When the beta for EA’s and Danger Close’s Medal Of Honor: Warfighter multiplayer launched a few weeks back, I was excited for what I thought would have been the return of the Medal Of Honor series to genre superiority. After all, this is a franchise that arguably began the obsession with first-person war-based shooters, and it’s just never felt right that it’s reputation among gamers is as tarnished as it is. Unfortunately, after several hours with both the beta and now the final product, I feel as though Medal Of Honor has truly, unequivocally lost its way. This game, in the simplest of definitions, has no idea what it represents or the type of game it actually wants to be.
Strangely, I don’t hate Warfighter’s multiplayer. In fact, I intend on playing the crap out of it when I can ahead of the release of Halo 4 and Black Ops 2. There’s a strange sense of satisfaction in actually doing something of worth in the game, be it having a squadmate spawn on you, or managing to infiltrate and capture an enemy point. It’s just a massive shame that such a broken, uneven experience surrounds the component’s more engaging and finer aspects.
The beta introduced us to what was a promising but messing UI and class system. I’m not sure if Danger Close was trying to give Warfighter a purposely complex navigation presentation, perhaps to somehow translate the complexities of modern battle to replicate command control, but the end product is migraine-inducing and especially frustrating.
If you can look past the craziness that is Warfighter’s in-your-face UI, you’ll find a lot to actually unlock and equip, and in that regard I personally think Warfighter is unmatched. Future Solider I thought did as good a job as any game to give us a high level of control over weapon and loadout customisation, but Warfighter takes it to the extreme. It’s just really disappointing that it’s such a chore to move through the menus and equip yourself comparatively with the mode you’re about to play. It bewilders me why I can’t edit my load-out before a match starts.
My main gripe with this experience is just how uneven it feels. The buddy system is absolutely fantastic, but in the game’s own identity crisis comes a rather inconsistent system that compromise’s the entire functionality of the premise. The importance of team play is diluted by confusing map design and environments that tease openness but that are actually far less expansive than they appear.
As for the gameplay, Warfighter is basically the love child of Battlefield 3 and Call Of Duty, and that’s not a good thing. It’s hard to actually abide by an unwritten rules of mate-ship, because people are dying so frequently, spawning is so sporadically, and you’ll often have to venture off by yourself to get something done. The spawning itself is insanely broken: you can either spawn on your squadmate, but only if they’re out of danger (and the game does little in the way of making you aware of the urgency of allowing your mate to spawn on you), or at your team’s HQ checkpoint. The only problem with the latter is that it doesn’t appear to take spawn logic into consideration, often throwing you directly into the path of enemy fire.
For all of the criticism Call Of Duty games receive for their spawn logic, spawn trapping is actually an integral part of that experience: push your enemy into a corner and take advantage of it. In Warfighter, it’s more a case of trying to do the right thing by your team, only to be thrown into an area completely void of friendly squadmates. It’s incredibly frustrating.
Yet, all of this said, I feel Warfighter has a lot to offer for more hardcore, communicative players that are open to chit-chat with random players. Being able to somehow incorporate team-focused gameplay with individualistic run-and-gun action is something that needs to be communicated.
I’m not sure this is a game that can build much of an online community over a long period of time, and that I feel is an indictment on the series. This is the second opportunity for the series to develop some sort of market share, at a time when its publisher talks up its self-proclaimed superior game engine. Can Warfighter’s online issues be rectified with patches? I think that future DLC, weapon improvements and even map design can alter the experience for the better. If the core ideas, like the buddy system, can remain intact, then surely Danger Close can make something out of what is so uneven, but strangely promising.
What do you think about Medal Of Honor: Warfighter's multiplayer? Share your thoughts below!
By Gaetano Prestia