I'm probably one of the few that enjoyed Danger Close's reboot of the Medal of Honor series. Albeit uninspired and short, I enjoyed the middle-of-the-road approach taken by the studio to create a game that's not-quite-sim and not-quite-arcade shooter. It felt like a more refined take on modern warfare than what Call of Duty had to offer. Given how saturated the market is, EA certainly tried its best to differentiate its offering.
Two years later, EA is giving the Medal of Honor series another whirl. This time, there's a brand new engine and a more bombastic, action-packed narrative. But is it any better? That's questionable.
The brief single player demo I had a chance to play offered very little look into what makes Warfighter unique. New to this year's game is Frostbite 2--a gorgeous engine that produces great results, but also happens to make the game look not unlike Battlefield 3. I did notice that destructibility does come into play, as cover gets chipped away by gunfire. More than once was I able to kill someone through a wall, for example.
As a Medal of Honor vet, the controls were immediately accessible. It didn't take long before I was able to take cover, lean and peek, and shoot. Oddly, though, there was no ability to go prone (at least in this demo). The omission is surprisingly frustrating, especially when you want to take some very low cover.
After 10 minutes of play, I wasn't able to find a single thing that made Warfighter stand out. In fact, the mission I played ended with you marking a target, then switching to a helicopter to man a turret. At this point, I feel like we've played this sequence a dozen times already.
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I asked an EA representative if "that's it" to the demo. He was insistent on pointing out the cinematic work of Digital Domain, who worked on the pre-rendered story sequences. While the narrative certainly has a somber, serious tone, I wasn't particularly impressed. In fact, I found it odd that EA would choose to outsource the storytelling to an entirely different team. I'd much rather see the story told through Frostbite 2 than having to see odd humanoid characters from the uncanny valley.
Given how brief my time with Medal of Honor Warfighter was, it's hard to make a solid conclusion on its progress. It's certainly competent, albeit uninspired. But given how interest in the series is waning, it would certainly behoove EA to bring its A game.
Disclaimer: Electronic Arts held this preview event at a Linkin Park concert. The publisher paid for a ticket for Shacknews to attend the event.