The flashlights look pretty good.
As I went through my notes looking for something positive I'd written about Medal of Honor Warfighter, this line struck me. "The flashlights look pretty good."
You look pretty good. Whatever the light magic Electronic Arts passed on to its subsidiary studios, it's nifty and looks authentic. When a man points his flashlight at you, you'll often think, "Wow, this really looks like a guy with a flashlight!" before he is shot.
If only the rest of the game was measured.
The questionably named Medal of Honor Warfighter is a first-person military shooter developed by Danger Close and published by EA. The Medal of Honor franchise has become a blatant imitation of Activision's much-ballyhooed Call of Duty franchise in almost every way. You play the game from a first person perspective. They hold a machine gun and shoot bad guys, almost exclusively foreigners. That's about all that goes with it.
The video game industry continues a number of annoying trends, but none are more notable than the realistic military marksman's reign. Since the (pretty good) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2007, the world of the video game has seen shooter after shooter after shooter, all set in the modern era, devoted to skillfully recreating the latest machines for killing people. Given the earth-shattering financial success these types of games have achieved, casual watchers might be forgiven for the fact that all gamers prefer to look at the world through a reflex glance at the barrel of a gun. "Don't be a stupid young man," replied the old woman. "They are reflex sights all the way down!"
Medal of Honor Warfighter has the dubious distinction of being the ultimate brown military marksman of all time. It's so brazenly unremarkable, its storytelling so amateurish, its plot so red that it feels like a masterclass in mid-modern warfare. In other words, I've played the game for hours and the best thing I can say about it is that the flashlights look pretty good.
Well, that's not entirely true. There are exactly two things I liked about Warfighter's single player campaign. First, the fact that you can lean back. This makes it possible not only to take cover in a firefight, but also to use it. That's wonderful! As I crept through the repetitive shooting gallery that Warfighter calls "firefights", the fact that I could run to a corner and have a look became very important to me. I ran into the corner, leaned over, shot a few people, leaned back, and reloaded. And then sit back, shoot some people, sit back and reload. It wasn't exactly fun, but it was a welcome change from the disoriented "Call of Duty" rhythm of "completely out of cover, shooting, running back, reloading".
WHY: Medal of Honor Warfighter is sloppy, uninspired, unpolished, and unfair.
Medal of Honor Warfighter
developer: Close danger
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC (Rated)
Released: 23rd October
Type of game: Military first person shooter, allegedly based on the real-life exploits of a team of special forces of the army.
What i played: Finished the single player campaign in about six hours and played an hour or two in various multiplayer modes.
My two favorite things
- A stealth / driving mission in the middle of the game that is at least interesting.
- The flashlights don't look bad.
My two least favorite things
- The often comically darkened enemy AI.
- Some sections, far too easy to fail, force you to restart at a remote control point.
Back-of-box offers made to order
- "I like beards as much as the next one, but that's ridiculous."
-Kirk Hamilton, Kotaku.com
- "For a few Special Forces badasses these guys sure can't shoot. Maybe it's the beards somehow."
-Kirk Hamilton, Kotaku.com
- "There will be other ways to get into the Battlefield 4 Beta folks."
-Kirk Hamilton, Kotaku.com
Warfighter has some pretty good driving options too. Wait, drive? Yes, go! At some points in the game you will get behind the wheel of a vehicle and put the pedal on the medal (so to speak) and follow a prescribed route until a scripted event occurs. The two driving missions are well put together (the studio behind Need for Speed helped them make them), and while they don't go with the rest of the running and shooting, they're so much better engineered that I didn't I do not really care.
During one of these levels you are suddenly – and I don't make it up – put straight into an auto-stealth sequence and given a glowing minimap showing the lines of sight of the patrolling enemies. You will then have to escape from an enclosed neighborhood by hiding your car through the streets. It's cool! The part of your brain that is reserved for new experiences suddenly wakes up, stretches and blinks, "What day is today?"
Maybe Warfighter should have been a driving game. Medal of Honor: Wardriver.
It would have been better than the rest of what's on offer in Warfighter. The story is a collection of unconnected ideas that jump and have almost no narrative glue holding them together. It's not for a lack of trial and error – the game's writers made every attempt to weave together a vaguely emotional post-Clancy techno thriller, but by the time the final level was rolling around I literally had no idea where I was, what was going on or what was going on in fact who I controlled. Each character is a rugged white guy with either A) a beard or B) no beard. They have nicknames like "Stump" and "Voodoo" and "Tick" and there is no way to tell them apart. A man is wearing a hat, but he doesn't appear until the last level.
This may be a reality of the armed forces – at least during the HBO adaptation of Generation Kill, I spent the first four episodes trying not to tell all young whites with short hair apart. While it may be realistic, it's not good writing – there's a reason why war movies use clichés like The Rap-Loving Black Guy and The Big-Talking Texan by default. There's a reason Call of Duty & # 39; s Gaz and Captain Price wear distinctive accessories. In the heat of the moment, you have to write in large letters for the players to read anything at all.
Anyway, the story. I wouldn't make that much of the story, but EA has marketed the story and its authenticity to a grueling degree, and that story requires scrutiny. Here it is: there are some people. And they have some weapons. And you play like some other people who seem to be gathering a lot of information, considering they are not CIA agents. Or maybe they work with the CIA? Anyway, she / you have to stop the guns. So you visit the usual first person shooter locations and shoot a lot of guys. You will shoot guys in a desert, you will shoot guys on a boat. You will shoot guys in a castle and you will shoot guys in a cave. Oh the places where you're going to shoot boys!
Missions usually end abruptly – you'll think, "Okay, now we can fight our way out!" Just to cut the game forward / backward / sideways in time for a briefing after / before the mission. The story deals with an absurd amount of time leap; Everything is a flashback within a flashback within a flashback, with no pauses in the exhibition to let the audience know what has already happened, what we have played / seen, has not happened yet and what is happening now. It's a structural disaster.
Players are regularly confronted with strange insights into the private life of one of the characters, a soldier who, like the others, has no name. We meet his wife and daughter, whose characters and behaviors take up part of the eerie valley somewhere between "why is it staring at me" and "there are many copies". At one point the camera zoomed in slowly on the tightly drawn, hideous face of the little girl, and I half expected her to ask me to play with her forever and ever. The cutscenes are also related and freeze a lot. And most of them cannot be skipped.
Back to the action. It's just not engaging. Artificial intelligence is certainly artificial, but it doesn't feel intelligent. Your teammates will stupidly shoot against one wall while enemy soldiers crouch on the other side and stupidly shoot the same wall on the other side. Check out the video here to get a feel for what I'm talking about. Often times, enemies will run straight at you without trying to take cover or use tactics. With so many games out there offering smart, nimble opponents, it is increasingly inexcusable for a modern video game to pit gamblers against the insane terrorists involved.
Let's talk about closing the door. It's the strangest thing about how much Warfighter loves closing doors. (Door opener for the uninitiated: When you and your team kick a door, throw a lightning grenade in and jump in, and shoot all the guys in the room.) You'll close more doors in Medal of Honor than any other single other first-person shooter combined.
There's even a progression-based mini-game that involves closing the door. Every time you close a door, you have the chance to shoot the men on the other side in the head. If you shoot enough men in the head, you'll unlock new ways to close future doors. (Saying it out loud makes you realize how scary it is.) The weirdest thing about all of this is that the different unlockable locking methods (crowbar, tomahawk (?), Button bomb) are all slower and less effective than the simple option "Kick in the door" you begin with. Strange.
At least the multiplayer isn't as bad as the single player. It is much better indeed; far safer and fully functional. But it still doesn't feel particularly robust and certainly doesn't bring any special ideas to the table. Warfighter's multiplayer mode is for the most part exactly what you'd expect – teams of players who battle it out against the flag, the king of the hill, and deathmatch through slightly modified settings across a variety of game modes.
Maybe Warfighter should have been a driving game. Medal of Honor: Wardriver.
The best new idea in multiplayer is the Fireteam. Every time you start a game you will be paired with another player on a two-man Fireteam. If you go down and your teammate is still up, you can reappear next to him or her. It's surprising how quickly the Fireteams evoke feelings of trust and camaraderie even in complete strangers. When you can rely on one person, things feel more focused and trustworthy than a whole team. (You will have a team too.)
However, the rest of the multiplayer suite is just another first-person shooter multiplayer suite. None of the levels are particularly balanced or entertaining, and in the maps I've played, the "routes" didn't feel good – maybe because I haven't learned the maps yet, but I was often at a loss for a place to I could regroup myself and get a feel for things. Multiplayer is flawed too – I've seen my share of pop-in and clipping craziness, and there have been reports of gamers running into bugs that disable chat and rob them of experience. Even with the stuff patched, Warfighter's multiplayer doesn't feel nearly robust enough to compete with Black Ops II, Halo 4, or even EA's own Battlefield 3. The shooting feels thin and the action a little baseless. The pinch is just not right.
Modern first person shooters are designed for long multiplayer games. Players are actively encouraged to invest a lot of time to unlock the best pieces of equipment, classes, and weapons. Warfighter doesn't feel he deserves that level of dedication due to my limited time. Even so, EA delivered our review copy on the launch day (two days ago), so I'll be spending more time with multiplayer for the next week. I very much doubt anything I'll see will change my mind about the game, but if it does, I'll update this review.
Somehow, in their misguided effort to create a Call of Duty killer, EA decided to fully embrace the realism. "This is the ticket!" said the man in the boardroom, calling a sniper rifle manufacturer to work out a sponsorship deal: "Realism! Call of Duty is so silly, with its Michael Bay antics and James Bondian storylines. We'll set ourselves apart by being authentic. " ! "
And yet, Warfighter's commitment to authenticity is ultimately the biggest downside. These soldiers can spit believable jargon; You can call enemy troops "skinnies" and hurl all kinds of smooth-sounding military shortcuts with ease. But they never make it feel like humans. It's plastic army men fighting in a ridiculous video game world. Authenticity is more than real places and precisely modeled weapons. In order to feel authentic, creation must feel human on some level. With all of the jingoistic, on some level well-intentioned roar of the Medal of Honor, it feels as lifeless as an abandoned ride through an amusement park.
If you've played a military marksman in the past five years, you've already done everything you do in Medal of Honor Warfighter and done better. The game embodies the thoughtless, dreary military shooter so much that it often falls into an accidental self-parody. It's lackluster in almost every way. But hey, at least the flashlights look pretty good.
Republished with permission. Kirk Hamilton is an editor at Kotaku.