Adrian gets in the thick of war and reviews Medal of Honor: Warfighter on the PC.
This review is speaking exclusively about the PC version of the game. It is also available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 but this review will not be speaking for those versions.)
I’m going to drop the pretense here and go for it: EA really dropped the ball with this release. And from what I’ve heard and experienced it’s primarily the PC version of this release, with the other platforms having their smattering of issues as well.
What issues? Technical ones, mostly. You know, ones that should be patted down by launch, and not ones that still, even after a day-one patch, haven’t been taken care of.
Bugs such as spawning out of/under the map during a multiplayer game, spawning without a weapon, having a grenade kill you from opposite ends of the map and just out-of-the-blue crashing are just a taste of the multiplayer bugs that awaited me playing this title.
Single player seemed to be a little bit more stable, with the only major bug I ran into being that spawning from a particular checkpoint caused me to not be able to use my weapon. What did this mean? I essentially had to restart that entire mission from scratch.
No player should have to go through this many hoops to play a videogame.
I’m not a programmer, much less a videogame programmer, so I can’t speak to how difficult some of these bugs can be to quash, but why is it so many other first-person shooter titles can seem to have these things under control at launch?
This next comment is just conjecture; but after playing this game with both a mouse and keyboard and a gamepad, the game seemed to be much smoother and hitch-up less when played with a controller. Again, it’s just an idea and by no means tested and tried, but running it past a few colleagues who also tried this it seems like it did do the trick
Moving our focus for a moment, the game’s story seems to be fairly solid for what one comes to expect from a modern day first-person military shooter title. You have your balls-out crazy missions, your obligatory stealth-mission, and, of course, we can’t forget the middle-east setting (amongst a scattering of other locations) with terrorists spreading, well…terror.
The game splits the cut scenes between ones that deal with the mission at hand and the rest dealing with the lives of the soldiers’ families and dealing with the conflict at hand. At the end of the day it seemed like a cheap way to add some kind of what felt like a “soap drama” effect. At the end of the day I didn’t end up caring for the characters or their individual predicaments in the slightest, though I commend Danger Close for delving in to the subject of the actual soldiers and the behind-the-conflict lives they lead, something which many games fail to follow.
Overall the single-player portion of the game is cool for the five to seven hours it lasts (perhaps more if you play on a harder difficulty setting), but I did not find it that appealing, and while the environments changed here and there and kept things interesting in that regard, the whole package feels a little sloppy.
Medal of Honor: Warfighter uses DICE’s Frontbite 2.0 engine. This engine is impressive, but not without its issues (which we saw when last year’s EA FPS, Battlefield 3, released). It is a malleable engine, however, and even when the entire confined of an FPS are thrown out in missions such as the “Hot Pursuit” mission, which throws you in a car and makes you chase your target in a wonderfully scripted setpiece, the engine holds up extremely well.
There are new mechanics that you wouldn’t expect from a first-person shooter, like the cover mechanic, which allows you to safely couch behind cover and pop-out to take shots. It takes a little getting used to, but it’s fantastically executed and works surprisingly well.
Also, there’s a breach mechanic which allows you to line up behind a door, choose a type of breach (with ranges from a simple bang-the-door-down-and-shoot breach to opening the door with a tomahawk or a shotgun). More types unlock with the more headshots you pull off when inside a breach. It’s cool, and a good way to break up the flow of the game, but because all these breaches are nothing more than cosmetic, it really doesn’t matter how you choose to break down a door and shoot terrorists in the face.
Visually, the game looks absolutely glorious on a PC at even medium settings, so those mid-range PCs can still benefit from playing this game on this platform. At higher settings, Medal of Honor: Warfighter looks absolutely spectacular.
If you’re on Windows 8, sit tight, as there are still compatibility issues. I managed to find work-arounds for most of them (like PunkBuster fixes for the new platform), but single-player still hitched up on Microsoft’s latest platform. It looks like it’ll likely be patched in at some point in the future.
For the record, I reviewed this game mostly on a Windows 7 partition to ensure the game was played as it is currently intended. It is possible to play it on Windows 8, just know that you’ll have to do some digging and figure out how to make stuff work if for some reason it doesn’t on your machine.
Guns sound as they should, though most weapons sound the same (unlike Battlefield 3’s glorious range of weapon sounds) and they feel nice, with enough kick to make you feel like you’re not shooting a pea-shooter, but not too much that you’re struggling to keep your target in sight.
Multiplayer surely has potential, with a wide range of classes to play as from around the world, including Australia, Poland, the UK, the US, and heaps more, but with the amount of bugs I found myself getting tired and bored of it super quick. More so than if that boredom grew organically. It grew because I would get tired of being constantly kicked-out because PunkBuster decided to (and yes, even manual updating and installing didn’t fix the problem), or because the game just decided to crash to the desktop for no reason.
The range of unlocks and weapons is impressive, and if the game gets patched-up and in working order I’m sure it’ll be much more fun to play. The times when I did manage to get a smooth game going, it was a blast.
Unlike Battlefield 3, you have the option to launch the game from the client as opposed to being forced to run the game from Battlelog, though you can also opt to do that. Personally, I’d recommend going through Battlelog as the server browser within the game’s client leaves a lot to be desired in terms of filtering and ping-sorting.
Overall, Medal of Honor: Warfigher is a military first-person shooter with a lot of potential and little focus. What it does with mechanics like cover and breaching is okay, but it really doesn’t matter when you’ve got a lackluster campaign. The multiplayer shows a lot of promise, but until a lot of the issues are fixed up it’ll likely not be a great place to spend time online.
The gameplay is standard first-person shooter-ish, with some interesting mechanics added to the mix. It works.
Music and Sound
The guns sound pretty similar, but they sound good. The soundtrack's alright but there's nothing memorable here.
The story's pretty shallow but it delves into some interesting corners.
Medal of Honor: Warfighter looks absolutely fantastic on PC even on the middle range of settings.
There is a TON of potential in Medal of Honor: Warfighter's multiplayer. Sadly, there are many improvements and patches to be made before it's where it should be.
Other than the multiplayer, there is very little incentive to go back through this game. The single player is not memorable and not something you'll feel compelled to come back to.
Medal of Honor: Warfighter is a game that had a lot of promise, especially having come through previews feeling pretty good about it. Sadly, it does look like EA rushed this product
out the door to get it out before the big shooter rush of the year happens. With such outstanding issues with this game, I'd definitely hold off on buying (at least on PC) until these
problems get patched.
Medal of Honor: Warfighter was reviewed on the PC version of the game, provided by Electronic Arts Australia.