Medal of Honor Warfighter Hands On
As part of a unique, physically demanding experience organised by EA Australia, I was fortunate to be involved in a memorable Medal of Honor Warfighter experience. I went hands on with the upcoming title, playing through a small segment of the single player campaign. My thoughts on the experience are below.
My hands on with the title began with a cutscene, and immediately I notice how realistic the character models are. They are detailed and well animated and they look good – the colours are vibrant, the contrasts are sharp, and from the small amount of dialogue and character interaction I saw, it appears the game is backed by a solid plot.
But lets face it – Medal of Honor is not played for its story cutscenes, so lets jump straight to the meat of the playthrough – the combat. For this hands on, your squad is dumped into the rain lashed Philippines, with Basilan the focus of the mission. Similar to the previous Medal of Honor, you are given an objective and your squad accompanies you through the level, providing you with orders and instructions, giving you hints if you become stuck, or providing helpful reminders of your objective if you take too long (or if you’re like me and pause to admire the scenery).
The flow of the level was simple – you make your way through various areas, clearing them of enemies as your squad finds itself in the middle of skirmishes, then you move to the next skirmish in the next area, pushing forward to your objective. These skirmishes are well done and require tactics – if you don’t plan well and utilise cover you will die – and enemies will attempt to out-manoeuvre and flank you. You’re able to utilise cover not just to stay clear of enemy fire, but you’re also able to shoot at cover your enemies use, providing you with the opportunity to nab a cheeky headshot when the wall your enemy was hiding behind is suddenly destroyed by your weapons fire.
The small graphical reprsentation showing successful headshots makes a re-appearance and it’s nice to see it back. Weapons have good kickback and feel and sound sufficiently ‘heavy’. You can take cover behind almost anything and the cover provided fits with the area you find yourself in. There’s no ‘obvious cover here for cover purposes’ moments, no weirdly placed objects whose sole existance is to provide cover. Everything fits in place and makes realistic sense for its inclusion and positioning.
The pop out firing mechanics also work well – spend too long looking for your target and you will be punished – enemies have surprisingly accurate aim. You’ll take damage if you stay out of cover too long without dealing with enemies, but this never becomes overly frustrating and if you plan your attacks well, you’ll continue to progress. If the worst happens and you are killed, a small menu will pop up, providing you with the option to retry the area on a lower difficulty. You can accept this or choose to continue at the same difficultly level, and regardless of which option you choose, it’s only a matter of moments before you’re returned to the action to try again.
The enemies I encountered were challenging and varied, and it’s nice to see they aren’t all clothed in exactly the same thing. They look different, they sound different, and they don’t simply behave like mindless clones. As mentioned earlier, you will need to approach larger scale skirmishes with tactics in mind, othewrise you’ll be reloading a lot. Similar to enemy AI, your squadmate AI is solid, and for the most part your squad behaves as you would expect them to. Having said that, I did experience moments when my squadmates ran directly into my crosshairs as I was firing, but these moments were rare and as a result it’s unlikely they will impact much on the experience.
Towards the end of the playthrough, I swapped the usual weapons for a chance to wield a mounted gun on a helicopter. Dealing death from above onto unsuspecting enemies below was both satisfying and enjoyable. The small red triangles which appeared over enemies heads were slightly off-putting at first, however they did highlight where I needed to be shooting, and given how much detail has been lavished on these environments within game, I appreciate the small highlight. Similar to the base weapons and combat in game, the mounted gun felt weighty and communicated that feeling of solid-ness you’d expect from a mightier weapon.
What came across most strongly during my hands on with Medal of Honor Warfighter was the attention to detail and focus on realism that is infused within every aspect of the game. EA and Danger Close Games have worked closely with real-life soldiers and military personnel during the development of the title. In doing so, they have produced a game which is realistic, true to life and in many cases reflects and chronicles real life skirmishes, battles and situations.
When you play through areas and levels in Medal of Honor Warfighter, you aren’t just walking through environments that a developer somewhere thought would look good in the game. The ‘wow’ moments you experience haven’t been chosen by a programmer because they’ll impress as set pieces. These events have happened to military units somewhere at some point, and their inclusion in the game isn’t to impress or excite (which isn’t to say they don’t do this). Rather, their inclusion highlights how closely EA and Danger Close Games have worked with real-life Tier One operatives to gain their insights and experiences and incorporate them in game. In a genre that seems to be rife with ‘one-upping’ – with companies looking for that next big jaw dropping moment to top their last jaw dropping moment – it’s refreshing to see that Medal of Honor Warfighter instead tries to temper this one-upmanship with realistic, actual scenarios.
My time with Medal of Honor Warfighter revealed a title which ticks all the boxes and does a great job at portraying realistic combat scenarios, with solid gunplay, game mechanics and dynamic AI. The game looks and plays smoothly and the focus on including real-life battle scenarios means the game offers more than just another war themed romp through varying locations. Enemy types and characters are varied and the control system works well. If you’ve played the most recent Medal of Honor game, the controls will feel familiar, but those new to the series will also benefit from its easy-going pick up and play control system. Medal of Honor Warfighter looks to offer a unique experience and if it isn’t already on your watch list – take another look. It should be.
Medal of Honor Warfighter releases on October 23 in North America, October 25 in Europe and Australia and October 26 in the UK. I would like to thank EA Australia for providing me with the opportunity to go hands on with the title.