Last year EA went toe to toe with Activison when they released Battlefield 3 to go up against Modern Warfare 3. This year its round two of the Modern FPS battle as EA and development studio Danger Close prepare to release Medal of Honor Warfighter. While the first current-gen MOH received some mixed reviews when it came out in 2010, I personally liked it and preferred it over Black Ops, which released that same year. At the GameStop Expo this week, I had the chance to try out the multiplayer section of the game and see if anything has changed or improved over the last two years.
First off, Warfighter is being completely developed by Danger Close this time around. For those who don’t remember, development of the first MOH was split between two studios. Danger Close handled the story campaign while Battlefield developer DICE handled the online multiplayer aspects of the game. For Warfighter, Danger Close will handle both parts of the game and will be using the Frostbite 2.0 engine, also used for Battlefield 3 last year.
The demo that was being shown off was a domination match in what seems to be a shipping compound of some sorts. In the previous MOH there were the US military and the OpFor (opposing force) that players could play as. In Warfighter, we had a choice from one of several countries each with a specific class. The countries that I was able to recognize were the US, UK, Germany, Canada, Australia and South Korea. The classes that were attached to the countries were snipers for South Korea, heavy gunner for Germany, assault for US, demolitions for the UK and recon/support for Canada. I ask if the classes were locked in for each country and I was told no, as while playing and leveling up in multiplayer, players will able to unlock the other classes for each country, allowing for character customization.
After getting that explained, we were then split into two teams of eight. After that initial split we were then split into two different squads within the main team. This is a different change from what DICE did in the previous MOH. With their version, the sixteen players were simply divided into two teams and that was it. Going even further down, I was told by the representative on hand that they added in a buddy system called Fire Team and that the guy next to me was partnered with me. The purpose of the Fire Team system is to have more cooperation and teamwork between players on a more personal level. This teamwork includes refilling each other ammo when it starts to go low, healing each other when taking damage, spawning at their location when it’s time to re-spawn, and cooperative actions such as providing covering fire while the other player throws grenades. This kind of teamwork mirrors the real life teamwork that Special Forces use when on missions. It is not surprising to see this much attention put into this new teamwork dynamic, since Danger Close prides themselves in having real combat input from active Tier One field operatives.
As for gameplay, it was your basic domination type match: capture each of the points, defend and capture the next one. First to capture all points or three out of five would win. Lather, rinse, repeat. At first I played like how I would play in CoD; break from the pack and try to get as many kills as I can without dying. That was a bad idea, as I soon found myself overwhelmed by the opposing team. On my next respawn, I decided to spawn on my Fire Team buddy and try my luck working with him. It was here that I saw why it’s a good idea for you and your Fire Team buddy to stick together. As I was taking damage, on the verge of dying again, my buddy came over and healed me as I lay down covering fire for him. As he finished, he started to run low on ammo, so I topped him off and we got back in the fight. We quickly figured out that with me being a heavy gunner, I could draw aggro and lay down covering fire while he as a sniper could get clean headshots without being shot at as much. That and the fact that we would get xp whenever we would support each other helped.
Danger Close is putting even more emphasis on teamwork in MOH:Warfighter. This, in turn, makes players think about being more tactical with their approach instead of just running and gunning. Whether this will be enough for MOH to take on CoD is anyone’s guess. But I can tell you that I had a really great time playing this demo and can’t wait for the release in October.