Medal of Honor: Warfighter
- Street Date:
- October 23rd, 2012
- Reviewed by:
- Chad Goodmurphy
- Review Date:1
- October 28th, 2012
- Game Release Year:
- Xbox 360
- Electronic Arts
- EA Danger Close
- ESRB Rating:
- M (Mature)
Before the Call of Duty franchise assumed the first-person shooter genre’s throne, EA’s Medal of Honor series hovered around that very seat. In those days, gamers who were looking for quality World War II inspired gunplay could count on an interesting experience from the brand and its regular releases, but things have changed. The series is no longer a mainstay, nor is it talked about in the same conversations as today’s most popular releases.
Back in 2010, Electronic Arts valiantly attempted to resurrect its struggling franchise after earlier attempts at winning over Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii consumers slipped into the realm of the forgotten. That modern reboot, as it is referred to, was quite a good game, which didn’t receive as much appreciation as it deserved. For some reason, its creative and interesting campaign was unappreciated by most, but it must’ve done well enough to warrant a sequel. Then again, it surely would’ve been better for the brand if that very follow-up hadn’t been sent to retail store shelves.
The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
Known as Medal of Honor: Warfighter, the above-mentioned sequel follows a group of highly skilled American Tier-1 operatives who must save the world from an exotic sect of ill-thinking terrorists. Inspired by real-life events, its worldly missions require players to aim their lead better than the enemy aims his, which is essentially the first-person shooter creed, after all. Failure to do so will result in a red-filled screen, a game over message and a retry button.
In an attempt to pay homage to the heroic men and women who put their lives on the line for their individual flags, EA Danger Close crafted a storyline that shows the darker side of war. Certain characters return from the series’ last outing, but the presented cut scenes primarily focus on Preacher, who happens to be the game’s main character. However, Preacher isn’t the only playable hero found within this release, as another character named Stump also plays an important, player-controlled role.
Although Warfighter’s storyline is disjointed and isn’t well developed, there are certain scenes that hit home. Those exclusively deal with the pain and anguish that war puts families through. Going any further with this description would ruin parts of the game for those who’ve yet to play it, so that won’t be an option. However, it’s important to note that those specific parts were relatively impressive, despite the fact that, as a whole, the under-developed plotline failed to impress.
As first-person shooter loving gamers will note, the genre isn’t necessarily a go-to option for those who happen to be looking for complex and well-written narratives. That’s true for the most part, but games like BioShock and Dishonored have shown that the first-person viewpoint can be used to tell riveting tales. My hope is that those titles, and ones like them, will push developers to place more emphasis on genre narratives.
When Electronic Arts first mentioned that Medal of Honor: Warfighter would feature a deep storyline that would evoke emotion and pay homage to both veterans and those abroad, I became intrigued. As a result, I went in with high expectations. However, I unexpectedly came out wondering why those promises were made when the end result didn’t come anywhere close to living up to its manufactured buzz.
Of course, the most important aspect of any interactive experience is gameplay. A great storyline is a bonus, and the same is true of shiny and spectacular visuals. Unfortunately, this follow-up to the series’ first venture into modern territory lacks a noteworthy catch or anything to write home about when it comes to gameplay. The development team seems to have played it safe throughout the creation of what is a rather short and uninspired campaign.
On the plus side, the single player content is relatively enjoyable, and will provide a decent weekend rental experience for people who like to shoot tons of enemies with different types of weaponry. Additionally, it does include some impressive driving mechanics, which occasionally factor in. However, that’s it. You’re not going to remember this game five years from now, because it doesn’t step outside of the proverbial box at all.
Frankly, Medal of Honor: Warfighter is a dated first-person shooter, which borrows from other heavyweights like Call of Duty and Battlefield, but doesn’t compare to them. Sure, it’s fun to shoot bad guys, but there has to be more. The only unique thing that this experience boasts is its door breaching variety, with headshots allowing players to unlock new methods. However, that design would’ve been more noteworthy if its supporting gameplay was unique, but it’s not. Also, the need to breach doorways comes up far too often.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game, which comes with two discs, not to mention a suggested 1.7 gigabyte texture pack install file. That means those who wish to experience the game at its best will need to clear up some space on their console’s hard-drive, as a result of a rather annoying tactic that Electronic Arts has used in the past. Though, it must be said that Warfighter does look noticeably better with the pack than it does without it.
Although the last line does ring true, this first-person shooter’s overall look is rather dull. There are a lot of dark rooms filled with enemies, not to mention a definite lack of variety. In fact, one of my favourite parts of the 2010 reboot was a unique, gameplay changing desert stage, where the sun’s blinding reflection made for a challenging close-quarters battlefield. There’s nothing like that in this game. The stages are predominantly forgettable, and they feel like they’ve been borrowed from previously released games.
When it comes to the aforementioned textures, there are hits and misses. Generally speaking, Medal of Honor: Warfighter lacks the polish its competitors boast, even in the visual department, and that fact is further marred by brief frame rate dips. It looks OK, but presents digital landscapes that are certainly not worth writing home about. The over-use of darkness also doesn’t help. Though, it must be said that the lighter scenes – especially some of the family focused cut scenes – do look pretty good. The characters’ faces look quite realistic, and they animate relatively well.
Last time around, D.I.C.E. developed the multiplayer content, while EA Danger Close crafted the single player part of the experience. This time, EA Danger Close developed both modes. Unfortunately, Electronic Arts’ decision to let them try their hand at creating an appealing multiplayer option wasn’t a great one, but we’ll get to that shortly. For now, it’s important to note that the competitive arenas don’t look all that appealing, with decent but forgettable designs, dated visuals complete with jaggies and bland character models.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
Audiophiles will be happy to hear that the most impressive part of this entire experience happens to be its sound effects. Those who worked on that particular facet of the game deserve applause, because their work speaks for itself. The created effects are both realistic and impressive, adding immersion to a game that is otherwise lacking in that department.
While there are quality effects to be found within this iteration, their use is sometimes flawed. For example, there were times where I’d breach a doorway and would choose to use some sort of melee weapon to break the handle. It would usually take two or three swipes, with each one offering a metallic ring. That would’ve been fine if everything had been presented in seamless fashion, but there was a noticeable and off-putting delay that would push the first hit’s ring to the second hit and so on, making it so that the last effect wouldn’t occur until after the door had been broken into.
Going further, there were other audible issues. For one, certain explosions, shots and melee attacks would occur without a whimper. Additionally, the characters’ voice acting was recorded at a much lower volume than the effects, creating an unfortunate juxtaposition. Those unfortunate issues marred what should’ve been a high quality audio presentation.
These days, multiplayer is a major selling factor, especially when it comes to the first-person shooter genre. As a result, the majority of the industry’s most popular franchises now include at least one competitive mode. To some, that’s a great thing, though I believe that only certain types of games benefit from having online functionality where players can compete against each other. Not all gun-toting games should include it, though Medal of Honor: Warfighter and its war-centric peers are prime candidates.
As mentioned earlier in this review, EA Danger Close took the time to develop both the single player portion of this experience, as well as its multiplayer offering. That choice ended up affecting the game’s quality, because neither mode excels. The campaign is mediocre-at-best and won’t inspire gamers to return unless they’re achievement or trophy addicts who want to test their mettle against the unlockable hardcore and Tier-1 difficulties. Adding onto that, the multiplayer modes will surely become forgotten ghost towns in a short amount of time.
Disappointingly so, the included multiplayer options are easily the most dated of all of the on-disc content. Although a variety of modes – from team deathmatch to domination and objective based conflicts – are included, they don’t feel inspired. It also doesn’t help that the core gameplay feels like it was taken out of yesteryear, creating something that truly does feel like a first attempt.
What was a great opportunity for Electronic Arts’ previously beloved Medal of Honor franchise to regain its lost popularity has resulted in an uninspired and rather forgettable final product. There are some enjoyable moments to be found within its brief campaign, but its bland and dated multiplayer content won’t appeal to most folks. As a result, this is a game that is better served as a short rental or a bargain bin pick-up.
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