A few weeks ago the Xbox 360 Medal of Honor Warfighter beta was released. With big claims and the full might of EA’s marketing team behind it, the company is hoping that Medal of Honor: Warfighter will return the series back to its former glory. The exclusive beta gave Xbox Live players a chance to experience the online portion of the game before PC and PS3 players. I took some time recently to play through it and while there is room for improvement, early signs are very promising.
The first thing you will notice are the graphics, which are easily among the prettiest in the genre. Textures are rendered well, the guns look great, and the character models are actually pretty sweet looking. It will be interesting to see how much better the game will look on a high end gaming PC. The actual gameplay feels like it’s somewhere in between Battlefield 3’s macro battle environments and Call of Duty’s tighter, more small-scale conflicts.
The multiplayer mode–this time developed in-house at Danger Close games instead of being outsourced like 2010’s Medal of Honor reboot–lets players choose from a list of international special forces outfits such as the British SAS, the American TIER1 operatives, and the German KSK. This is a new take on the usual multiplayer team structure which has always stuck to the red vs. blue, terrorists vs. counter terrorists mold. While it’s incredibly cool having your back watched by some of the most fearsome soldiers from around the world, it does feel a bit unrealistic especially from a game that touts realism as one of its selling points. However, you can see that a lot of work has been put in to make each outfit different and I’m sure national pride will become a big factor in picking a character.
The other change from the last game in the series is the new maps which take place all around the world rather than just in Afghanistan. The environments are varied and with the Frostbite 2 engine’s muscle behind it, feel unique. The multiplayer modes are your usual FPS fare with different takes on team deathmatch and the like. However, one or two modes stand out, such as Hot Spot. In this mode, the offensive team is tasked to destroy five hot spots on the map while the defending team must stop them; this creates a chaotic frenzy of activity as both teams use their wits and skills to outmaneuver each other.
On the whole, I did enjoy my time with the Warfighter beta and it will definitely be interesting to see what EA has planned for the final release. In recent years, the military FPS genre has become a two-horse race between Activision’s Call of Duty franchise and Electronic Art’s Battlefield series. Medal of Honor, has had to be content sitting on the sidelines; the series’ 2010 reboot was soundly trounced by Call of Duty: Black Ops that same year. While it was not a bad game by any stretch of the imagination, it just wasn’t as good as the competition. On October 23, EA is throwing its hat in the ring again with Medal of Honor Warfighter. But if the beta was any indication, Black Ops 2 will definitely have its work cut out for it.