It’s the Holiday rush in the game industry, and it seems everything is coming out at once. Call of Duty, Halo, Need for Speed, games in all of these generally loved franchises have recently released. And then there’s Medal of Honor Warfighter.
Upon booting up the campaign, I found myself sneaking around and taking out some enemies with a silenced weapon. I then set a explosive device on a truck which resulted in a huge explosion. After a quick cutscene and a tutorial (Yes, a tutorial after first “mission” that introduces most of the mechanics) I was finally onto the first real mission.
I was suddenly in the ocean only a few yards away from a beach. I quickly took out a few baddies and made my way to a nearby building. After ordering one of my men to violently attack a door, (read on for more on that) I am tasked with marking a building as a target for an airstrike. After attempting to select the laser-target-thing, nothing happened. And to my surprise I was no longer holding my weapon. After pressing every button I could, I decided to throw my one and only grenade. Luckily this reset whatever was broken and I could see my gun again. I decided to try selecting the laser-target-thing again and thankfully it worked.
Unfortunately that was only the beginning. I ended up having to “restart from checkpoint” a total of three times to complete that first mission. With issues ranging from falling through the floor to becoming frozen in time while breaching a door.
* Note: This was all with the most recent patch installed on a XBOX 360
I was able to play the rest of the campaign without encountering anymore glitches. However, Warfighter has bigger issues than these few hiccups.
The Campaign’s story is really trying. EA and developer Danger Close have been hyping this as a thoughtful and realistic look at the life of a man in uniform. Unless my ideas of what it is really like to be a soldier are incorrect, this game does not genuinely show that lifestyle at all. While the story does follow a soldier attempting to regain the trust of his estranged wife and daughter, it all feels very artificial; there is a annoying amount of flip-flopping on the protagonist’s part and all of the drama is sort of laughable. While it is understandable I didn’t feel terribly close to any of the characters over the short five hour campaign, I feel as if I should have at least liked some of them. It also doesn’t help that bulk of the story is told through terrifying “uncanny-valley” cutscenes.*shivers* Then again, there are lots of great games that tell awful stories. Unfortunately — from my experience — Warfighter isn’t one of them. The game attempts to give the fast-paced Call of Duty campaign, but is trying to deliver that while borrowing lots of it’s mechanics from DICE’s BattleField 3. Anyone who is familiar with BattleField and Call of Duty knows these games would would not work very well if their mechanics were swapped. Thankfully, there are two levels in particular that redeem the game slightly. Which brings me to the Vehicle Missions.
There are two missions in which players take control of a car. These are easily the best parts of the entire game. Never in any first person shooter has a driving segment felt so intense. In the first you are tasked with chasing down a terrorist, in the second you have to sneak around in a small village in a quasi-stealth mission. Danger Close apparently worked very closely with Criterion (the masterminds behind Burnout and Need for Speed) to craft these genuinely awesome levels. I enjoyed these missions so much, that I honestly wouldn’t mind if the next Medal of Honor was a driving game.
When the multiplayer was first shown off, I was quite intrigued. Unfortunately, it follows the campaign in being quite the letdown. The mechanics have a lot of potential, the unique “Buddy System” in particular is a really interesting idea. But in the end the whole thing is sort of ruined by poor level design, and the knowledge that there are games that do similar things while maintaining a higher quality.
At it’s best, Warfighter manages to be a mediocre FPS with two great driving missions. But with so many other great games out there, it takes more than “okay” to please the average gamer. I hate to compare games, but with Call of Duty on the left, and BattleField 3 on the right, it’s difficult to recommend that anyone get stuck in the middle with Medal of Honor Warfighter.