Medal of Honor – Warfighter

When it comes to gaming, there are a few genres I swear by, and a few that I wouldn’t touch if you paid me to.  Medal of Honor – Warfighter manages to touch a bit of them all without actually doing anything as of yet that makes me feel it was worth the effort required to install it on my PC.

The Medal of Honor series has been around for years, providing your typical war-based FPS experience.  Recently, like its main competition Call of Duty, they’ve branched out of World War II and into modern battles.  Their previous title of this series reboot – Medal of Honor – received many complaints which IMHO didn’t make any difference to me because the game was fun.  The biggest complaint was that the game was on rails.  Basically, the game had a script and you were tied to it.  Just about every FPS out there has a script to move the game along (not the plot, not the dialogue, but a sequence of events and a route through the map that brings you from a start point, through a battle, to the end of the mission), but the best ones enforce this script without you realizing it.

I didn’t mind the script in MoH, it was there, but it helped move things along.  The script in Warfighter is so set in stone you’d think the developer slowly walked down from the top of mount Sinai with grand stone tablets in hand.  This script gets in your way, incessantly.  There’s no chance to deviate, or room to explore alternate tactics.  While you have the ability to walk, run, crouch, jump or crawl – depending on the script, regardless of what you see your squad mates doing, you will only do what the script wants you to do.  Run to catch up with your squadmates?  No, not until you clear the area that you just saw them run through.  Want to knife that bad guy from behind?  Not if the game tells you to shoot him.  Want to shoot him?  Not if the game tells you to knife him.

Probably my biggest complaint about the first MoH was that your squad has an amazing ability to jump into your line of fire, while you’re firing, and then bitch at you for it.  The same thing happens in Warfighter, although so far it hasn’t gotten to the point where I’m mocking the AI for doing more to protect my targets than take the bastards out.

Another bit of ridiculousness involves the lack of balance when it comes to providing a ‘gritty, based on real events’ experience, but setting up situations where you’d likely get shot through the door.  Most games like this, when you breach a room you either kick it open and toss a flashbang, or blow the door open – afterwards you get some bullet-time where you can take advantage of the surprise and pick off a handful of unsuspecting bad guys.  In Warfighter, when you need to breach, a menu pops up and lets you select the method… kick, axe, crowbar, shotgun, etc…  If you kick, a good kick opens the door. Any of the other methods appear to involve smashing the doorknob 2 or more times until it falls out and THEN you kick the door.  Something tells me that if you’ve got a room full of armed gunmen, and they start to hear the doorknob getting smashed by a crowbar, they’re going to begin shooting before the door is even opened.

They follow this up with a sniper mission where you actually have to factor in the glide-path of the bullet to eliminate several RPG toting enemies about 175 to 200 meters away.  It’s a nice feature unless you are the type who prefers zooming in and picking them off.  It’s something they actually do fairly well, but with so much of the game being ‘point, click, dead’ it didn’t really fit.  They even give you a spotter who doesn’t do anything beyond letting your know there are ‘bad guys over there.’

Vehicle chases aren’t anything new in the genre, snowmobiles, quads, Warfighter ups the anti by having you chase quite possibly the best handling Land Rover ever manufactured.  It’s a tall SUV, you’re in a small sedan, yet it cuts through traffic with the greatest of ease as your ride constantly slams into everything like you’re driving on butter.

The graphics are spectacular, and the CG in the cutscenes are equally impressive.  My now 3 year old Intel i7 gaming laptop handles it well even with many of the settings maxed out.  Eye candy abounds… yet I really can’t find myself all that impressed by the game.  On one hand it tries to be Modern Warfare, on another it tries to be Arma 2.  A game I love, and a game I hate.  I can’t stand squad based shooters, nor do I enjoy all out warfare simulators like Arma 2, in the process of trying to incorporate aspects from both – MoH leaves me wondering what the point is.

You get spectacular environments, but you can’t veer off the scripted path – if you manage to, you fail.  You get a decent array of weaponry, but reloads take FOREVER, as does switching to melee halfway through a reload to eliminate one of the random AI enemies that magically appears right in front of you.  Weapon accuracy is also dictated by the script.  Sniper rifles require that you factor in the effects of distance on the shot you take, while sniping from a scoped M4 is generally dead on balls accurate…until you try to shoot someone when the game wants you to call in an airstrike.  I had the target dialed in, but watched as the bullets veered off in random directions every time I fired.  I managed to land a shot close enough that the AI was able to get a bead on me with non-scoped AK47’s and kill me with minimal effort.

The game is OK, but doesn’t warrant the price, and IMHO they didn’t learn much from the last MoH game, making it worse.

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