If we learned anything from the 2010 Medal of Honor title, it’s that someone other than Peter Molyneux can, indeed, hype a game up beyond words, only for it to only fail – critically to be fair. Nevertheless, EA is back in full force to hopefully sheer folks away from the other first-person shooter out this fall with Medal of Honor: Warfighter. Despite the game being out in just three weeks, EA released a public beta last week, and we’re here to give our first impressions on just what Warfighter has to offer you when it ships later this October.
At first glance, we can rightfully tell you that Warfighter isn’t revolutionary looking. In fact, it looks and somewhat plays like your average military shooter, but EA has mixed up some aspects of the normal formula which may make Warfighter stand out from any other military series. One of these seemingly minor, yet vital, changes is what we like to call the buddy system. Each match you’re paired up with another player, which acts as your squad mate. Now this can mean nothing to you if you wish, but it’s designed for you to stick close to that teammate so that you can earn points from his or her kills, receive and dish out ammo, and most importantly, spawn quicker if he or she is out of the line of fire. The entire system is different and may have you spending time to get used to it, but it creates a more strategic approach to an arcade shooter-like title like Call of Duty.
The 2010 installment’s major downfall was undoubtedly its ability to balance gameplay, but thankfully that’s where Warfighter shines. Instead of countless snipers, constant mortars at one location, and spawn pinning, gameplay is balanced by a vast selection of classes that play unique to each player’s play styles. Better yet, map design is completely overhauled, not to say that there aren’t some rough patches with spawning, but they’re far in between and isn’t game breaking like we’ve seen in the past. Overall, combat is fluid, yet frantic, which makes each and every game nerve racking, adding to the team aspect that Warfighter’s aiming to accomplish.
Perhaps EA’s biggest marketing campaign behind Warfighter, though, is its advertised, stunning graphics, generated by the Frostbite 2.0 engine. Unfortunately, Warfighter’s beta isn’t as brilliant looking as we expected, or what’s being sold to the public. Not to say the game looks ugly; it’s actually a major improvement over its predecessor. We actually believe EA is playing its cards close to themselves like they did with Battlefield 3, releasing a texture pack right at release that turned a seemingly drab game into a stunning masterpiece. At this point we can only hope that’s the case, because Warfighter, though pretty, isn’t a contender for best-looking game.
In a nutshell, Medal of Honor: Warfighter is already a major step up from 2010’s game and should be welcomed by military shooter enthusiasts. The beta’s one map and domination, king of the hill-like mode is enthralling fun and offers a gameplay that’s just different enough to stand out in a cluttered genre, yet standard enough that gamers can get acclimated to quite quickly. We still believe EA has quite a bit to show us when it all drops later this October, but for now, we’re left with a satisfying experience.