Tough in the trenches
You have to feel sorry for the team at Danger Close in a way. As current first person shooters go, there are three categories that they can fall into – Battlefield, Call of Duty or The Rest. Unfortunately, whether by unfortunate circumstances or bad decision making in bringing the game into the modern warfare era, Medal of Honor: Warfighter fits in category three. From the outset, they are already behind enemy lines looking for a way back to base. Even in their publisher’s eyes, they are probably playing second fiddle to the Battlefield series.
Differentiating itself from the other shooters was a major goal for the Medal of Honor: Warfighter developers. To manage this, they have based their single player story on actual events, rather than a fully fictitious storyline. Taking place in various locations around the world, the story involves a terrorist organisation that has obtained huge amounts of PETN, an explosive substance.
The story feels quite disjointed though, being told in two sections. The first being about Preacher and his attempt to spend more time with his family after being discharged. Of course, all his plans are thrown out the window when a dramatic explosion occurs in a Spanish subway right before his eyes. The other side of the storyline involves Stump, a recon marine turned Navy Seal. Stump’s story has a standard feel to it, whilst Preachers’ story is more touching, trying to pull at the heart strings with the introduction of the family element. But the way the story jumps from one location and one character to the next makes Warfighter feel like a series of mini games rather than a single storyline.
Scoping the area
The story is told beautifully in the cutscenes though. The graphics are by far the most impressive feature of the game. With the help of the same Frostbite 2 engine used to produce Battlefield 3, Warfighter is a visual delight. In fact, the two games have a similar look to them, despite the changes in scenery. The various locations in Warfighter are beautifully rendered with the gritty war-torn deserts of Somalia, the typhoon ravaged tropical paradise of the Philippines and the shanty streets of Pakistan. Locations are destructible too – bullet holes can gradually wear away cover and barrels can be used as explosives is shot.
The characters are well modelled too, both in-game and during the cut-scenes. These are particularly impressive, with some of the characters looking so lifelike, you could have mistaken them for full motion videos. Although in-game visuals aren’t quite as detailed, they are up to the very high standards of Battlefield 3. The slow motion sections when breaching a doorway really show the facial features of the terrorists as you take them down.
Hitting the targets... or not
Gameplay is pretty standard for a first person shooter, with all the typical key bindings for movement and weapon selection. Using the scope works a little differently than other shooters, as does the cover system and these can get a touch confusing in the middle of a fire fight. Once you’re used to it though, it works fine. Unfortunately, the other issue I had with Warfighter was a rather annoying one. Hit detection is a little awry.
The game is a visual treat. Home Run multiplayer mode is a nice feature.
Hit detection issues cause some frustration. Story is a little disjointed.