Review: Medal of Honor: Warfighter

It’s funny when you think about it, but Medal of Honor had already established itself as a solid first-person shooter even before Call of Duty was brought into the world kicking, screaming and shooting. Today, the tables have turned and Call of Duty is largely considered top dog in this genre, while Medal of Honor is now struggling to find a place for itself. The series was rebooted in 2010, moving to modern times just like Call of Duty did with Modern Warfare, but while Modern Warfare remains the pinnacle of first person shooters for many, Medal of Honor felt like a lacklustre attempt to reclaim some of EA’s lost glory. With this year’s Warfighter, developer Danger Close has definitely upped their game, delivering a flawed, but enjoyable experience.

You know it, I know it; heck even the old lady next door knows it. Warfighter’s campaign never aspired to reshape the genre, so if you’re already a bit jaded with all the shooters on the market, this one will do nothing to change your mind. If anything, it may make you even more bitter. Warfighter plays out like a laundry list of first-person shooters, systematically ticking all the gameplay designs you would expect from a modern day shooter. You have stealth missions that devolve into all out combat, solo sections, mounted turret sections, vehicular sections and of course bombastic set-pieces that take away all control from the player.

That being said, the game is still quite enjoyable even though it’s painfully predictable. After a slow start, it does pick up momentum and ruffles up some enjoyable moments, like a vengeance-fuelled solo romp through a floating ship in the middle of the sea, a frantic car chase through the busy streets of Dubai and a rather satisfying conclusion. Of course, helping matters greatly is the fact that the game looks gorgeous. Built using DICE’s Frosbite 2 engine, Warfighter is a bit on the darker side, but oozes a great amount of detail when it comes to level, character and weapon design. Even the cut-scenes are rendered with great detail, occasionally taking a horrific nose dive when it comes to rendering feminine characters.

Special mention has got to be made of the game’s audio, which I personally felt was the best I’ve experienced in a shooter till date. I really don’t mean to sound like a advert, but in Warfighter, it’s like you’re in the middle of the action. The guns sound crazy authentic and I felt the urge to duck a couple of time as bullets whizzed past my head, splintering wood, and shattering concrete and glass in a convincing manner.

But for everything Danger Close does right, there are certain design decisions that make absolutely no sense. Why is the AI so dumb? Why do my own players love running across the battlefield while I’m firing at enemies? More importantly, why do they insist on taking cover at the exact same spot I have, throwing me out of cover and in harm’s way? Why do some of the characters in cut-scenes (especially the women) look like they’ve stepped out of Silent Hill? Why are there different animations for breaching when all of them play out exactly the same way? Why do I have to breach doors so often? And why, oh why do I have to wait for friendly AI to open certain doors for me? Granted, a lot of these questions can be asked in every shooter today, but I think games like Battlefield and Call of Duty get away with it simply because they provide players with a tighter and a more streamlined package, whereas Warfighter definitely stumbles along the way.

Of course, multiplayer is the backbone of Warfighter and the game largely succeeds in that arena. On the surface, Warfighter’s multiplayer looks like it’s trying to rip off Call of Duty’s frantic infantry combat and Battlefield 3’s slow paced, authentic-ish warfare. However, once you actually get into it, you realise that Danger Close has tried to carve a comfortable niche for itself somewhere between these two juggernauts. And they kind of get away with it.

It will take you some time to navigate the unnecessarily complex menus, but once you figure that out, you can jump right into the action by choosing your class. You have all the usual suspects like Assault, Heavy Gunner, Sniper, etc and every class has a different set of perks and active skills in combat. You’ll just have to play around with each one to find your groove. These perks are earned in every match by racking up a certain amount of points after which you can chose to use one that will benefit you or your team.

MOHW really does try and encourage team play, which is why it introduces something called Fire Team aka the buddy system. This mechanic functions largely like a squad in Battlefield games, only now, it’s all about two players – you and a buddy. That can be someone you can party up with or a random stranger the game pairs you up with. Besides serving as a mobile spawn point, your buddy can heal you, hook you up with some ammunition when you’re running low, and bring you back from the dead by killing the guy that put a bullet through your head. It’s a neat addition, no doubt, but it doesn’t really feel like a game changer. Granted, I was playing with strangers, but I never really got into it, probably because I was mostly paired up with dudes who just wanted to lone wolf it. What I also found a bit annoying about this system was that I couldn’t spawn on my buddy when he was engaged in combat. I had to wait till he killed off all threats, died himself, or retreated so I could spawn on him.

Warfighter gives you a bunch of modes to choose from across varied maps inspired by the campaign. You have your usual suspects like Team Deathmatch; Sector Control, which basically involves dominating three points spread out over the map; a bomb plating/defusing variant called Combat Mission; and a brand new mode called Home Run. Home Run is a variant of Capture the Flag and turns out to be the game’s most intense mode because you only spawn once through a round. Once you die, you stay dead and become a spectator. After three rounds, teams change sides and the defenders become the attackers and vice versa.

Like the campaign, I found nothing fundamentally wrong with the multiplayer. I kept hearing stories of people encountering random spawn bugs and hackers, but to be honest, I came across none. In fact, thanks to the way the maps are designed, I rarely came across campers, and that is really shocking – in a good way, of course.

Conclusion

I kind of feel bad for the game because it’s getting a lot of undeserved hate. A large part of that is coming from people who are saturated with the genre and have really high standards. And with the prices of games today, I really don’t blame them because while I did enjoy Warfighter, it is by no means a must-buy. It ends up feeling like a half baked dish that would have tasted a lot better had it been in the oven a little while longer.

  • Looks gorgeous
  • Sublime sound effects
  • Solid multiplayer
  • Tight gameplay
  • Short and unevenly paced campaign
  • Insanely stupid AI
  • Doesn't really stand out from the crowd
7

While enjoyable, Medal of Honor: Warfighter ends up feeling like a half baked dish that would have tasted a lot better had it been in the oven a little while longer.

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Game Info

Available On
PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Reviewed On
PC
Developer
Danger Close
Genre
First Person Shooter
Age Rating
18+
Release Date
October 29, 2012