Does Warfighter have enough firepower to at least fight back against Master Chief and Activision’s FPS juggernaut? Read on to find out what we think of the game’s two modes.
Also of note, seeing as most people buy first-person shooters for their multiplayer component, I feel that sectioning each of the game’s components for review should make it easier for FPS fans to digest.
I gather a bit of a disclaimer is needed here. I might be one of the few people who actually liked Medal of Honor 2010’s story. It wasn’t your usual set-piece affair, but focused more on telling the soldier’s tale, what they have to go through within the government itself, and concentrated more on the “human” side of soldiers instead of portraying them as bloodthirsty commandoes that can take out hordes of enemies with one gun.
Unfortunately, Warfighter deviates from that. Now, I’m not sure if this is to appease FPS fans who want one explosion after the next, but for all intents and purposes, Warfighter’s campaign is a shadow of its former self.
Not saying that everything falls flat, for one thing, the last few missions and actual ending do give the game more depth than it cottons early on. The problem is, the journey it takes to get there isn’t all that terribly engrossing.
Most of the encounters are simple whack-a-mole events broken up by the standard sniping and chase missions. I did like the driving segments scattered throughout, but scenarios like those are few and far between.
Regarding the story, Danger Close has been very vocal that the events that happen in Warfighter are based on real-life events. And while I’m not privy to any of those said happenings, what we get to play does sound plausible. It’s in the execution that the game’s campaign sometimes fall flat. For every exhilarating escape sequence, there are one or two missions that consist of nothing but clearing rooms and pathways of enemy forces. Is this what really transpired in real life? It might be, but it falls on Danger Close to make each engagement exciting and assimilate the player into the experience as much as possible.
Graphically, Frostbite 2 manages to hold its own as smoke effects, explosions and other particles look as good as we’ve anything we’ve seen so far this generation. But as a whole though, you can tell current-gen consoles are having a hard time complying with the game engine. From framerate drops, to textures popping in and out, I definitely think Frostbite 2 might be too much for current-gen consoles to handle.
One thing I’d like to point out are the cut-scenes. It straddles the line between being good, to being creepy depending on what’s shown. One example is the game’s protagonist, Preacher. In cut-scenes shown early on, the face-mapping and texture seem very good, but once you see his family, everything goes to hell. Preacher’s wife has weird hair and don’t even get me started on his “demonic-looking” daughter. I literally winced when I saw her smile. It tries to straddle the “uncanny valley,” but fails and it’s not a pretty sight.
Based on my playthrough, the most notable gameplay addition to Warfighter compared to other Military FPS’ (aside from the driving segments) are breaching rooms; and even that got old after the umpteenth time you kicked a door down, threw a flashbang and pulled off headshots. Is this enough to make the campaign fun? It does have its moments of brilliance but digested as a whole, it plays out exactly like you thought it would.
Ultimately, that’s where Warfighter falls short on. The game doesn’t offend in any way but at the same time, it feels like a game that’s “safe.” It’s as if Danger Close chose what to put in the campaign using a bullet-point presentation and went with it. I didn’t feel for the protagonists in Warfighter as I did in the 2010 reboot and that’s what made it “fail” in my opinion. Medal of Honor 2010 was riddled with bugs, was relatively “tamer” when it came to explosions and set-pieces, but it made me care for Rabbit, Preacher and the rest of the guys…and that made the difference for me from wanting to finish the story, to just plodding along.
Just like with Medal of Honor 2010’s campaign, I liked that game’s multiplayer too and I was damn good at it even. For Warfighter, I consider the multiplayer its better component and saving grace and it’s definitely leagues above what the single-player has to offer. If you buy military FPS’ for their multiplayer, Warfighter might be worth your hard-earned money.
Basically, it’s a souped-up version of 2010’s version. There are more classes, game modes, Support Actions and gun customization. If you liked the multiplayer in Warfighter’s predecessor, chances are you’ll like Warfighter’s competitive mode.
The overall gunplay is good enough, it’s nowhere near as fast as Call of Duty, but certainly a step above what you’d expect in a Battlefield game. If you’re looking for an “in-between” game of the two, then Warfighter might deliver – provided you can overlook some of its flaws.
Speaking of flaws, the biggest offender – undoubtedly — is the User Interface (UI). I’ve been playing multiplayer FPS’ since Quake and Unreal, but I’ve never been confused as I was with Warfighter’s menus. Simply put, it’s a mess. Changing classes and guns in-game are a chore. And for some odd reason, jumping from one menu to the next necessitates a different button to confirm. Add to that that unlocking items, characters are befuddling, too. I’m now at level 26 in the game and I still have no idea in which order I’ll unlock guns, and characters.
Aside from the UI, some of the maps are designed oddly as well. It doesn’t give a good enough indicator if a boulder or whatnot can be climbed on, or if it’s used as a roadblock. This, in turn, makes some maps very confusing to navigate at first. What I find stranger still is Danger Close not even putting an indicator on your map for places that are “off-limits.” What I mean is, these are places where you can’t go since it’s too close to the enemy spawnpoint. I say strange since it’s quite easy to fix. Just blacken out the restricted area in the mini-map (like in Battlefield 3) to alert players that they can’t go past a certain area of the environment.
But aside from a few niggles, the game delivers when it comes to gun-on-gun action. It focuses more on gunplay than overpowered Support Actions. For those who haven’t played Medal of Honor 2010, Support Actions are the game’s equivalent of Killstreak Rewards but with a few key twists. Support Actions are earned by points and not just by killing. And once you do unlock one, you’re given a choice to either use an offensive or defensive Support Action. You have to weigh each choice depending on the situation at hand. Are you storming a base and you need a mortar strike to clear the bomb site? Or maybe you need a smoke screen so you and your buddies can capture a zone? It depends on your playstyle and offers a different area of versatility that Call of Duty’s Killstreak Rewards never had.
Speaking of buddies, the game adds another element by introducing a “Fireteam buddy” to each player. Not only can they act as a mobile spawnpoint, but they can give health and ammo with a press of a button, too. Think of it like Battlefield’s squad, but on a two-man basis. And just like in Battlefield, relying on another teammate is often a double-edged sword. You might be paired up with someone who replenishes your ammo and health constantly or you might buddy up with someone who doesn’t give a rat’s fart and just runs away whenever they spawn on you. Nonetheless, it’s certainly an interesting mechanic and one that other multiplayer shooters should look into.
The biggest detriment to recommending Medal of Honor Warfighter might not even be directly related to the game itself. While it’s easy to say that each game should be reviewed on their own merits, it’s hard to review the game without pondering that there are two other shooters vying for your gaming time this Fall – especially when you consider that some people will only be able to purchase one.
To put it bluntly, Medal of Honor Warfighter was in a dire predicament before it was even released. On one hand EA is expecting it fill in nicely for DICE’s Battlefield franchise, and on the other, it’s releasing just right before Halo 4 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. It’s natural then that gamers will need to choose which game to support.
For those not caught up with Halo 4 fever, or want a break from the annual Call of Duty fix, Warfighter might be enough to tide you over until the next “big” FPS comes along that tickles your fancy. However, don’t expect it to challenge the top dogs anytime soon and don’t be surprised if your friends would rather play Halo 4 or Black Ops 2 either.
Score: 3/5 Stars
Disclaimer: A PS3 Version of Medal of Honor Warfighter was given to us by EA for review. I played through the entire campaign on Normal difficulty and reached level 26 on Warfighter’s multiplayer.