2010's Medal of Honor was EA's attempt to take a piece of the military FPS market that has been dominated by Activision's Call of Duty. Like CoD, Medal of Honor went from the beaches of Normandy to the deserts of the Middle East to bring the series into modern times. Even though it wasn't a "Call of Duty killer" as some had hoped, Medal of Honor did well enough to warrant a sequel.Developed by Danger Close, Medal of Honor: Warfighter(MoHW), picks up right after the events of the first game. The story follows Preacher who has returned from his special forces group in Afghanistan to go home to his family where he finds out that the terrorist threat is still out there. You'll also play as the newly formed Task Force Mako consisting of Navy SEALs who continue to hunt down terrorists posing a threat to the U.S. Can Danger Close get it down their second time around or is it time to hang up the army boots on this game?
A Multiplayer Worth Fighting For - For MoHW, the multiplayer was developed by Danger Close instead of Dice, and after spending some time with it, I have to say it's a good effort. You have your traditional objective modes and deathmatch modes, nothing really special there. It's the use of classes that makes that gives the game a bit depth than most of the other military FPS games out there. As you enter the game, you'll also notice that you'll be on a Fireteam which has you and another player team up similar to squads in Battlefield 3. This allows you to get into action quicker by spawning on their position, and giving you a better sense of teamwork by having someone that's almost attached to your hip. The big concern with the multiplayer is that with Black Ops II already out, you're going to see hardly anyone online which is a bit of a shame considering how well Danger Close handled the multiplayer.
Lean Back, Side to Side, or Up - When it comes to using cover, there's usually two mechanics used: press a button to get behind cover or do it on your own. MoHW requires you to get your own cover, but you can lean in almost every direction. Being able to lean ever so slightly in either direction really opens up the amount of cover you have available along with the shots you can take. Although the amount of lean you have to work with is fairly unrealistic, especially when prone, it allows for almost every form of cover to work well.
A Time to Breach - The whole slow motion breach sequence in various military games is nothing new. Where MoHW is different is that it makes the sequence a regular event during a mission. You'll find yourself, at least once in a mission, kicking down a door and catching several terrorists by surprise letting you blast them in the head while in slow motion. To make things a bit more interesting, the way you breach the door can be upgraded throughout your playthrough depending on how many headshots you get in each breach. From a good kick of a door or a crowbar to doorknob or even a bit of explosives, you'll gain multiple choices on how to make an entrance. Not that any of these will have an effect on the enemy, just a fancy way of letting yourself in.
Love That Frostbite - For the most part, the Frostbite 2 engine looks great. The cinematics have an incredible look to them as well as many of locales and action sequences throughout the game. However, there are some points where you get up close with certain character models, mainly the terrorists, where you can tell see a lack of detail, and some parts of the levels look plain and poorly made.
Booooring -MoHW has a fairly boring campaign. Aside from a few interesting firefights and some dramatic sequences, the campaign left me uninterested on what happened next. I understand that Danger Close was trying to show the story of soldiers who have leave their family to be heroes when their country needs them, which is a noble message to spread. In the end, they did a poor job of making it compelling. For most of the game, I really didn't care about any of the characters or their missions. Add that onto the stale gameplay of run a bit, fight enemies, and repeat, you're left with a game that didn't grab me except for those moments where something legitimately interesting was happening. That may have been a good hour out of the 6 hour campaign.
Who Put Driving in My Shooting Game? - There is a surprising amount of driving in this game which didn't make much sense to me. As one would expect, the driving sequences consisted of chasing down a bad guy, running away from bad guys, and a "sneaking" segment. That's right, there's a point in the game where you have to sneak around in a car. I'm guessing that Danger Close, like Infinity Ward and Treyarch, are trying to make their campaigns to be more like 24 and less like Black Hawk Down. Although I get the desire to change up the game so it's not all mindless shooting of guys in the desert, driving missions are simply not the answer.
What's With the Physics? - Prior to release, one of the big points Danger Close and EA had been focusing on was the realistic physics, especially in regards to sniping. Unlike other "unrealistic" FPS games, you have to factor in bullet drop when you're sniping at a long distance. Problem is that during the single player, you're not really told in-game that you need to raise your shot a bit. Not just that, it's still completely unrealistic as a target at a building that's at a similar height to your position has the same drop as a target on building that's at a higher position. I'm not a physics major, but to me, a height difference of 30-50 feet in height should require an adjustment to your shot. Then there's getting shot while completely behind cover, something that happens quite a bit in other games, but I also saw one enemy run through an obstacle helping to confirm that there's a few problems in the game.
Stupid AI - Enemy AI seems to get dumber whenever the graphics of a game get better. MOHW, in particular, has dumb enemies that will use cover only so much, but then simply run right up to you. I normally wouldn't bother enemies that rush you, but in a military FPS game that is striving for realism, why the hell is rushing at the player without even shooting a gun considered ok AI?
When Medal of Honor came out two years ago, it was something a little different for the time. In 2012, Medal of Honor: Warfighter feels more of the same. The game simply doesn't do enough to distinguish itself from the military FPS games that we've seen up to now. Its campaign strives to remind players that soldiers and their families go through a lot of anguish during war time, but it fails to make that point compelling. Instead it comes off an good looking game with an average campaign and a solid multiplayer that'll be dead very soon.
*This review was based on the Xbox 360 version of the game with a review copy provided by the publisher.*