Real life linearity will get you killed...
Written by Super User
Published Friday, 23 November 2012 19:00
The cinematic portrayal of soldiers crossing the globe to thwart acts of terrorism is what Medal of Honor: Warfighter illustrates throughout each mission. The military sequences depicted in the game have a feeling of validity as US Navy Seals offered their consultation throughout the development process. Warfighter possesses a visual design that will warrant our thanks, but the lack of an immersive experience, linear gameplay, and sufferable artificial intelligence might hamper its overall lasting impression.
The story alternates between two playable characters, Tier 1 operative Preacher and US Navy Seal Stump, as they pursue a terrorist group with hopes to prevent their plots of creating global chaos. The plot is definitely confusing at first, jumping back and forth between the two characters, which include flashbacks. It also displays the emotional toll that a soldier’s life has on their family. Familiar faces from the previous installment accompany you during missions, providing questionable support during enemy encounters and your own personal hardware store upon breaching the countless doors that await you.
“Familiar faces from the previous installment accompany you during missions, providing questionable support during enemy encounters and your own personal hardware store upon breaching the countless doors that await you.”
Utilizing the Frostbite 2 engine, Danger Close set out to deliver environments that would offer a realistic gameplay experience while incorporating in-game destruction. The visual design is impressive: well detailed and textured areas create thrilling environments for you to journey through. The dark militaristic atmosphere is brought to life with the color palette, lighting, weather effects, and sound design. The constant gunfire, explosions, shouting, and ambient noises all come together perfectly. Although, some sound related bugs did occur relating to weapons producing no sound upon being fired. One aspect of gameplay that immediately warrants attention is the rain, smoke, and debris that continually fills your screen, impacting visibility, but also creating a more realistic atmosphere.
While environments help create an immersive experience, the unbalanced destruction does little to provide assistance. Many objects provide little to no cover due to the capability of enemy bullet penetration. However, firing at enemies behind cover will, at times, offer a different experience. It is often difficult to penetrate a bench that an enemy is cowering behind, making you wait for his predictable decision to peek his head out. This can be frustrating as you can easily demolish wooden skids that are randomly littered throughout the maps. The diverse landscapes also offer numerous objects scattered about. You are able to fire at, and destroy, certain small objects like glass bottles, but some items, like a tea-pot that is situated off the main path, will not register any impact upon being fired at. The same can also be said about windows. There seems to be a lack of sense in what’s destructible and what is not.
There is a variety of gameplay that you encounter during the single-player campaign: controlling a bot loaded with heavy firepower, manning a minigun in a Blackhawk helicopter, and speeding across water in a boat. However, the most enjoyable feature is getting behind the wheel and chasing your enemies through busy streets while dodging traffic. You encounter busy markets where you can’t help but destroy their tables, umbrellas, and even their livestock. The amount of detail that went into these sequences was impressive. Rain, dirt, and other debris hit the windshield, forcing the wipers into motion to improve visibility. The second driving sequence is much more unique and exciting. It includes evading enemy vehicles on the road as well as hiding in certain areas to avoid detection. However, it did feel a little too long, weaving in and out of traffic, avoiding the endless waves of enemy vehicles. Thankfully, the gas tank was filled prior to the mission.
The major issue with Medal of Honor: Warfighter is the loss of an immersive gameplay experience. Not only does the gamer have no control over any choices throughout the campaign, but certain scripted events are forced upon you, illustrating that the developers are in control, not the gamer. Warfighter takes the weapon out of your hands, both literally and figuratively. Some examples of this occur when you are automatically issued a sniper rifle to dispatch enemy soldiers and its subsequent disappearance upon killing them, or being kicked off of a mounted machine gun on the back of a truck upon completing an objective, and automatically switching to and from night vision in certain areas. Not being able to use night vision at your own will is disappointing, especially since a majority of the game takes place during the night hours, and it can sometimes be difficult to spot enemies as they tend to blend in with the environments. The best example occurs when you stumble upon large groups of enemies situated behind fortified positions that warrant a strategic advance. Before you can strategize a plan together, a scripted event occurs such as the arrival of attack helicopters that dispatch all foes with miniguns and rockets, or you will be forced to mark the enemy location for bombardment. You are also unable to enjoy the satisfaction of flanking an enemy position due to only having a single route to follow. The linear path that is laid out before you is created by closing all other routes with debris, deserted vehicles, bushes, and impregnable doors.
Combat offers little in terms of difficulty, mainly due to poor enemy artificial intelligence. Enemy soldiers are precisely positioned along your path to each objective. Their limited movement pertains to their initial arrival behind cover, where they maintain a predictable bob-and-weave pattern of firing and taking cover. Their oblivious nature is best represented upon breaching doors. You can fire an unlimited amount of ammunition at the door before breaching and they still have their backs turned, admiring the building’s design. The lack of AI can also be attributed to your squad members. They constantly interfere with your line of sight, and you’ll even hit them several times during combat. They offer little assistance during engagements other than identifying enemy positions. Having your allies replenish your ammunition is welcoming at first, but it will quickly make you realize that you essentially have unlimited ammo, including grenades, throughout the entire campaign. Not only does it make the gameplay easier, but it also reduces the need to explore the few weapons available during missions. However, the ability to resupply ammo works very well in multiplayer when you are paired together with a comrade to engage enemy fortified positions or defend your objective.
Speaking of multiplayer, it does provide an enjoyable gameplay experience. You have a few game modes at your disposal: team deathmatch, sector control, home run, combat mission, and hot spot. Home run is similar to capture the flag, while sector control resembles domination gameplay. Combat mission and hotspot has you attacking or defending certain locations, which are the most enjoyable modes of the lot. The implementation of a buddy system creates a more strategic and exciting online experience when playing with a friend. You can also utilize the peak and lean feature during online play to defend your objectives more efficiently. A plethora of customizable features are also available, but it can take some time to unlock. The dreaded spawn camping is a definite problem within multiplayer. You can call in a Blackhawk helicopter to use as a spawn point, which was captivating at first, but it instantly attracts all enemy soldiers making it impossible to survive upon touching ground. The online features will keep you occupied for an extended period of time.
Medal of Honor: Warfighter’s strong visual design and online gameplay are its most impressive features. That being said, gamers have little to immerse themselves with in the single-player campaign. The only choice you have is if you want to be escorted down a narrow path, through many breached doors, until finally arriving at your final objective. The little time developers have to create a truly new and innovative gameplay experience is an issue that many gamers are beginning to question. Cookie cutter templates are continuously used to meet deadlines, which regurgitates the same old material, but with a shinier outer casing. Linear gameplay was something of the past. Gamers now want the ability to choose all aspects of their adventure: which path to take, which weapon to use, and whether or not they want to kill certain villainous enemies. Take the extra time needed, listen to what the gaming communities like and dislike, and then hit the drawing board. The result will be an innovative, immersive, gameplay adventure that critics will be unable to part with, even if only for a moment.
Release date : 2012-10-23
Publisher : Electronic Arts
Developer : Danger Close
Gameplay : Shooter
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