Medal Of Honor Warfighter Review

MiracleOfSound | 29 Oct 2012 17:00
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Medal Of Honor: Warfighter doesn't even wait for you to press a button before hitting you with its first burnt out shooter cliche. The menu screen features clattering ethnic drums behind wailing string instruments which in soundtrack terms basically translates to "The Middle East is Scary and you're going to be spending a lot of time there shooting at people". The tired old trope hovers menacingly around your ears for a moment, and then it multiplies.

Within the first ten minutes of the campaign you've seen a solemn quote from a historical figure during a loading screen, watched a "head emerges from water" Apocalypse Now-referencing cutscene, pressed a button to plant some explosives, observed the consequential cinematic pyrotechnics, shot a chopper down with a conveniently placed rocket launcher, watched an angry man in a turban (who I could have sworn was one of the terrorist puppets from Team America) shouting in Arabic about "jihads" and "infidels" and listened to some gruff, hard men conversing in "OscarMike-ish". It's like a TV Tropes page coming to life before your eyes and it rarely lets up for the entire 5 to 6 hour campaign.

The biggest problem with MOH's tacked on single player is not the clich├ęs, however. The game obnoxiously limits any player input. Levels are extremely tight corridors, even in relation to other similar games. Stray too far to the left or right in MOH's tiny, choking maps and you'll literally fall down and die. I can only imagine this is caused by a cardiac arrest or tripping over your shoelaces and hitting your head, because nothing in the actual game world kills you. You just die. It is a lazy and utterly immersion ruining method of keeping you facing forward at all times. After a couple of these slaps on the wrist you learn that you will only be able to play this game the way it wants you to play it. Mark a building full of snipers with a laser for an air-strike and watch the pyrotechnics, or try to out-maneuver them and miraculously drop dead. The game is also hopelessly, desperately in love with a slow-mo door breaching mechanic, so much so that you can actually level up your door-breaching abilities. As you might expect, this becomes a dull chore a few hours into the game.

There is a story here, which is quite respectful to the experiences of real Tier 1 Operatives, having been partially written by the men themselves. The banter and relationships between the soldiers are well done, with one surprisingly subtle and impactful buddy-saves-buddy moment late in the game. Sadly it is let down by the hamfisted emotional linchpin of the main character's terrifyingly animated wife and demon child from the darkest, dead-eyed depths of the uncanny valley. I can never unsee it.

You'll enjoy looking at the graphics of this game, but whether you enjoy actually playing it, of course, is a different story. The campaign does shake things up from time to time with some action-packed chase scenes and very enjoyable driving sections. Though rudimentary in their interactivity (you drive and you steer) they are extremely well choreographed and give a great feeling of speed, scale and chaos. There is even a vehicular stealth section. Yeah, you heard me. A Metal Gear-style "watch the sightlines" stealth bit, in a car. It's quite silly but there's no denying it's fun and a welcome change from the endless kicking down of doors and bloodying of turbans.

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