two mindsets of considered situations and Hollywood bombast and when matched with what can only be described as entirely middle-of-the-road gameplay it doesn’t paint Warfighter in the best light. It may not be a bad game, and it certainly isn’t a great game, but it does very little to change the formula that already exists. It ticks boxes but doesn’t create new ones. In the end it might well just be overlooked by better quality titles.
Audio/Visual – 3/5: Danger Close have done a decent job of using the Frostbite 2 engine and have created a nice soundtrack with reasonably decent voice acting to wrap it all up.
Gameplay – 5/5: Responsive and playable, along with having a full package that a FPS game needs – singleplayer and, especially, multiplayer.
Innovation – 2/5: From the story to gameplay and even the multiplayer, Warfighter does nothing to set itself apart from the over-saturated market of the FPS genre.
Value – 3/5: Singleplayer won’t give you your moneys worth, but multiplayer just might.
Final Score: 3.5/5