Thursday, 15 November 2012

Review: Medal of Honor: Warfighter (PS3)

I was one of the few people who found some enjoyment in Medal of Honor 2010. My enjoyment was limited to the single player campaign as the multiplayer fell flat.

I got a chance to play Warfighter's multiplayer at E3 this year and I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, after E3 Warfighter was one of my most anticipated games this holiday season. Unfortunately, once I played the final version of the game, I was sorely disappointed.

Warfighter's story continues from the last game with the return of Preacher but this time around the game focuses more heavily on the family and work life balance of Special Forces soldiers. You see the characters struggling with their professional and family lives as their job sees them sent to various hot spots around the globe on short notice. It's nice to see a war game making an effort to show the sacrifices soldiers make, but unfortunately the execution of the campaign is poor at best. Many of the missions feel unconnected to the story and don't mesh very well. As a result a lot of the story ends up feeling confusing, disjointed and uninteresting.

The story revolves around US Special Forces discovering a new sophisticated explosive called PETN during a deployment in Pakistan. As your characters dig deeper they soon find that the explosive is being supplied and used by terrorists around the globe in Somalia, Yemen and Bosnia. The story is nothing new, but a lot of the game's missions are based on real Special Forces missions. Even the main villain in the game is modelled after Osama Bin Laden.

Warfighter attempts to do what Call of Duty has done so well with its series and creates a highly scripted linear experience. Unfortunately Warfighter fails at delivering a very unique or polished experience. The main problem with the campaign is that everything feels too familiar. You basically go from Point A to B shoot bad guys; rinse and repeat. Along the way you come across numerous bugs, some of which are game ending. And it wasn't out of the ordinary to see floating enemies or enemies stuck in a wall.

The friendly and enemy AI is also quite bad. Enemies run into the open or run to a spot where other friendlies have been shot and killed. Friendly AI is no better as your fellow soldiers couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. Your fellow soldiers randomly run in circles, run into the open and their presence merely provides an atmosphere of you fighting alongside competent teammates.

Warfighter does attempt to do a few new things in the single player campaign. You can borrow ammo from your fellow soldiers and you can breach rooms using a variety of techniques. You can choose to kick in the door, use a crowbar or use a shotgun to get past the lock. It's an interesting take on breaching, but in the end almost all breaches feel the same; you enter the room, you go into bullet time and kill the enemies in the room.

Multiplayer is the strongest suit of the game, but that's not saying a whole lot. The newest addition to the online play is the revised class system. Rather than choosing your character class, you can choose soldiers of different nationalities, each with their own weapons and unique abilities. The nationalities or classes include, but are not limited to, Canadian, American, British and Australian forces.

For example the Canadian Joint Task Force 2 soldier is a heavy machine gunner who can call in black hawk support while the Australian SAS is a light machine gunner who can call in mortar strikes and carry heavy armour rounds.

Another new addition to the multiplayer is the buddy system. Within your own team you work in smaller teams of two players. Your buddy is always highlighted in green. You can spawn and replenish your heath and ammo from your buddy. The buddy system felt fresh and worked reasonably well provided your buddy has a mic. The buddy system almost forces you to play more as a team than a lonewolf but aside from buddy system the rest of the online play feels pretty generic. Gameplay wise, you just don't feel the same level of gratification from shooting enemies as you feel in games like Call of Duty or Battlefield. It doesn't help that the online menus are a horrible mess to navigate and are downright confusing at times.

The visuals feel unbalanced. Some parts of the campaign look amazing, while others look downright bad. I played the PC demo back at E3 and it's obvious that the PC version is probably the best of the three versions. It's also disappointing that the environments are not destructible like in Battlefield. There's one single player mission in particular where the player controls a turret on a boat firing at all enemies only to see none of the environments show as much as a dent.

As I stated previously, I had high hopes for Warfighter. After playing the multiplayer at E3 last June (PC Version) I was cautiously optimistic that Danger Close had a winner on their hands; sadly I was mistaken.

- Sidd Masand

The Good:
- Missions are ripped from today's headlines
- Audio (gun sounds,, explosions and voice acting) sounds great
- Buddy system in online play is nice addition

The Bad:
- Single player campaign feels disjointed and confusing
- Terrible AI
- Buggy
- Visuals are unbalanced
- Chaotic online menus
- Online play feels generic for most part

Score: 4.5 / 10