Medal of Honor: Warfighter - PS3 Review
|25/10/2012||EA Games||EA Games||Danger Close||1||2-20|
With Activision's Call of Duty and EA's Battlefield franchises dominating the FPS market with millions of copies sold with each release it's a very tough market to crack and make an impression, but it's also a crowded marketplace with several other franchises vying for gamers hard earned at the tills. One such franchise is EA's Medal of Honor a franchise that started in 1999 with Steven Spielberg's assistance. Now in its 14th release Medal of Honor: Warfighter is the second game since EA rebooted the franchise with the 2010 game simply titled Medal of Honor. So has developer Danger Close pushed the series forward to catch those forerunners?
|Using Frostbite 2, MOH: Warfighter looks superb.|
MOH: Warfighter is a direct sequel to the previous game which has taken inspiration from real soldiers, real places and real operations. From rescuing hostages in Abu Sayyaf’s stronghold in the Philippines to assaulting Al-Shabaab's "Pirate Town" on the Somali Coast. In an rather interesting twist the game blends intense action sequence with a personal story of what impact this has on the soldiers, and their families, back in America.
As a First Person Shooter Medal of Honor: Warfighter pretty much plays by the numbers. Controls are responsive, there are multiple weapons on offer, and missions take place in a variety of locations including cities to jungles while the two main playable characters - Stump and Preacher - the latter of whom will be familiar to fans of the franchise.
When it comes to ticking all the boxes this game manages it all with straight out FPS sections, a sniper section, a stealth section, a car driving section (albeit with a rather stupid Hide & Seek segment), on-rails shooting sections, and breach sections. That last aspect, the breaching, is actually a new aspect to this franchise and sees you picking a method to breaching a room - be it by kicking the door in, using a crowbar, or blasting the handle off with a shotgun. After tossing in a Flash bang, you storm the room where everything slows down so you can pick off the enemies.
|Using the choppers for a lift...|
This game, though, doesn't really push the FPS genre forward at all and with a campaign that lasts only 5 hours or so doesn't have a lot of longevity or value. While we didn't mind the storyline which sees you jumping around from one location to another to save the world, and the home life side-story adds a little thought to the game, the in-game mechanics are all functional, and the game covers several game styles, but there's nothing here that makes you sit up and go "wow, that was new, that was cool!". Even the key "set piece" moments often feel underwhelming. The game also seems, at times, seems to suffer enemy respawn moments (where they'll just keep coming until you move forwards) while your squadmate AI is pretty terrible, and they do little to pick off enemies - it's pretty much left up to you.
Continuing the issues, on a couple of occasions we'd picked up an enemy weapon, but when the game switched to a cut-scene, the character had magically regained his original weapon from start of the mission, and when the mission continued post cut-scene, he retained that original weapon. We've noticed plenty of other smaller glitches too from friendly soldiers passing through walls, weapons floating in the air, and even a complete game lock-up (which isn't so small, but who knows, could have been my system). While not a flaw, the game includes a Peak and Lean mechanic which works well, but it would have been nice to see EA include use to the Dual Shock 3's motion sensing - tilting the control could have been a nice option - although admittedly it's a fine balance between working well, and failing to work smoothly.
|Battlefields in MOH Warfighter are frantic.|
While the single player campaign disappointed, the multiplayer really picked up the title, and in fact, if you're an online FPS gamer, this game is worth checking out for this aspect alone with thousands (perhaps tens of thousands) of people populating the servers across the globe. Developed by Danger Close (the previous MOH had its multiplayer developed by DICE), multiplayer allows you to select from 12 different Tier 1 forces from 10 different countries with 72 different weapons available. These include the SASR from Australia (Huzzah!), JTF2 from Canada, KSK from Germany, FSK/HJK from Norway, GROM from Poland, Gruppa Alfa from Russia, UDT/SEALs from South Korea, SOG (SSG/SIG) from Sweden, SAS from the United Kingdom and SEALs, SDOD-D and OGA (CIA SAD/SOG) from the United States.
While the, admittedly well designed, eight maps in the game are somewhat limiting (there will be more via DLC), the game modes are certainly fun and include Sector Control (a Domination styled game where you need to hold the checkpoints), Team Deathmatch (where two teams battle to rack up the most kills), Real Ops (which is like a Hardcore mode with many functions such as HUD being turned off etc), Hotspot (where five bomb sites are set and you must attack or defend the location), and Combat Mission (which sees attackers trying to clear five locations from defenders). These modes are very entertaining and most importantly the online code is very robust resulting in a very slick experience.
|Visuals, and lighting, in MOH impress.|
It's possible to select from six classes of soldier (Special Ops, Assault, Demolitions, Sniper, Heavy Gunner, and Point Man) each of which can be customised once certain levels have been achieved. Multiple items can be changed on your weapons from the muzzle, to the sight, to the paint job and the clip among others each of which can affect the weapons performance. Unfortunately while the customisation is impressive, it's nowhere near the level found in DICE's Battlefield or Activision's Call of Duty franchise.
One aspect of playing online that did annoy me is that for much of the detail on your performance you need to sign in to the Battlelog website (http://battlelog.medalofhonor.com/mohw/nations). Here you can set options, check out stats including awards and efficiency with each weapon, look at unlocked soldiers, spend tokens to improve National Rankings (not sure if they do anything else really) and much more. Unfortunately, unless we're having a bit of a mental moment, you can't see much of this from within the game on PS3. A little more integration into the PS3 game would be appreciated.
One aspect of this game that rarely fails to impress are the visuals which, thanks to the game using DICE's Frostbite 2 engine (which powered Battlefield 3), this really is a visually stunning game - for the most part. With a wide range of locations from deserts to urban environments to jungles this game always appear fresh, and fortunately the frame rates hold pretty solid while the characters are all superbly detailed, and motion-capture animated. The game doesn't include as much destruction as the Frostbite 2 engine allows which disappoints, but the explosions, lighting and smoke, are superb.
|Cruising through a battle on a boat.|
We did, however, notice some glitches during the game including some clipping errors with bodies falling through walls, and even friendly soldiers passing through solid objects on the battlefield. We also found a few areas of the game to be a little darker than we expected, but a quick change of the brightness setting remedied that (albeit by making the brighter sections too bright). Perhaps more annoying is the fact that, at times, the textures are horribly low in resolution until the game manages to load the full resolution from disc. It's only a fraction of a second at times, but can be jarring.
Sound design in MOH: Warfighter is nothing short of spectacular either with solid dialogue, but most importantly atmospheric music from Ramin Djawadi with Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda also contributing to a couple of tracks as well. Naturally in an action title like this it's the effects that have the biggest impact, and each of the weapons sound unique, explosions have plenty of impact and the surround sound channels drag you into the battle - and also assist in pinpointing enemies.
|Now that's one massive explosion.|
While not a total disaster Electronic Arts really need to take a look at this series and compared it to the opposition - which includes their own Battlefield franchise which is developed by DICE. Despite the nice distraction of some driving sections, this game really is quite "by the numbers" as they say. A short campaign disappoints, and only the solid multiplayer saves Medal of Honor: Warfighter from being a complete disappointment. As it is, if you play online then this is worth a look, but ultimately this falls well short of what we expect from a major FPS in 2012.
Review By: Dave Warner
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|GRAPHICS||One of the strongest points to this game are the visuals which, despite some glitches, rarely fail to impress.||84%|
|SOUND||Fantastic sound design from start to finish, with great surround sound.||87%|
|GAMEPLAY||Played a FPS in the last decade? If so, you know what to expect. It brings nothing new to the genre although it's still fun in multiplayer - hence the much higher score for that aspect of the game.||52% (sp)|
|VALUE||A 5 hour campaign, limited (compared to COD or Battlefield) multiplayer saves the game somewhat but at $100 in Australia it's overpriced.||55%|
|OVERALL||Medal of Honor: Warfighter isn't a horrible game, far from it, but given the license, the potential, the Frostbite 2 engine and clout (read: company) behind the game it could, and should, have been so much more. One really only for online gamers.||75%|