When Electronic Arts relaunched its Medal of Honor franchise back in 2010 using developers Danger Close and DICE, it succeeded in making it feel more current and relevant to modern-day war game scene. Still, it felt like something was missing, whether it was the tempo of the missions or the inability to really “bond” with any of the characters (unlike what many have grown to do with Captain Price in the Modern Warfare series). Still, you can’t blame EA for trying, and now Danger Close is giving the series another spin with the much more aggressive Medal of Honor: Warfighter, coming October 23 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. The company recently invited us to get a sneak peek at the upcoming game.
The first thing you might ask is, “What’s up with the multiplayer?” One problem with the previous Medal of Honor was that the single player and multiplayer didn’t quite mesh up, since two different teams worked on them. For Warfighter, this isn’t the case - Danger Close is handling all of the development, using DICE’s Frostbite 2 technology to escalate the action.
Furthermore, instead of having one team play as U.S. soldiers and the other as terrorists, the developer is leveling the playing field. This time, you get to choose from some of the world’s best Tier 1 battle groups, including British SAS soldiers, Polish GROM teams, the German KSK and, of course, our good ol’ boys here in the States. You’ll battle throughout several countries, including Somalia and the Philippines, to show you’re the best in the world.
However, the focus was not on the multiplayer in the demo. Instead, EA showed us bits and pieces from a single player mission involving a Tier 1 team paying a visit to the Philippines where hostages were being held by gun-runners. The first part of the demo involves the team quietly breaking into a rundown building filled with woodwork galore and a couple of chandeliers, since it used to be a high-profile estate. An explosive firefight then broke out, one where you have to carefully maneuver your team into position and fight back.
The use of Frostbite 2 technology is quite remarkable, as you see debris flying everywhere and even the smallest details highlighted by the dynamic lighting featured throughout the game. It’s a little disorienting at first, but once you come to grips with the situation, and know where your teammates are backing you up, you’ll be ready for action.
This demo also introduces multiple breach tactics for breaking into a room – just like the Tier 1 operatives do. You can choose to kick the door down and take your chances on a bum rush; use an explosive to throw enemies off guard and surprise rush into the room; or toss in a flash bang to disorient them, then get the jump on them. Each situation has consequences, and if you aren’t careful, you might end up losing a hostage.
The second half of the demo was rather dazzling. With the hostages in tow, the Tier 1 team hops on a boat and attempts to escape the pursuing enemies all while a huge flash flood is approaching the coast. So not only do we have to battle the weather conditions but we also have to keep an eye out for sentries on the rooftops, eliminating them before they can do damage to the boat. This sequence was quite entertaining to watch, featuring plenty of graphic detail while maintaining a fast-moving frame rate and not losing an ounce of intensity, especially when you blast enemies off the roofs in fiery explosions; it’s really quite something. The conclusion of the demo came with a chopper swooping down to pick up the boat and and put us out of harm’s way.
Though we’d still like to see more of Warfighter before we make a judgment (chances are we’ll get a better look at the game come E3 2012 in just a few weeks), this demo really did set the stage for the epic action that awaits in the full product. We’ll probably see crazier situations that explode throughout the world along with glimpses of the competitive multiplayer, where players will fight for respect and props. Regardless, Medal of Honor: Warfighter is looking like the full-on war machine the first game should’ve been - we’ll see how it shapes up very soon.