Game Guys review - Medal of Honor Warfighter

12:29 PM, Oct 30, 2012   |    comments
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  • Video game 'Medal of Honor: Warfighter" from developer Danger Close Games and publisher Electronic Arts.
  • Video game 'Medal of Honor: Warfighter" from developer Danger Close Games and publisher Electronic Arts.

Imagine this:  You are a Tier-One operative in the U.S. military taking part in a joint anti-Al Qaeda operation with the Philippian Army during a formidable typhoon.  Actually, you don't have to image it at all, as that operation is one of the events in Danger Close's militaristic FPS game Medal of Honor Warfighter inspired by real-life events.

Unlike some other militaristic shooters of the past few years, MoH Warfighter isn't filled with gun-wielding bro-mantics firing off catch-phrases as often as they do their weapons.  Instead, it follows a group of professional soldiers who are sent into an operation zone, do the job, and do it well.  This solder group includes familiar faces from 2010's Medal of Honor reboot including Preacher and Mother.

At its core, this game has a the simple premise of "Get the bad guy with the bomb", but rather than only focusing on the action, which can be rather intense at times, Warfighter goes a step further by offering players of its single-player campaign a glimpse at the toll war takes not only on the solders, but the families of those soldiers.  This becomes evident in the well-produced cut scenes that appear between missions, highlighting the strained relationship between Preacher, his fed-up wife, and loving daughter.  Danger Close did well to tie this sub-plot in with some of the real-life inspired events such a railway bombing in Madrid (inspired by the real-life Madrid train bombings of 2004).  Gamers 30 and older should find this kind of inspired storytelling appealing as it should harken memories of international incidents such as this, even if they were only experienced through the nightly news.

As for the actual gameplay, it's not the same that fans of Call of Duty and Battlefield would likely expect -- nor should it be.  In single-player mode, the player is a part of a squad and is following directions from AI-controlled soldiers just as often as he is taking point.  Firefights are intense, but don't come off as over-the-top -- something that is welcome in a video game climate that seems to encourage developers to make a game that looks more "epic" than the other guy's.  Missions are linear, but the single-player game was designed to tell a specific story and encourage a degree of real-life military professionalism.  Linearality is simply a fact of an organized and well-planned military unit.

Aside from the single player storyline, multiplayer shines -- not to imply that multiplayer doesn't unlock until the single-player has been completed.  Furthering Warfighter's focus on international tier-one operations, players choose a specialist from one of twelve nations (ie: U.S. Navy SEAL sniper or Swedish SOG assaulter) and go to "war".  Something new this time around compared to 2010's game is Warfighter's "fireteam" mechanic, which allows players to team-up in two player units.  Felled players can chose to either respawn back at the map's entry point or at the current position of his teammate -- assuming he's not currently under fire.  It's a nifty new mechanic that brings a new appeal to FPS multiplayer.  How long this appeal will last, however, is up for debate.

While enjoyable and intriguing both in single- and multi-player modes, there are a few negatives worth pointing out in regards to this title.  The most notorious of this is probably issues with its visuals.  While the cut scenes are stunning, in-mission cut scenes aren't quite so nice.  There are inconsistencies with the appearance of the tier-one operatives, with them at times looking like they come out of a game from four or five years ago; rather than one that just came out.  There are also issues with playback of in-mission CG sequences, with visual studdering being the main culprit.  While this video issue doesn't appear to affect gameplay, it does take a way a bit from Medal of Honor Warfighter's overall presentation.

A militaristic with a different focus and attitude from market leaders Battlefield and Call of Duty, Medal of Honor Warfighter is a game that should find its appeal with more mature gaming audiences, though not for its violent content.  Its different type of story telling and underlying tones show the game's characters as deeper than they might have otherwise been should Warfighter been a clone of its aforementioned competitors and Danger Close does so without compromising the action that makes up the backbone of a good modern first-person shooter.

Final Game Guys grade: A-

(EA provided a copy of this game for review.)


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