Medal of Honor: Warfighter unapologetically lumps itself into the ever growing “just another military inspired FPS” heap by inexplicably failing to build on the inherent if somewhat flawed promise of 2010’s franchise reboot. This isn’t a step backwards for Medal of Honor, but it isn’t a step forwards either. Warfighter does little to innovate and fails to distinguish or differentiate itself from the countless other military enhanced shooters that bulk out and bloat the market. MoH: Warfighter is the latest and arguably the most disappointing underwhelming addition to the scene.
In truth, you’ve played Warfighter at least a dozen times before. You’ll play through the single player campaign as two separate operatives, Preacher and Stumps, running, gunning, killing bad guys and driving fast vehicles around explosions. Now, while all of these things are supposedly fine in theory and are executed pretty well therein, what’s here is just so unashamedly predictable. You’ve seen and subscribed to these sequences a thousand times over at this stage. As such, Warfighter dosen’t really bring any new ideas to the fore and the ones that are in there are static, banal and unremarkably conventional. Chase sequences, patient sniper missions, remote-control drone operations, door breeching and “shoot everything in sight, run into the next open space and shoot everything in sight all over again” missions do nothing particularly new with Warfighter. It’s easy to see the influence of the other big shooters out there on the market, namely the expanded Call of Duty franchise, but while EA and Danger Close continue to bill Warfighter as a genuine alternative to CoD, there’s nothing here to justify this ambition.
Technically, Warfighter is a more than competent shooter. Its gunplay is enjoyable. Powered by DICE’s Frostbite 2.0, Warfighter feels robust and stout. It’s accessible and capable and the jump to Frostbite was a wise one. Visually it stacks up and glows but it’s the very definition of omnipresent “brown” military shooter. The colour schemes are bleak and samey. The driving missions are actually quite interesting and put an original spin on these often linear staged dramatic sequences. There are some neat ideas with these and they’re certainly on to something here, but unfortunately, these sequences are few and far between. The enemy AI is poor and broken, with enemies following the same humdrum patterns over and over again, thus making killing them pretty easier to kill than they probably should be. It’s just random fire fighter after random fire fight and the whole experience is weighed down and diluted by how predictable the enemy is.
You’ll really want to invest in Warfighter’s story, not least because Danger Close have saddled these contemporary Medal of Honor’s as distinctively real experiences, games that blur the lines between the life’s of real soldiers on the frontlines of contemporary battlefields and those soldiers that videogame developers seemingly pluck out of their heads every waking minute of every day. The problem with Warfighter is that it doesn’t really flesh out the story of its protagonists, thus not giving you anything to latch on to and invest in. The game isn’t stitched together properly, if at all. It’s randomly thrown together and any kind of heart, emotional intent or underlining story promise is unanimously undermined by how this fractured story is told. It’s a shame because Danger Close almost certainly has the right idea with this one. A game like this should not just be about the shooting sequences. You’ll get to the second main mission in the game, the first as Stump, and wonder just why you are where you are, who this Stump guy is and why you are killing the people you are killing. The game wants you to mull over and chew on the violence that defines war and conflict; so then why is the story such that you just walk through, kill the faceless terrorists that lie in wait behind the shadows, pile up the corpses and not really care about anything or anyone in the process? If you want an FPS with the kind of heart Warfighter attempts to create, go play Specs Ops: The Line. The heart is hard to find in Warfighter.
Thankfully, multiplayer is where Warfighter fairs much better, but again, what you’re getting here is something that you’ve already experienced countless times over, but with a few subtle variations. Players can choose between six classes in multiplay – sniper, point man, heavy gunner, spec ops, demolitions, and assaulter. Classes are distinguished by their class abilities and their support actions. Rather interestingly, once you have chosen your preferred class, you are immediately paired up with another player to form a collective two-man fireteam. As a fireteam, you’re encouraged to work together, with the ability to heal one another and share ammo and supplies. You can also respawn next to your partner, both of which can be as negative and it can be beneficial. The two-player fireteam idea is an interesting concept, but fails to progress or be expanded upon.
Multiplayer is bulked out by any number of familiar modes including Team Deathmatch, Sector Control, and Home Run (basically capture the flag). Home Run and the Counter-Strike inspired Combat Mission, represent Warfighter’s multiplayer at its best. Once you’ve abandoned the game’s single-player, multiplayer is where you’ll spend the rest of your time, as is often the case. The multiplayer certainly has more layers than the game’s single-player.
Warfighter is an uninspiring experience. While it’s certainly motivated by any number of positive and somewhat novel concepts, the execution falls flat. The negatives outweigh the positives, which is a shame, not least because the multiplayer is fun and the presentation in the visuals and audio, is excellent. However, these aren’t enough to save Warfighter for it’s own mediocrity. Medal of Honor needs to go back to the drawing board all over again.
TGL SCORE 5/10
Format: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Developer: Danger Close
Release Date: Out Now