Posted on October 30, 2012 AT 02:33pm
I consider myself a fan of military shooters. I have had the pleasure of playing the majority of Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six, Call of Duty and Battlefield titles, Bad Company included, and while I am sure I am not the end-all and be-all expert in the genre, there is a basic formula. A video game should have a great story and if it has multiplayer, that multiplayer had better work. I know there are people out there that only want story or only want multiplayer but neglecting one for the other never works when you are asking people to drop $60 on a title.
Medal of Honor: Warfighter has one of the best stories I have had the pleasure of experiencing in a military-esque FPS game. From what I understand, like it’s predecessor that was released in 2010, this Medal of Honor was written with the assistance of Tier One military operatives. Some familiar faces return in Warfighter and detailed environments abound. Players will travel to Somalia, Bosnia, the Philippines and Pakistan, all recreated meticulously. For example, I was struck by how well constructed the city of Dubai was. They captured the wealth of Dubai and its inhabitants. Those small desert outposts where terror cells can be found looked as hastily built as one would assume they would be, hidden within rocks and caves. Players will notice that each chapter has a story line that is based on a real world event but I think one of the the items that hit me the hardest came in the form of four little words, listed at the bottom of one of the chapters, “inspired by actual events”. Sure the game was marketed as being based on something that had happened but to have a specific chapter that is singled out as that defining moment in the game, that moment when everything that is happening within the story truly happened, that brings a game to a whole new level.
It was nice to see some familiar faces from the previous Medal of Honor. Though I didn’t feel an emotional connection with the characters, it lent a sense of familiarity to the game that helped pique my interest in the story a little more. Adding in the glimpses of the personal life of the operatives Preacher and Mother really made me think about what it must be like for the families of these men and how much these men risk just to keep us all safe. If it makes you stop and really think about what you are playing, it’s a good story.
The campaign was not long. It clocked in at an average 7-9 hours. I gave it some leeway because I was playing it on Hard and it will probably be a little shorter on Normal or Easy. There is a high replay value if you like a challenge and want to hunt for those trophies/achievements. There are two more modes that unlock after you complete the campaign, Hardcore and Tier One. Hardcore is, well, hardcore. You must play through the campaign and not die…ever. This may sound simple but it isn’t. If you are one of the few that got the Brass Ball achievement on Bioshock, you know what I am talking about. You can’t die or else you get to start over and try again. Tier One is just as challenging but with a twist. You have to not die on this one as well, though if you do, you do not eliminate your chances of getting the achievement. You just get to start that level over. Each area has a “par time” and you must complete the level under that time limit to earn a ribbon. Certain kills like headshots will add time to the clock but there is very little ammo replenishment so choose your shots wisely. The difficulty is automatically set for Hard and there is no changing it.
Multiplayer is a mixed bag of good and bad. I have yet to come across a perfect multiplayer game and maybe some of the issues will be corrected in the future with a patch or two. The maps are excellent. I did not come across any I felt were too large nor too small. They are all complicated with many levels, pathways and buildings. I did not find a single area that I thought could be camped and held down. There are too many ways in and out of areas, camping isn’t easy. Each solider class has different countries to unlock and each country has a different load out. Within those load outs are more unlocks for camo, ammo magazines, scopes, and anything else you can think of. You will be able to really customize your character’s weapons. Strategy is the key here, as well as slowing down. This is not an arcade style shooter like Call of Duty, nor is totally simulation-style like the Battlefield. Medal of Honor attempts to take a little from both and combine them into a fun but challenging multiplayer. There are several game modes ranging from the standard Team Deathmatch to modes similar to capture the flag and domination. One of the best additions, the ability to choose the server you want to connect to. Yes, you get to choose your server. Believe me, it’s a blessing and more multiplayer games need to have this. Sorry but the rent-a-server option on Battlefield 3 does not count. Those are all custom games and you are at the mercy of the creator. These are servers run by EA. The game will keep track of your favorite servers and automatically connect you to them when you play. It is a rather awesome idea.
Another nice little feature is the ability to resupply and heal your squad mates. You do not have to run a special class to do this either. Just run up to them and hit the button when the indicator appears. This definitely enhances the idea of being a team. The gameplay itself is smooth and players have the option of spawning on a squad mate or “falling back” to a random spawn point. A welcomed option if you see your squad mate in the middle of a fire fight while you are waiting to re-spawn.
Even with all this good stuff, there are some annoying issues. The biggest one I found was an issue with team balances. Tossing a level 4 in with a room of level 50′s just creates frustration and anger. There should be a way for the servers to provide a mixed bag of ranks so that one or two people are not completely outgunned by everyone on both teams. Trust me, you will get one shot by a level 50′s tricked out gun while you are desperately “pew pew pewing” with your tiny starter gun. You will lose. Spawn points also need work. I found myself choosing to “fall back” to a spawn rather than spawning on my partner, who was fighting it out, only to find that I had spawned right in front of or next to an enemy. Of course, I died instantly. There really is very little that is more irritating than getting spawn killed.
Something else I noticed was an issue with hit markers. Now it could be due to bullet drop, frame rate sync issue, or maybe due to a small “hit window” but there were so many times that my gun would be trained on an enemy and I would not get a single hit marker, even at close range, but they would nail me with one shot. Sometimes I would die even though I would get 5-10 hit markers only to find the person I was shooting at still had 100% health. You’d think I would have at least reduced it a little. The melee option works quite well though and I am getting pretty good with that tomahawk. It’s very effective. I am not saying that mulitplayer isn’t fun, that it is broken, or that these small issues are a game killer. Multiplayer is fun and I had a good time playing, even with the frustrations and annoyances. I would recommend anyone playing for the first time to slow down. This is not a run-and-gun mulitplayer like Call of Duty and it is faster paced than Battlefield. You will have to adjust your playing style to get full enjoyment of the game.
As a well-rounded game, Medal of Honor scores. Even with its imperfections, Danger Close did an excellent of balancing a great story with fun multiplayer. If you love arcade style shooters, then this is not the game for you. You will not enjoy it. If you are a battle simulation lover, you probably won’t enjoy it either. However, if you are just a lover of games and want to try something a little different, want to take a break from the same old multiplayer, grab this one. It’s a nice departure from the average military shooter. Please, play the campaign though. You will really be missing out if you skip it but don’t expect an ending that is going to leave you feeling good. This is a game with a touch of reality and reality doesn’t end in “they all lived happily ever after…”
The Good: Excellent Campaign Story, Challenging, Great Details, Nice Change of Pace
The Bad: Minor Bugs in Multiplayer
The Ugly: N/A
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