I?ve got to be honest here, and there?s no easy way to do this so I?ll just be blunt. I?m not excited about Medal of Honor: Warfighter. At all. And I can?t see any reason why anyone should be excited about the game, either.
It?s not because I want to hate it. In fact, I?m rooting for Danger Close to deliver a satisfying, action-packed war game here. The studio?s 2010 Medal of Honor
debut, a dismal effort to keep up with the Jones? (Call of Duty
and EA?s own Battlefield
), should have afforded it the experience to learn what went wrong and provide an experience in Warfighter
that could really engage players.
And although I can?t speak for gameplay mechanics just yet - I was presented with an extensive hands-off demonstration - aesthetically there is absolutely nothing here that appears distinctive in the slightest. The action taking place on screen could have happened in any game, and unlike Call of Duty
I saw no signature elements in design or presentation that screamed, ?I am Medal of Honor
and I am different!?
This is a shame in many ways - not least because the story itself sounds like a quantum leap ahead of the Afghanistan-based premise in the last Medal of Honor
. I?m told that the plot is a collaborative effort, written by active U.S. Tier 1 Operators whilst on deployment and focusing on global terrorist activity. Missions are inspired by real-world events that you may have read in the newspaper or seen on TV, and are all threaded together by a worldwide narrative.
The demonstration showcased one of these international events: a rescue operation set in a disaster-stricken Basilan, Phillipines. The country has been hit with a typhoon and the streets are getting flooded fast - but amidst the chaos, local terrorist Abu Sayyaf has taken position in a stronghold and captured hostages in the process.
So begins a stage that puts the player inside a rather tall flooded building. Squadmates leap from cover to cover, taking out hostiles as they go, while the player tries to scale the heights of the stronghold. A lot of curious vertical-based firefighting takes place here, as enemies look down from balconies and cover access to stairs. At one point, your character get blown back by an explosion - someone?s gone and set the building on fire to hold off your advances. Naturally, it doesn?t work for long.
There?s some nice effects from DICE?s Frostbite 2 engine - the lighting of the room is impressive, and wooden pillars can be easily ripped apart by enemy fire to keep you on your toes - but it?s nothing I haven?t seen before. Even the pacing of the level itself follows a formula that doesn?t make me believe that Medal of Honor: Warfighter
is its own entity.
One interesting gameplay mechanic was presented, in the form of a door breach system. When the squad reached the top of the building, a menu appeared which allowed the player to choose exactly how they want to tackle the situation on the other side of the door. Apparently, various outcomes will occur depending on what you tell your soldiers to do and how to approach things.
After a slow-motion hostage rescue, the stage switches from an on-foot operation to the now-obligatory vehicle segment. This time, your squad hops on some gun-mounted hovercraft and blast their way to the rendezvous point. The city around them is getting drowned, and buildings are collapsing into the water around you. After taking out bad guys dotted around rooftops, the boats were attached to helicopters and whisked away for a job well done.
While it?s all very nice, it?s also incredibly underwhelming in its predictability. Medal of Honor: Warfighter
sounds like a noble effort in terms of story, and has a great deal of authenticity going for it thanks to the involvement of many Tier 1 Operatives, but I?m really hoping Danger Close is teasing us and just showed the basics here, because I can see history repeating itself for the Medal of Honor
There?s still some time left before its October 2012 release though. Fingers crossed.