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Medal of Honor: Warfighter review

With every critically acclaimed, best-selling AAA game, there’s always the inevitable spawn of “me-too” titles; games enthusiastic about the new ground set by these big titles that try and capitalize on doing more of the same. A most recent example was Inversion, a generic, cover-based shooter styled after Gears of War with half the charm and even less fun and creativity. Medal of Honor: Warfighter is the Inversion to Activision’s Call of Duty. While it doesn’t do very much wrong per se, the fact that Warfighter fails to add any real innovations, ideas, or improvements to the military shooter genre makes it a disappointment overall.

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Medal of Honor: Warfighter — Not broken, but not right

Warfigher is competent, to say the least. As a fairly standard-feeling FPS, it controls well enough to hop right into. Aiming and shooting feels responsive enough, and players will have no trouble making short work of generic, lookalike terrorist enemies. These enemies spawn frequently and obviously right in front of the player, often fanning out of a doorway waiting to be picked off. Crouching behind crates and half-walls barely proves effective thanks to most of them being a foot shorter than the player at a crouched stance, making every firefight a scramble for awkward, useless cover while the enemy takes cheap, accurate shots. When they’re not taking advantage of the poorly-designed cover, enemies are ignoring all intelligent AI systems by blindly charging forward to punch the player in the face. This generally makes the core gameplay of Warfighter feel inconsistent: moments of decent shootouts are bookended by sloppy AI and weird enemy placement, which lead to aggravating, unnecessary player deaths. It’s just not much fun to play, and becomes a chore towards the latter half, save for a couple of nicely-handled vehicular missions that attempt to break up the pace.

The game also embraces the slow-mo door breaching scenes made famous in Call of Duty, and gives you one every 10 minutes, making them not only pace-killers, but incredibly annoying after a few hours. Thankfully, the campaign isn’t very long at all, clocking in at a measly 6 hours.

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A story not worth fighting for

Warfighter attempts to tell a story of Preacher, a soldier after terrorists responsible for suicide bombings in Madrid. There’s lots of talk of military outfits, spec-ops, and CIA stuff, but it’s really a tale of America versus the bad guys –– and that’s fine. What gets in the way of the story is not the jingoistic “rah-rah” of American military spirit, but the attempt to add a human side to the story. Between many missions, players are shown an emotionless, soap opera-esqe attempt of depicting a failed marriage through pre-rendered cutscenes. It was an honest, noble attempt, but Preacher and his wife and daughter look, sound, and feel pretty lifeless, almost to the point of detracting from the main simplistic war story.

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 Multiplayer that just barely saves the day

Warfighter goes above and beyond its mediocre single player experience with an added multiplayer component that plays surprisingly well. EA demonstrates what it learned from Battlefield 3 and their Battlenet service through matchmaking and systems that work well in Warfighter. A decent amount of weapon/class customization and some fun game modes make for a simple, fun experience. Nothing is groundbreaking or new here, but Warfighter knows what people like and it does it right by enabling players to rank up and unlock goodies to further customize weapons. The sense of player reward really is there to save the day.

A respite from the campaign, Warfighter‘s multiplayer stands out because it’s just good, clean fun, where as the campaign is a trite and lifeless slog. Multiplayer is just fun enough to keep a player busy until the next big multiplayer game event, and that’s an accomplishment in and of itself. Unfortunately it won’t last too long, because it’s a hair less rewarding and customizable than most of the competition.

Warfighter will go down in the books as the textbook example of the stagnation of the military shooter genre. While the game looks and feels decent and has noble attempts at telling a “realistic military story,” the lack of any real fun factor or attempt to add or innovating in its genre leaves Warfighter feeling stale. Thankfully, there’s a surprisingly enjoyable multiplayer component that will keep players coming back for at least a little while, but it doesn’t save the game being an uninspired “Me too!”

  • Release Date: October 23, 2012
  • Genre: First-person shooter
  • Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
  • Developer: Danger Close Games
  • Publisher: EA
  • ESRB Rating: M
  • MSRP: $59.99

Our Score: 2.5/5

Review Statement: A PC copy was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.

About Jake Baldino

Grocery store manager by day, video game journalist by night. Jake spends his limited non-video game-time tweaking his iPhone and reading the occasional comic book. A proud New Yorker with a big mouth, you can find him talking games on The Nerd Word and the Pretty Much It show on YouTube.

Comments

  1. I diesagree with so many points here!

    MoH online multiplayer is utter garbage and not fun at all, with it’s slow mo kills and over the top rag doll shooting in the air death shots. It’s very messy to navigate around with a strange menu setup that most gamers don’t want, give them a menu system that’s easy to use right from go!

    The campaign is actually one of the plus things about this game, it’s graphically nice being on the FROSTBITE 2 engine is a bonus, which the online multiplayer seems to have been toned down some what compared to the campaign.

    It’s messy with plenty of bugs to annoy the hell out of you, enough so as to not want to put the disc in the machine again and go back to BF3 or Blops 2.

    Anyone that wants a pretty good campaign and story mode it’s worth it in my opinion and especially if you want to carry on the story from MoH 2010, but if it’s multiplayer your looking for then I suggest stick with BF3.

    DICE created this engine and know exactly how to use it to the maximum, with lighting effects, sound and most of all atmosphere.

  2. “Crouching behind crates and half-walls barely proves effective thanks to most of them being a foot shorter than the player at a crouched stance, making every firefight a scramble for awkward, useless cover…”
    You do know there’s a great leaning mechanic in the game, right? (Horizontal AND vertical.) In fact, it’s a huge cornerstone in regards to multiplayer gameplay, especially on hardcore.
    While at first the MP gameplay seems like CoD, it isn’t, and when you sit down and play for a while, you learn to be conservative, checking corners, ‘slicing the pie’ on corners – that is, making sure you’re aiming down your sights and rotating around the corner, leaning in and out of cover to take quick shots on the enemy, and working with your buddy to have a good class combination. Tactics will help you much more than the spray and pray of CoD. Stacking up and clearing rooms actually works, in MP!
    The difference is the pacing – CoD has much faster movement and reloads, etc. – in MoH you need deliberation.
    But honestly, this game is meant to be played on hardcore mode. Core is garbage.

  3. This game is mediocre at best. The game lobby sucks. You can’t do your weapon/soldier customizations between rounds, which is just awful. It sucks that both sides use the same characters. Many times you don’t even know who’s friend or foe, until they’re shooting you dead. I hated that very same issue with BF3. And the reload… oh my god. Ridiculously slow. You have to literally leave the map when switching out a mag, or any enemy within a half mile will take you out. And what’s up with the glowing outline? Not having to hold the button to aim may seem like a good idea, until you have to move quickly to avoid an incoming grenade. There are more problems, but I don’t have enough space. EA has a stinker here.

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