The recent Medal of Honor games have focused on one thing - authenticity, and Medal of Honor: Warfighter is no different. In a genre with heavyweight titles like Battlefield and Call of Duty, developers have to bring something special to the table to have a chance. Danger Close Studios has boldly approached this challenge in a way its competitors have ignored by focusing the game on the stories of actual elite, Tier 1 operatives from around the world, consulting several real life operatives to craft a realistic story of their lives.
The narrative picks up where Medal of Honor left off, following the protagonist ‘Preacher’ and a few fellow Tier 1 operatives. Warfighter’s predecessor, Medal of Honor, achieved a unique combination of action and realism in its campaign and this game promises more of the same. Warfighter is meant to highlight the human side of being a Tier 1 operative, as one of the campaign’s storylines involves Preacher’s family and how they cope with him being gone so often. The tale itself is co-written by one of the Tier one operative consultants, so that should enhance its believability. From rescuing hostages in Abu Sayyaf’s stronghold in the Philippines, to assaulting Al-Shabaab’s “pirate town” on the Somali Coast, Warfighter depicts actual events as they may have unfolded, (albeit with a bit more theatricality). The authenticity selling point may not appeal to all audiences, but the game promises to pique the interest of gamers looking for more character depth in their first-person shooters.
With a solid single player campaign but little else, Warfighter’s predecessor came to be one of the more disappointing releases of 2010. The campaign wasn’t bad, but was fairly short and quite buggy. The A.I. wasn’t great, but there were a few epic moments that made it worth playing. The multiplayer was pretty unrealistic for a game that touted its authenticity. Every game seems to create its own rules of realism, before players find the best way to manipulate them (aka exploit glitches) to succeed. In Medal of Honor the rules were far from real. Often times SMG’s were just as effective as assault rifles from 100 feet off and shotgun slugs could be too effectively employed as long-range weaponry. The spawn system was seemingly random, but still often led to spawn camping. The list goes on and on but essentially it was an unexceptional experience. Warfighter’s producers promise to have learned from player feedback and are prepared to offer a more complete experience.
Single and Multiplayer
Too often games have either a great, fulfilling single player story or an hour-stealing multiplayer experience, but not both. Medal of Honor: Warfighter definitely has the potential to do both but the emphasis does seem to be the single player campaign. The multiplayer allows gamers to play as 12 different Tier 1 units from a variety of different nations including the British SAS, Australian SASR, German KSK, and Polish GROM. With this, Warfighter wants to reach a broader international audience that may not be entirely America-centric. The multiplayer will be ‘blue vs. blue’ meaning, the Tier 1 operatives will face fellow soldiers of their countries’ most elite warriors, but that amounts to little more than a character skin swap. Too many games have made the mistake of trying to beat Call of Duty at its own game. Warfighter will need more than ethnic characters to create a truly unique multiplayer experience, but only time will tell if it succeeds in this endeavor or if it falls prey to the conformity of the prevailing first person shooter.
The game will be running on the new Frostbite 2 engine used in the latest Battlefield game, and it does not disappoint. The visuals and textures will be the latest and greatest the industry has to offer. The game will feature very realistic micro-destructible environments on par with other top shooters. One of Frostbite 2’s features is the inclusion of radiosity in the game’s lighting. Instead of light hitting a surface and diffusing and repeating the process again, radiosity more closely mimics real life as light filters through a room more fluidly. This creates a more authentic feeling of immersion. This refined physics is meant to give the player a deeper sense of realism.
With Call of Duty seemingly content to iterate, a fresh approach to actual modern warfare has the potential to sell millions of copies. If Warfighter lives up to its claims, it could breathe fresh air into a genre that has begun to stagnate.