Medal of Honor: Warfighter Hands On

This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360

While attending the Sony Holiday Preview Event this year, one of the titles I got to sit down with was the upcoming shooter, Medal of Honor: Warfighter.  Showing off a snippet of gameplay and some new mechanics, this was one of my highlights of the event.  How does it look?  Grab your M4A1 and let’s dive in!

The demo in question was a small storyline mission, depicting a group of Tier One operatives attempting to rescue a group of hostages in the Philippines.  After watching the captor’s leader shoot one of his own men, the call is given to move in and save the prisoners.  While it may not sound very creative, Medal of Honor: Warfighter follows in its predecessor’s footsteps, creating a believable campaign based around real world events – bringing the player into the game in ways other shooters can’t.

This believability and realism also shined through in gameplay, which is shaping up quite well.  After a brief cutscene, I took control of my character and got ready to cook some fools.  Starting by navigating narrow streets, my first firefight didn’t break out until I reached a large square and ran right into a hostile force.  The ensuing firefight was definitely one to write home about, as it showcased two main aspects of play: destructibility and leaning around cover.

Yes, you read that right – lean mechanics.  Traditional shooters on console lack this feature, opting for the usual aim-down-sights button.  However, MoH: Warfighter actually features two.  The first button (in this case R1) allowed me to shoulder their weapon, and use my  optics normally, able to move around freely while taking accurate shots; while the other (R2) allowed me to lean around, under, or over objects to shoot from behind objects – while remaining in one position.  Using this system I ducked and peeked around pieces of cover in a way I would naturally were I actually in combat, leading to a fair deal of realism in tactics – which will be greatly welcomed at launch.

Adding on to the realism was the game’s destructibility.  Since Warfighter is built on the Frostbite 2.0 engine, it features an environment that chipped away as it was hit by gunfire and explosions.  The same cover that I was leaning around was starting to disappear as more fire came my way, causing me to move and slide behind a new object – once again making me feel right in the battle.  However, the demo was a fairly short one so I didn’t get much time to really play with the engine, but hopefully it keeps up the pace for the full release.

One issue I noticed though were graphics, which were fairly under-polished.  While the animations and lighting were quite beautiful, it was textures that really bit the dust.  Appearing very pixilated, as though they never quite loaded properly, it was a very rough playthrough.  Hopefully it was an old code I put my hands on, but since it was just a month before release it is a cause for concern.

After finally fighting my way out of the square, I progressed down some streets, engaging enemies behind cars and other roadside objects.  Eventually, my AI team and I took up positions in a building on the second floor, overlooking an empty courtyard.  Everything was silent until an objective icon appeared over a lone trooper’s head.  Not putting much thought into it, I took the shot and put him down!  To my dismay, however, a small army started crawling out of the woodwork and we were quickly overrun.  One of my teammates then yelled out to laser designate the target for air support, and in my desire not to go down in a blaze of glory, I hastily took his advice.

Expecting to simply sit back and watch the fireworks, I was instead treated with one of the demo’s highlights.  Once the chopper flew in and started revving up its Gatling gun, my screen faded to black briefly before fading back in… as the chopper gunner!  Smiling wide, I gave the hordes of helpless enemies the business with my massive gun until none were left standing.  It was at this point that I shifted back to my original character for a brief minute, which I spent reflecting on the interesting character switch, before the demo finished.

While my time with Medal of Honor: Warfighter was too short for my liking, it was time very well spent.  With a realistic and engaging combat system thanks to the brilliant lean mechanic, wonderful destruction, and interesting mid-game character switches, this is a shooter to start getting excited for! Hopefully the developers smooth out the textures, as they leave a lot to be desired.  Start loading your magazines now, shooter fans, this is one to get excited for!

Medal of Honor: Warfighter launches on October 23, 2012.  Stay tuned for a full review at or around launch!

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October 12, 2012 - 8:00 am