Medal of Honor Warfighter Review

Developer: Danger Close / Publisher: Electronic Arts / Played On: PC / Price: $59.99 / ESRB: Mature [Blood, Intense Violence, Strong Language]

I enjoyed the Medal of Honor reboot more than I expected. Not for its multiplayer, but for its story. It wasn’t the absolute most cohesive narrative or the longest-lasting experience I’d played, but it had interesting, likeable characters and diverse missions with some pretty heart-pounding moments.

Now we’re faced with the game’s sequel in the form of Medal of Honor Warfighter, Danger Close’s second go-round with the Medal of Honor reboot. Unfortunately, the whole experience is scarred from it not knowing what it wants to be… except for, well, not very good.

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Story

The story in Medal of Honor Warfighter might singlehandedly be the most tragic feature in the game’s entire package. Not only because it’s confusing, muddled, and all over the place, but because it’s a complete departure from the “band of brothers” style story that struck me in the last game, and personally, I see that as a missed opportunity.

Where the last game was a genuine attempt at honoring military veterans and recreating modern missions normally confidential to everyone but black operations soldiers, Warfighter is more concerned with explosions, bullet-time breach-and-clear events, and acting on far-overused action-film clichés. It’s mainly a story about a man torn between his responsibilities as a father and a soldier – all explained through a handful of confusing, albeit visually stunning cut scenes that give you something to care about and nudge you through the campaign. It’s important to have that when every other thread of narrative is overlaid with yelling, explosions and predictable, nonsensical twists.

My biggest beef with the story was the feeling of not knowing where I was, what I was doing, or who the enemy was. Each mission essentially trickled down to “shoot the people with the beards before they shoot you, they’re the bad guys after all.” At least in the last Medal of Honor, you knew who you were shooting, the game reminded you of the Taliban with a persistent passion – Warfighter just assumes you have a working trigger finger.

As a whole, the story is far from cohesive, abundant in cliché, and anything but memorable. I think it says a lot that, by the end, I had no idea if I had won the battle or got the bad guy, or even did what I was supposed to do.

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Graphics & Sound

Medal of Honor Warfighter looks and sounds great, all thanks to the use of DICE’s impressive Frostbite 2 Engine that powered last year’s Battlefield 3. With the exception of a differing art direction and far smaller environments, the game is mechanically on-level with Battlefield 3. Character and environment animations are fluid and certainly realistic, guns are loud and have their own distinct feel, and you’ll still see as many light flares as a downtown dance club.

The pre-rendered cut scenes, as cliché and confusing as they might be, are visually stunning. And though some of the characters are substantially creepier in their attempt at realism than others, there’s no knocking how awesome the presentation could have been if the content on display wasn’t so puzzling.

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Gameplay

The actual gunplay of Warfighter isn’t inherently bad – it’s just not impressive or fun most of the time and errs on the side of monotony. From a presentation standpoint, yes – it’s got some huge, set-piece, action movie explosions and some beautiful locales, but all I felt like I was doing was being herded from country to country, shooting bearded dudes, kicking down a crap-ton of doors and chasing down a bad guy that has some Memento-esque connection to the overall story. There’s even points in nearly all cut scenes that have a speculation pin board with pictures and notes with arrows connecting them all in a “what does it all mean” plot setup. Unfortunately, none of the connections make sense.

Gameplay is a lot like Battlefield 3 – whether that’s inflexibility of the engine or lazy design I can’t say for sure. You’ll spend the entire six-hours-long campaign kicking down doors in a frantic search for some guy with a hard-to-pronounce name and playing through almost every typical “been done before” mission that are so common in modern military shooters. This includes a dedicated (and narratively unnecessary) sniping mission, a stealthy “take out all these dudes without getting caught” operation in the mud, and a “sit in a helicopter and tearing up a village that might have a terrorist in it” mission. And call me crazy but I don’t recall a single mission that didn’t begin, lead to, or end with a massive explosion.

There is a really intense chase-the-dude-through-town-while-stopping-to-fight-other-dudes mission that I did enjoy, even if I’ve done it a few dozen times before in other games. As a matter of fact, the in-game driving missions were pretty spectacular and offer a bit of variation when you’re not kicking down doors and running through scripted sequences. It’s too bad there’s only a handful of them. The experience in Warfighter might be easier to forgive had it had a cohesive focus and clear design strategy, but it doesn’t. It only succeeds in functionality and presentation.

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Multiplayer

Multiplayer in 2010’s Medal of Honor wasn’t all-that focused – and not much has changed with this game. It’s far better, I promise you that, much to the credit of Frostbite 2.0 – but I can’t imagine many FPS-inclined folks would prefer to play this multiplayer suite over others… not for long anyway.

From team deathmatch to domination-style territory protection to the arming and disarming of bombs, the experience of multiplayer is highly traditional, but with the additions of added perks like UAVs, helicopter call-ins, and load out customization.

Speaking of customization, it’s deep in multiplayer, allowing you to select from a variety of accessories, attachments and gun pieces that unlock as you level up. For those out there that find favor with the multiplayer suite on display here, there’s plenty to unlock across the game’s classes, which include assault, sniper, heavy gunner, point man, spec ops, and demolition specialists. Gun differences aside, each class is differentiated by its class ability – demolition specialists can defuse and arm bombs quicker, for instance. Whether the entertainment factor will last long enough to actually make it to the unlocking of the better guns will vary from player to player, but it certainly didn’t stick with me.

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All things considered, Warfighter has some pretty entertaining modes reminiscent of Conquest and Rush from Battlefield 3, in the form of Sector Control and Combat Mission. It’s just a shame that there’s no real incentive to play Warfighter’s modes over those of another game, since they’re essentially simplified versions of their counterparts. Aside from a nice coat of paint and overall smoother running-and-gunning experience, Warfighter feels like the same old song and dance. And in a world where almost everything has a multiplayer component fighting for your attention, it just doesn’t fair well.

Finally, there’s the inclusion of Battlelog, the stat-tracking, social network feature that first debuted in Battlefield 3. Much of the features have remained the same, allowing you to track your progress with soldiers, weapons, medals, and so forth. You can make parties to join up with your friends and join platoons as you did in BF3. Were multiplayer more engaging an inclusion, the respectable features here might be more enjoyed.

If you’re in it for the multiplayer, it’s certainly not terrible and could very well be worth your time, given you like multiplayer that’s just generally uninspired and not nearly as engrossing as similar games you could be spending your time with, some of which came out last year.

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Bottom Line

I’ve played worse games, but for its category, Medal of Honor Warfighter is a game that struggles to find its place, unlike… well, others in its category. It wants to be respectful of military veterans and present a realistic, gritty experience with a heart string-tugging story that’s layered with a thrilling secret operations plot – but it’s so fundamentally jumbled, thrown together, and confusing that I can’t begin to recommend it.

As for the multiplayer suite, it does a better job in design, functionality, and execution than the previous game but it’s simply a bit drab and uninspired. You could certainly get some quality hours out of Warfighter, as there’s plenty of levels to attain and weapons to unlock, but I can’t imagine why you’d want to pursue that route when there’s so many other higher quality shooters out there.

+ Beautiful visuals, animation and sound

- Confusing, incoherent story

- Functional, but uninspired multiplayer

5 / 10

  1. So why is this game deserving of a lower metacritic than something like fable the journey?

    Inversion scored higher than it.

    Most of these words to describe the game are postiive or at the very least “not negative”.

    “It’s just a shame that there’s no real incentive to play Warfighter’s modes over those of another game, since they’re essentially simplified versions of their counterparts. Aside from a nice coat of paint and overall smoother running-and-gunning experience, Warfighter feels like the same old song and dance. And in a world where almost everything has a multiplayer component fighting for your attention, it just doesn’t fair well.”

    Why is the industry rating the game compared to other games. Shouldn’t the game get a similar rating to those other games if it compares so well to them?

    You are punishing a game for other games. It should be the job of the reviewer to rate the game itself.

    • That’s part of what a review is. The whole point of a review is to help advise people on different opinions so that they themselves can weigh in on whether or not they feel the same and, more specifically, decide for themselves if said product is worth a purchase.

      And no — Warfighter should not receive a similar score to those other games because it’s not those games. As I pointed out (and you did as well), Warfighter is not as thematically or systematically polished as its competition… very much so in Campaign, slightly less in multiplayer.

      “It’s just a shame that there’s no real incentive to play Warfighter’s modes over those of another game, since they’re essentially simplified versions of their counterparts.”

      You’ll notice that games like Black Ops (specifically) have a very strong theme that they stick to, a very fine line by which they follow for their core gameplay mechanic. The core systems in Call of Duty do not change, in that you are spot on, but it’s a system that’s, as sales have shown, fun. Medal of Honor’s multiplayer did not start out with such a system — and Warfighter is, as I said, a prettier but still just the “same old song and dance.”

      If you enjoyed the game, then I’m more than happy for you. But as it stands, and as it’s always stood, reviews are opinions, and I did not enjoy Medal of Honor: Warfighter enough to recommend it higher than the opinion attached to the score it’s been given.

      I also recommend that you look beyond the score and into the text (which you partially did, to your credit), and not compare scores one-to-one and focus on that. It’s essentially an easy-to-look-to scale for getting a round test of an opinion.

      • Then comparing it to a game it IS similar to – the 2010 reboot.

        The 2010 reboot got a 7.5 – yet even in this review it is praised as much better than the 2010 reboot?

        Has anything drastically changed in the FPS genre since 2010 that would cause the scale to weigh differently?

        Because isn’t that the problem? Nothing is changing about the formula?

      • True, innovation is appreciated when done correctly and for the greater fun factor of the game (especially in a genre as, to me, tired as FPS), but no — the fact of the FPS genre not altering much is not the problem here.

        I think you should give this review an honest reread. But still, let me break this down.

        1) I did not review the original Medal of Honor. Therefor, I did not score it. I don’t understand why you’re drawing comparisons.

        2) Where in this review did I “praise” this game as being much better than MOH 2010? Does this go back to a comparison to the older review (which again, I did not compose)?

        Also of note — the hypothetical games you’re comparing Warfighter to (probably) have far better, less jumbled stories to tell. Trust me, I’m not saying there aren’t ones out there that don’t fumble, but Warfighter in particular is, for lack of a better word, a mess.

        And so you know, 5 is not the worst score in the book — there are 4 more numbers below it. Medal of Honor: Warfighter is far under mediocre, no matter how impressive it’s tech may be. If you’re going off impressive tech, then look to BF3, which has great multiplayer, in my opinion.

        In closing, would I recommend the 2010 Medal of Honor over this one? Not in all regards, no. For the story, absolutely — not because the first one was overly fantastic, but because Warfighter’s is so jumbled, convoluted, nonsensical, and cliche. For the multiplayer, I’d suggest Warfighter — as uninspired and non-unique as it is.

      • In all honesty 5 or 6 is what I expected from it. A good game, but very bland and mediocre.

        It always surprises me a game gets below a 8 or 9 and suddenly people think it is the worst game ever. Goes back to the normal rating system of people giving every game that comes out a 9 or 9.5 regardless if it shows anything really and truly close to being perfect.

    • I don’t think it is a punishment, but more of them dropping the ball. I loved the original MoH reboot campaign by Danger close. Didn’t like the MP all that much but then that game was done by two different studios. Yeah it has some bugs and all that but the story was there, exciting, and very memorable. The Newer Warfighter is, as the review said, very jumbled and trying to do to many things without really accomplishing any of it. I still own the first MoH reboot from 2010. Played it a number of times through and through. I have only played the new Warfighter once, and even then games like Borderlands 2 pulled me away. And the was being on my second playthrough on True Vault hunter mode. A game I had already played through pulled me away to play through it again on a harder setting then a new game with a very similar feel to the original one. And now with AC3 and ZOE out, plus Halo 4 next week I doubt I will be playing it again any time soon.

    • I completely agree.
      The shooter market has been punished because there is a lot of shooting games out compared to other genres.

  2. HELL you admit its better than the last one

    http://www.insidegamingdaily.com/2010/10/13/medal-of-honor-review/

    Yet it scores so much lower? I honestly see the industry making a solid game out to be the whipping horse of a tired genre. But when black ops does more of the same I assure you it will be gobbled up.

    • Not sure why the copy paste did that… the last line of that giant wall of text was all I attempted to copy.

      • The point this review generally made was that this game was unfocused and not very innovative. Don’t look to other games or other reviews to analyze newer ones. The 2010 MoH scored higher in the opinion of another reviewer and for different reasons. In MY opinion, Battlefield, CoD and MoH are all the exact same games. The difference in scores lies with how well the devs pull off their vision.

        Now, with that out of the way… HALO 4 TEABAGS THESE GAMES!!! TROLOLOLOLOLOLO!! >:D

      • I love you for that last part. And the first part as well. And some of that part in the middle.

  3. Good to see this fad finally drawing its last painful breaths. Now, for the love of games, someone pull the plug and end the poor bastard’s misery, before he spouts another George Washington quote.

  4. meh i think medal of honors campaign tramples on bf3 and mw series combined and yes the multiplayer is not as good as bf3s but still great imo

  5. This has nothing to do with the game but, Whatever happened to just having a nice multiplayer game? I’ll tell you why , people got bored and wanted an AWSOME experience so what did the Developers make? They wanted to improve their tactics. Probably every developer is just trying to hard now a days. Mostly the FPS games are mostly focused on just multiplayer because that’s what people want, Games like C.O.D, Battlefield, Medal of Honor, and Halo are mostly the same except the fact that each game has differences. Many people will complain but the truth is you can’t please everyone.

    • “…are mostly the same except the fact that each game has differences…”

      Okay, so by that logic: Star Wars and Star Trek are basically the same except for the fact that each one has differences. Do you see the contradiction in your statement?

  6. You give this a 5/10 while you gave MW3 a 8/10? If there’s any game that’s broken it’s MW3.

    • Well, if you don’t like this, think about that he’s rating bad, think about other FPS’es and think about other racing games. Medal Of Honor really is worse than for example Battlefield, COD and more others, meanwhile Need For Speed is probably the best arcade racing game.

  7. A big budget bad movie takes more beating than an small budget shit doesnt it same applies here and also inversion was’nt that bad comparing this game to duke nukem forever will do.

  8. Mw3 got 9.5 and it was not bad at all it had more s.p. And m.p content than most games and the game did’nt have any tech. Problem whatsover u guys just hate that game for the sake of hating.

  9. did you mean *fare well*?

  10. Look, I don’t know what all the hoopla is about. The game was pretty cool to play. Maybe not a 10/10, but definitely an 8 or 8.5. The story line was a bit confusing, but all the “trigger-time” made up for it. Graphics were phenomenal as was the weapons that were used throughout the game. I don’t know why this game got so many bad reviews. Its not fair to really compare it to MW3, they are, after all, 2 very different games. I still think the Medal of Honor games are top notch and in my opinion, was well worth the money spent. Rather than base your decision on whether to buy this game or not because of everyone else’s opinion is probably a bad idea. Get the game and try it for yourself, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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