Published on September 19th, 2012 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
We Head to the Dunes in Our Medal of Honor: Warfighter Hands-on Preview
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
Release Date: October 23, 2012
Developer: Danger Close
“So, you play ‘Duty or what?”
To the naked eye, the current generation of shooters consists of a few well-knowns in a sea of unknowns. And, for the most part, they are flooded with 9 year olds and bro’s wanting to show how hard they game.
Halo and Call of Duty seemed a bit jarred with the depth of realism Battlefield 3 brought to the table. So, when news started to shape back in 2010 that the Medal of Honor series was once again going to be seeing the light of day, I grew a Tier 1.
There are a lot of things that the Medal of Honor of 2010 did right, and for many, the story line was simply lacking. The multitude of military jargon was a little overwhelming for the casual players out there, but there was one thing that held the game together.
The multiplayer was the saving grace for the shooter and many would argue is what saved it from the depths of retail store anguish.
Many cheered for modes like Sector Control, which gave the player three different sectors that they must conquer. This gave a team objective based game that tended to go back and forth based on who was the better attacker/defender squad. Other modes in the original included the traditional Team Deathmatch, and for high tier players, Hardcore.
The question for many out there is, “How can this year’s Medal of Honor: Warfighter tackle the high expectations of the multiplayer realm that—even its own publisher’s title, Battlefield 3—set out to exceed?” Simple, you rebuild.
The GAMINGtruth team recently enjoyed some personal hands-on time with the war based first-person shooter. At this point, I can thoroughly say that Danger Close and EA have already got the hot, hot heat of an addictive shooter on their hands.
Sound: First word. Sounds like, gunfire?
One of the biggest improvements you will notice from the prior year in general gameplay is the sound. The game has by far revamped its authenticity factor by bringing in less bass-y explosions, and even simple firings of pistols, and other machine pistols such as the G-18, in order to provide a level of realism and authenticity. When you fire the TAC-300, the firing and sliding of the bolt action can all be heard during gameplay. Even scraping the sides of a cement wall with your melee hatchet gives off a grungy metal-to-rock effect.
Other sounds can be heard in the ballistics of the game. Anything from firing multiple rounds, to barrel blasts from shotguns are more realistic and provide some of the crisp sound.
The map that we played was Harra Dunes. This area housed small clay-built structures that could be traversed quickly. Much different than other reflex based war shooters, moving through these terrains without sprinting everywhere will leave you with a faster paced shooter, which still allows you to partake in strategy. It didn’t seem like this was something that you necessarily wanted to do anyway—even in a Team Deathmatch situation.
The sandbox style gameplay that made Battlefield 3 a contender was somewhat showcased in Medal of Honor in 2010. This time around it has been shrunk down, but still offers a very open environment feeling. Different modes take you to different parts of the map, so that back staircase or building window, that may be a snipers dream haven, won’t necessarily be open for business in all modes.
While there certainly are buildings to hide in, there are various obstacles for cover to hide behind. This was especially the case having various rock formations and a small marketplace to break up the action. Waist-high objects can be ducked behind, and going prone helps to narrowly escape sudden death. Other wooden boxes and piles of crates can also be used for cover, but with caution as they can be shot through.
Other tin roofing provided this same limited cover and aren’t something you want to stand behind for too long. There wasn’t as much prominent destruction as found in the prior MoH, but it was refreshing to see it again go its own route.
Much like any environmental obstacles, various choke points can become either a stronghold or a detriment to your team’s success. One such point could be seen in the Harra Dunes map. This was a small doorway where players could only file one by one to get through. Areas like these focused the action to one spot, and left much to go on throughout the rest of the maps corners and hallways. This was the objective as we played the mode, Sector Control.
Game Mode: Sector Control
The familiar mode makes its return in Warfighter. The North, Central and South points must be contended or defended. Players rack up points based on the capturing of each point, which can change hands very quickly if your team does not work well as a unit.
Teams must work together in securing points, but they also have close personnel to consider. Before the match you are paired up with a Fire Team Buddy. The success of your squad can be reflective of the success of you and your partner. Much like any other relationship, success can be found in open communication.
Simple chatting with your Fire Team Buddy is one mechanic that can take some getting used to. You must utilize your FTB for strategic spawn points, resupply, and even healing from brute damage. This can mean the difference between life, death and the possible loss on the battlefield. Even in modes like Sector Control, holding a position and having your Fire Team Buddy there to wipe the floor with remaining enemies could stop the attacking team from gaining control of your sector.
The unfortunate fact is that not everyone uses their mic during online modes. Even so, being able to communicate with my FTB gave me the feeling that someone was in it with me and the match wasn’t filled with a bunch of lone wolves. While this mode primarily focuses the attention on squad/Fire Team Buddy communication, it did however give us enough time to explore the Classes and Weaponry.
Classes: Kiss my Assault
There are various classes in the game. In Medal of Honor there were only three classes to be utilized: the Rifleman, Sniper and Heavy Gunner.
In Warfighter, there are five classes. The classes are the Heavy Gunner, Sniper, Assaulter, Demolitions, Point Man and Spec Ops.
These classes are balanced through their abilities and weapon usage. For example, the Demolitions, or tank-type class, has a tank stance that can be activated. During this time he pulls down his heavy bomb shield mask and can withstand more hits than normal. While this may seem like something that puts him at a benefit over others, the counterbalance is his slower pace, not able to move as quickly or run. His weaponry also includes a more harsh recoil, thus preventing an overpowered mowing machine.
Balancing classes and their weaponry was something Weapons Designer, Eddie Rojas, set out to do. The game doesn’t necessarily host the abilities to customize your characters class, and if you were wondering why, here it is in his own words:
GAMINGtruth: What were you initial ideas when designing the guns for Medal of Honor: Warfighter, specifically the multiplayer?
“My intent was always to not balance or tune the weapons according to each class, to each type of weapon, but–to each class,” Rojas said. “I wanted the weapon to compliment the ability of each specific class. As opposed to other games, which, it’s not about a class ability, or it’s not about a unit–it’s just about what type of weapon you have and how that reacts against all the other weapons. So, my main intent was to make sure that our weapons worked really well with other aspects of our game. Like, Support Actions or class abilities, or things like that, equipment.
“So, I really wanted, I really wanted…weapons to work well with classes and those classes and weapons to work well within Fire Teams.”
There was a lot of talk during our hands-on in regards to weapon and class balancing. The Sniper is outfitted with of course, a Sniper Rifle, and also a Recon Stance (setting a bi-pod down for stability), Proximity mines and the G-18 machine pistol. This may seem like a lot of heat, whereas the Assault Class is fitted with an Assault Rifle (my preferred gun: Daniel Defense MV41 ROKN), Grenade Launcher, frag grenade—which are things that are made to lay the hurt down. Further balancing can be seen in classes like the Point Man, given Heavy Hitter ammo for his ability and flash bang grenades.
What would using all of these classes be if there weren’t support actions for kill streaks? For each person, the Support Actions offer both defensive and offensive moves. The majority of my time spent was using the Assault Class. Streaks included things like a smoke screen or mortar strike. For the case of Sector Control, both can be useful in capturing or defending a point. Have an opposing team standing around the South point? Mortars away. Using smoke efficiently can lead your team in for a more tactical approach. Going up from here, things like the Guided Missile were fun to use nailing unsuspecting victims from above.
With the Support Actions, Class Weapons and Abilities being transitioned to balance gameplay, it wasn’t a surprise when they dropped this next tidbit of information. There is no longer the option to pick up another class’ weapons. It might seem shocking at first, but after playing through a slew of multiplayer matches, not once did I ever really feel the need to swipe someone’s sniper, or grab a guy’s gat. Any ammo needed was supplied by my Fire Team Buddy and any weapon changes were simply done by changing classes.
There are a lot of differences from the 2010 release and Warfighter. You might notice that the game itself doesn’t seem like it is trying to be Battlefield 3’s little brother, but instead, is trying to make a bullet mark of its own. It felt much more like a separate entity, bringing Medal of Honor back to its roots as a kickass—yet authentic—FPS war game. Tier 1 Operators something unique and adds a certain level of realism to your efforts.
The look of the game has changed significantly. After playing Battlefield 3 and then picking up Medal of Honor, there were some noticeable resemblances between the two. The game now has a distinct look for those looking for more authentic modern warfare experience.
Medal of Honor: Warfighter has come a long way since the 2010 release of Medal of Honor. The gameplay has improved, but the developers have kept some of the online multiplayer modes the same. This wasn’t done out of laziness, but rather because modes like Sector Control are a blast to play.
Many will find a different look to Medal of Honor: Warfighter. If you have been following along with the gameplay trailers or any others specifically outlining the new continuation in the storyline, then you will notice them. Similarly, the sound from the game brings authenticity and ties it with the new level seen in the weaponry.
There is no doubt that EA and Danger Close have created an addictive first person shoot. The introduction of the Fire Team Buddy, new Support Actions and expanded Classes make this a top tier experience.