While most of the Medal of Honor franchise focused on World War II, Medal of Honor (2010) rebooted the franchise and took it to the modern theater. Medal of Honor Warfighter is the second installment in the rebooted series, and like its predecessor focuses on the operations conducted by special operations forces, focusing on “tier 1″ level assets – the most secretive of SOF teams. Many comparisons can be made with the recent movie “ACT OF VALOR”. The game takes a very similar tone with a similar message in mind. With a market dominated by Call of Duty and Battlefield 3, the newest Medal of Honor strives to recapture a throne the series once held nearly a decade ago. Does it have what it takes? Is this game worth your attention? Let’s take a look.
The single player story of Medal of Honor Warfighter is one of duty, honor, and sacrifice. It is one that has a very real tale to tell far beyond the hunt for PETN. It has been said this game is about the story within a story. That story is about special men and women who form the world’s Tier 1 elements and Special Missions Units. It’s about what they give up and what they have to let go of in order to stop people intent on causing mass loss of life. Anyone who doesn’t understand that portion misses the whole point of the story.
The hunt for PETN really shows that the global war on terror isn’t just a battle fought in two or three countries but in many. This game takes the opportunity to show other wonderful Operators who put forth the same effort and make the same sacrifices that American SOF members do. Much like Act of Valor the operational side of the story shows the scope in operations that SOF operators are capable of.
While there is that subtle sub-plot going on, there are definitely some stand out moments for during the campaign. For anyone that has not yet completed the single-player portion, be advised, some of these things are SPOILERS. From the car chase through crowded streets and taking part in the recreation of the MAERSK Alabama stand-off to storming the beaches of Somalia with a goal of dispatching tier 1 style justice (which harkens back to the Normandy invasion of the very first title). The Battle in the city of Somalia reminds me of what it would have been like in the Battle of Mogadishu. This game is filled with moments that evoke an emotional response. The driving portion of the game was definitely a surprise but a welcome one. It succeeds in showing that operators do more than just emerge from the water in a swamp or air assault onto an objective. While more freedom of movement in and out of traffic would be welcome, both events taken as a whole are a great addition to the campaign.
In addition to the adrenaline-filled, fun moments there are some definite tough moments in the story that remind us about why we care about guys like Preacher, Mother, Dusty and Voodoo. Unlike a lot of critics reviewing this game who considered the characters flat, we have had brothers like this. People we served with every day at our side and led the way. That brotherhood is very well instrumented in the game. The operators just get each other. They are direct and to the point, operators don’t have time for BS and when things need to get done there isn’t a long speech to be made. Critics simply do not understand the Type A operator personality. Operators are men of few words. It is their ACTIONS that speak loudest.
“ Y’know what I think? Don’t really matter what I think. Once that first bullet goes past your head, politics and all that shit just goes right out the window.” – Hoot (Black Hawk Down 2001)
The missions were enjoyable, but always seem to be funneling you forward in a linear fashion. While this formula is a main stay of the FPS genre, we would like to see future Medal of Honor titles venture from this and take things up a notch. A great example was the original Ghost Recon which featured Army Special Forces Groups conducting a mission with unlimited ways to approach multiple objectives on large sandbox maps. This would work well with the Tier 1 formula and really give a chance for the player to think about what they need to do and where they need to go and how they are going to do it.
While other reviews call out the pacing of this game, it feels spot on. There is no “hand holding”, and while the length of the single-player portion is short, it’s no shorter than any major release with plenty of reasons to come back and hunt for achievements/trophies. It is not an overly stylized view of SOF shooters. This is what Tier 1 operators go through, it seems that games like Call of Duty have given this overly “bromanced” view of it. And we take issue with anyone using Call of Duty as the authority on what makes a good single-player game. Also, who do these critics think they are by calling the story “propaganda” or “insipid”? While it’s nice to be able to toss around big boy words, to know what they mean and how disrespectful the tone used is to the real men the story represents is something to consider before being so dismissive about this title.
Overall the campaign was fun and enjoyable and while it doesn’t venture very far from the traditional single player mechanics there are a few changes along the way that keep it fun and interesting, such as dynamic breaching options. In the future, as mentioned, it would be nice if the team could venture even farther off the beaten path of FPS titles.
First off, multiplayer cannot be experienced in the short time that critics have given it. It takes a good chunk of gameplay and fireteam time to really sink your teeth in. Right of the bat it was obvious you can’t play this game like its Call of Duty or even Battlefield for that matter. I think a lot of reviews bash the multiplayer because it’s not CoD or BF3 but then go on to complain that it’s too much like CoD. It’s disturbing to see such circular, asinine logic used to give what is supposed to be a “fair” review.
Let’s take a look at each element:
Danger Close has had their hands on the Frostbite engine for quite some time. From seeing how it has improved since E3 2012, the Alpha and Beta trials its quite impressive. Anyone who dismisses the amazing graphics or doesn’t recognize them at all must be unable to admit the Medal of Honor is a superior graphical powerhouse to most of the recent shooters out there. Danger Close has really been able to give Medal of Honor a unique look from its cousin. Particle effects and landscapes are detailed and fleshed out. Several levels really display the lighting with raging fires and burning embers rain from the sky. Micro destruction is still present. Though the game does not use destruction to the same degree as its Frostbite cousin but it is always a welcome touch. A Great point to make is that while the engine has changed all of the characters remain faithful in appearance to their 2010 counterparts. The engine also uses the same animation system as Battlefield 3 creating fluid and realistic player movement both in campaign and multiplier. Never before has the actions of an Operator been captured with such authenticity. Every thing just looks and feels like your part of a high speed low drag operation. The graphical update to the game is quite welcome and It really brings Medal of Honor to a new high standard of graphical fidelity. One additional note is that the Xbox 360 version should be played with the HD texture pack installed for the full experience.
Here is a quick glimpse of all the options that are available from the multiplayer menu. The menu system is simple to navigate and provides all the various server and game searching functions you would need. Everything from customization to stats is all there and easily accessed.
Play the campaigns first level and you will immediately notice every detail from rain drops to the impressive voice acting. The actors give great performances and reprise their roles from the first game.There is always something great about hearing Dusty’s voice when playing this game. The battle chatter is on point. Few games have been able to wonder away from the Hollywood style of military talk. The operators sound as believable as ever and that is a welcome change to the genre From the crackle of fire to the reports of distant weapons the game does not let down here. Suppressed weapons are a key example of how Danger Close took the time to capture authentic sound. Most games have a hard time figuring out how to make a suppressed weapon sound cool. Here the audio is captured faithfully giving a weapon a lower report but a sharp snap to each shot. Player movement can be heard and used to great effect in multiplayer. Several times these key audio cues saved my 4th point of contact from taking a dirt nap. On one of the multiplayer levels a radio plays music found from MOH 2010. Its all about the little things.
The controls for Medal of Honor are TIGHT. Everything feels fluid and natural and making it easy to pick up but hard to master. Weapon handling is right where it should be with smooth transitions and easy to access support actions. Its no surprise that it has quite a few similarities to Battlefield here. You can vault over low walls and obstacles allowing you to fly through the battlespace in one smooth motion. The ability for Your player can now SLIDE into the action. A useful feature to get behind cover or to a buddy in need of ammo. Below are some key gameplay mechanics that really caught our attention.
The weapons customization craze is one that has taken over most FPS titles. Medal of Honor takes this a step further by adding a much more personal touch. Most games have a weapon model suspended in air, or just picture in the menu showing what you have modified. Medal of Honor literally puts the weapon in your hand giving you plenty of close up and personal time to inspect every change. Every detail, Bolt, Logo, and fire selector are captured in such fidelity. Every Nation has its own weapon set and by unlocking those nations you get more kit to play with. By using specific weapons you can also unlock optics, grips, and barrels for your choosing. Some weapon modifications are cosmetic while others change the attributes of your weapon.
We would have liked to have seen every attachment have an effect on the weapon. Gun customization captures the feeling of personalizing your own assault rifle. It’s something many soldiers and firearms enthusiasts fully understand and can appreciate. ”MY GUN” is defiantly a win and it is sad to see most critics barely gave notice to it.
During E3 2012 Executive Producer for Medal of Honor Warfighter Greg Goodrich defended his project when it was attacked by Tom Mcshea of Gamespot. Greg Goodrich clearly depicted the mission of the game. That it would be authentic weapons, battle chatter, gear, locations and all the other little details that REALLY matter. Many critics simply will not appreciate the little things. In the military we are trained to pay attention to detail. We will pick apart any military game for all aspects of gear, weapons, and chatter. This game does it all and more. It’s nice to see a game that ACCURATELY portrays what a Tier 1 operator wears. Opscore helmets, LBT Plate carriers, Garmin GPS devices, Mechanix wear gloves(because not every operator wears the same gloves like other games do) even the Kaenon eye protection is paid a special amount of detail. Real weapons manufactures were brought on board to make sure the guns and optics were spot on. Companies like Magpul and Surefire had several real products featured in the game in working order. The Panoramic Night vision, known in Special Operations as Pano Nods, run $40,000 a set. The fact that they accurately captured how the Pano Nods work is a great plus. Head to toe down to the Merrill boots Danger Close got it right. The fact that most critics can’t appreciate that really takes away from their perspective of the game and the experience. Most games have “Special Operations” dressed up in gear you could find in your local surplus store. Those small details MATTER. Even breaching was done right. Given we wanted to see different types of doors we were happy with what we saw. Members of USASOC who have played the game are impressed with how solid the authenticity is. Sure its not a simulator but the game was never intended to be. Danger Close has succeeded in making a game that any veteran can pick a part all day and find little to no flaws in the authenticity department. Its all about the little things. Small victories gents, Small victories.
Sharing the intense and packed Battlelog site. Medal of Honor has a slew of ways to keep track of your progress. Kills, Wins, Accuracy are just a few. There are sections where you can see how many of the classes per nation you have unlocked. One new feature allows you to put Tokens toward a nation of your choice. This also impacts your in-game XP intake. The more tokens that you put towards your nation. The greater the multiplier for your online XP. Platoons once again return to unite fellow players. Everything can be launched from Battlelog so there is never a need to actually launch the game manually if you choose. The greatest part is that Battlelog remains free of charge and has improved vastly since its debut.
There is quite an amount of replayability for the multiplayer portion of the game. The single-player campaign is enjoyable but it does suffer from linear levels but that is something the FPS genre is at fault for. If Danger close had created more open ended levels the replay value for the campaign would be significantly higher.
It’s a game that draws you in and keeps you there. You’ll find yourself always trying new classes and new variations of the classes you play regularly. The team focused gameplay really makes it a blast for a group of friends, and the variety of game modes means things never get stale. With new DLC promised we shall see how much more will be added to the game in the coming months.
Shortly after the game came out it has been hit with the hardest criticism that we have seen for a major release. For the most part, these “reviews” are complete garbage. While being overly critical of Medal of Honor, these sites sing high praises of Call of Duty. While this, in itself, does not show their bias the logic they use does. We’ve seen a sickening trend in sites that praise CoD highly bashing MoH. The things they praise Call of Duty for doing they bash in Medal of Honor. In essence, there’s a double standard. Sites like IGN, Destructoid, GameSpot, and so on just clearly don’t get it. There is a lack of integrity there, and it shows. Honestly if a major review site garners a review of 5.0/10 or below for this game then it is a clear lack of professionalism.
However, not every site is so far gone down that path that reason has disappeared. One article we dug up points out this fatal flaw in the reviews industry and really takes these so called “professionals” to task. We agree entirely.
PCGMedia – “Medal of Honor Warfighter surpasses its predecessor in almost every way other than game-play, which is a shame. Instead of nurturing their 2010 child, EA have tried to appeal to those who didn’t like 2010′s reboot, rather than those who did.” (My final score was a 4/5 complementing multiplayer and the driving sequences in the campaign – it was overall positive.)
It was nice to see other sites who had a review that did point out the flaws but also pointed out the positives. The article is well worth a read, and is packed with some pretty solid logic.
If any of the major review sites would like to discuss the subject of their reviews we would be happy to host a discussion.
One of the first things good friend and Army Ranger about the new Medal of Honor is “this is what Call of Duty should have been” (a reference to the direction the Call of Duty series took since Call of Duty 4). The game manages to recapture the feel of completing a special operations mission without most of the Hollywood style directed action. With high levels of authenticity, a challenging while still fun multiplayer, and a singleplayer campaign with a message this game has met the standard.
Yes, the game has some flaws but many more things are done right and Danger Close deserves credit for all of those things. Over all the team has had a blast playing the game and we plan on playing it more. One of the biggest and most important things right now is that the community supports Medal of Honor as it is the last shooter of its kind. It has a message, one where the word Honor actually means something and where Duty isn’t just a title. Be vocal in your support. Call these overly critical, asinine reviews to task for their blinded comments.
After beating the game, a good friend of mine traded patches with me. You can guess which ones were probably his.
While reviewing this game I was able to put together some of my favorite moments of the game. A video version of this review will be added at a later date. Enjoy!
This review was a collaboration of effort by the authors and as a team of veteran military members ODG has a varied opinion on this title. We are working on another article which will highlight commentaries based on the other members who have/are playing Medal of Honor: Warfighter to focus on how this title has impacted them, the way they game and what it may or may not mean for the future of military FPS gaming. Stay tuned, there is a lot to take in.