Medal of Honor: Warfighter is the latest EA shooter to enter the over populated trenches of FPS territory. After last years Battlefield 3, Medal of Honor Warfighter has a lot to live up to when it comes to being EA's next Frostbite shooter offering. It also has to live with the yearly pressure of standing up to the Call of Duty franchise, which is a battle you're guaranteed to lose every time.
With that amount of pressure you would expect developer Danger Close to innovate on the tired expectations of an FPS, with Warfighter it's clear to see they haven't even tried. The opening sequence is very promising, providing you with short-term thrills as you dodge ship containers falling on top of each other. Once you get past that first rush however it becomes obvious how generic this experience you've bought into will be.
After witnessing the horrible cut-scene that follows comprised of a pathetic Hollywood inspired story, it was hard to keep my fingers hovered over my "W-A-S-D" keys as I felt the strong urge to hit the "Esc" key and retreat to my desktop. Filler; that's the first word that came to mind to sum up what I was playing. Medal of Honor: Warfighter is clearly EA's filler game for 2012 as they allow Dice to focus on the game we really want to see.
I was hoping at least the narrative in Warfighter would offer some worth, but even that seems like a copy and paste of damned near every FPS plot we've witnessed in the past eight years. There's also a huge disconnect between the story that plays out and the actual gameplay sequences.
Usually in this genre the game can be saved from poor story devices by having engaging gameplay dynamics. Thankfully I can say that parts of Warfighter can be very fun and engaging, but it's also let down by poor A.I. Enemies will slow down as you chase them, and stand idle out of cover long enough for you to lace them with a head shot.
Another nitpick is that maps can be hard to navigate due to overkill on debris obstructions. I get that it's a requirement to put the player into a realistic war environment, but it's jarring trying to proceed after action sequences when you're consistently forced to twist and turn around obstacles. We're not expecting a maze simulator.
Visually Medal of Honor lives up to expectations. You can imagine the amount of pressure on this games graphical performance after last year's EA shooter, and it holds up pretty well in the campaign mode. Once you enter the multiplayer though you'll notice a significant dip in graphics.
This dip in graphics would be fully understandable if it made the multiplayer run smoother, however Warfighters multiplayer is the worst part of the experience. Menus are confusing, the party system is complicated and the matchmaking can be extremely infuriating if you're trying to play in a short space of time. The overall connectivity of the game seems poor, and the matchmaking is the worst I've seen in a PC game.
When you actually manage to get into a stable game, some fun can be had if you're playing with friends. But I recommend using a third party voice chat, as Warfighter's built in VOIP is low quality and often cuts cuts you and your friends off from hearing one another. There's an intriguing amount of unlocks to explore, and the ability to switch load outs based on country is pretty neat. There's also the fireteam system which is similar to Battlefield 3's squad system. The only difference is that Fireteams are limited to two people. Once you're paired up with somebody on a fireteam you're able to give ammo and health supplies to each other. Being able to give your buddy a quicker spawn time by avenging his/her death is also a neat touch.
Hit detection becomes a huge issue in the multiplayer, as you'll often find your well placed shots barely making a difference. I'm aware that most of the people who complain about hit detection in shooters are actually piss poor gamers looking for an excuse, but Medal of Honor genuinely has a problem. Bugs and glitches also plague the experience, limiting the amount of fun you can actually get out of the game.
Ultimately Medal of Honor Warfighter makes me feel two things. #1 It makes me feel a strong desire to exit the game and load up Battlefield 3. #2 It makes me wonder what Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 will be like. A Medal of Honor game should not be making me think of other FPS games while I'm playing, it's a testament to how generic and unoriginal the experience is from beginning to end.
This review was based on a retail download copy of the game for the PC provided by EA.