Medal of Honor: Warfighter review for Xbox 360, PS3, PC

Platform: Xbox 360
Also On: PS3, PC
Publisher: EA
Developer: Danger Close
Medium: DVD-ROM
Players: 1-20
Online: Yes

War games come and go, but there are two major franchises that have their particular fan base who accept no substitute. One is that “Duty” series and the other is Medal of Honor, and both have existed for around the same amount of time, but it’s no secret who has reigned supreme when it comes to sheer fan base. The developers, while I’m certain want to sell the most, care just as much about the product they put out and do all they can to make the most authentic war FPS game possible. In Medal of Honor: Warfighter, Danger Close does a great job of emulating true to life storylines and situations, but some of the major moments of the game are better suited for an action flick than reliving a tragic war story. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it aims to draw more casual fans to their series, if albeit alienating veterans who want to relive similar stories.

Medal of Honor: Warfighter places you in the boots of today’s highly skilled and trained operatives and is written by U.S. Tier 1 Operators which is inspired by real world events. From rescuing hostages in Abu Sayyaf’s stronghold in Basilan, Philippines, to assaulting Al-Shabaab’s Pirate Town on the Somali Coast, each level is a unique and engaging experience. The single player campaign delivers on heart pounding, white knuckled, endearing, and intense moments that are not only true to life, but give the players a perspective on choices not yet seen in war games to date in many of the game’s areas of play. The main story line is centered around Preacher who has just returned from overseas deployment to find that his life and family are torn apart by all the time away from home, and he now is trying to salvage what is left of his marriage, and not only will continue to fight for his country, but his family as well.

Visually Warfighter is stunning, once you’ve loaded the complete HD Frostbite 2 texture pack of course, showing off brilliant lighting, wonderfully destructive environments, realistic player models, hit detection, and even wind. Not only does it look great, but there are no two levels that look alike, and considering you are visiting desert-like overseas areas, using techniques like hurricane winds, sand storms, and night skies that allow the moon to shimmy off the waves, all look impressively diverse which keeps the game from growing tired on the eyes. Sure there are slight frame rate hiccups, screen tearing on large landscapes when turning, and some oddball animations on deaths, but overall it all looks fantastic. The same holds true for multiplayer as each landscape is large and inviting, and the use of different nationalities and units keep things fresh online for hours on end.

The audio wows the ear drums with amazing sounding weapos, environmental effects such as wind, rustling, pedestrian chatter and explosions, all brought to you in glorious 7.1 surround sound that tingles the senses. The story is told and acted in cut scenes and pre-mission chatter in a moving, if yet convoluted, story line that really doesn’t tie all together until you’ve finished the game. While the sense of mystery is nice, you never really get a total backstory of Preacher and are left to assume than have the heartbreaking family struggled explained enough for you.

Gameplay in Medal of Honor: Warfigther is par for the course, as you never really are introduced to any new experiences, but that isn’t to say the game isn’t exciting, just not very innovative. Whether you are storming a beach to an enemy’s base, riding shotgun over landscapes in a helicopter, or sitting silently in a tower picking off enemy soldiers with precision sniper aim, you’ve seen it and you’ve done it before, but oddly enough it still appeals to the adrenaline junkie inside you. There are glimpses of greatness in levels in which you are racing to catch up with enemies, as they feel like a Need for Speed game, and they break up the monotony nicely. There are some tedious moments that take away from the overall experience; one is the fact you will breach doors like you’ve never breached before. Seriously, it seems like there are multiple breach door areas per level in which you kick open the door to a slowed down bullet time section to mow down the enemy on the other side. The first time you see this it’s cool, upon the 50th?not so much. The other part that is mind boggling is the fact you never have a sense of urgency as ammo is limitless as all you have to do is side up with one of your partners and hold down X and they refill you stash. This not only takes the fear of running out of ammo and possibly dying out of the equation, but the massive amounts of weapons that the enemy leaves behind are useless as you don’t have to horde for weapons and ammo. Having your sidearm with infinity ammo is one thing, but the fact that all you have to do is ask and like magic you weapon has a whole new clip is just silly.

As always, you have online play to keep the good times rolling once the single player campaign is finished, and Warfighter doesn’t disappoint. Using global warfighters allows gamers to pick and choose whose fighting style is best for them. Whether you are using the British SAS, Australian SASR, German KSK, Canadian JTF-2, and Polish GROM (just to name a few), each of them provide gamers with multiple ways to play instead of just shoot, dodge, and repeat. The multiplayer levels are huge and with the promise of additional maps coming soon and often, gamers will be pleased in the efforts made by Danger Close.

All in all, Medal of Honor: Warfighter is a nice surprise after last year’s let down of sorts, and it’s nice to see the direction that the studio is going for by blending realism that is inspired by true events but keeping game play mild enough that casual fans won’t feel too overwhelmed. While I still believe this series has more steps to climb to be the great franchise it use to be, the steps they have taken are duly noted and make me eager to play the next incarnation in the series.

Grade: B