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.
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.
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.
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.