Fighting the war with honor…
Modern setting or not, you wouldn’t really associate emotion with war-based first-person shooter. More often than not, they’re all about going from point A to B and shooting as you many enemies along the way. Developed by Danger Close, Medal of Honor: Warfighter will certainly feature its fair share of shooting, but going by the gameplay demo shown off at a recent event, the development team are also aiming to introduce an element of humanity and emotional attachment to the characters you will play as when the game is released.
This is most apparent during the beginning of the gameplay demo, as a female voice emerges in the background whilst the various game related logos slowly transition into the mission. The voice belongs to the wife of one of the soldiers partaking in the high risk mission. Obviously she isn’t on the mission with her husband and his team (that would be a totally different approach), the soldier is recalling a conversation with his wife, with the latter talking about the difficulties she is having in relation to him for being away from home for so long. By featuring moments such as this in Warfighter’s campaign, Danger Close want you to feel for the soldiers you guide through the missions you play. They have to prove they can do it over the entire campaign, but the implementation of the moment in the gameplay demo was impressive to say the least. It’s an area neither Battlefield 3 or Modern Warfare 3 has explored, and Warfighter aims to show there is room for such touching moments (if done right) in a war-based first-person shooter.
That said, just as you’d expect, shooting is still very much a massive part of Warfighter. It’s hard to tell exactly without playing the game, but the demo suggested the general feel of the weapons remains fairly similar to Medal of Honor’s underrated 2010 release, which is certainly a good thing. Certain parts of the original have obviously been updated, this includes the option to choose between which sight attachment you’d like to fire with depending on your range. It’s nice little option, and brings Warfighter up-to-date in that respect when compared to similar first-person shooters. Another interesting addition is the ability to breach into rooms filled with enemies manually rather than the whole process being automatic. It’s a feature you’d expect to see in the latest Rainbow Six rather than the new Medal of Honor, but it appears to work quite well. You simply approach a room, which leads to a breach indicator pop up on the door, chose how you’d like to breach (flash or smoke), you storm the room and take out the enemies. The tactical element of the mechanic seems to very small, but it’s nice to see Danger Close are exploring different avenues in regards to Warfighter’s gameplay.
Authenticity is another avenue being explored by Danger Close, with the studio’s approach going above and beyond the levels of what they incorporated into the 2010 release. This is reflected by them hiring several former Tier 1 Operators, with each one giving them advice in relation to the realistic nature of the campaign missions. The way team members converse with each other is certainly one area they have locked down quite well, and with the missions set to be included in the game being based on actual events, the studio certainly seem to have all authentic bases covered. Missions will see you travel around the globe whilst being put into the virtual shoes of the US Tier 1 Operators and their counterparts in other countries, such as the SAS in the UK. The mission shown off in the demo sent the US Tier 1 Operators to the Philippines, with the team being required to rescue hostages and then get out the area in one piece.
Kicking of in a torn down, flooded building, the Tier 1 Operators eventually reach the hostages and get them out in one piece, but not before stepping on to a boat, negotiating the unpredictable water and taking down a whole host of enemies. It’s this sequence in the demo that suggests Warfighter’s visuals will be a real step up from its predecessor, with Danger Close taking advantage of the fantastic Frostbite 2 engine and introducing some of their own visual touches too. Clearly the studio has worked on creating realistic water that behaves in a manner, something that is also noticeable during the flooded building section of the demo. Not that you’d expect anything else from Frostbite 2, but the level of destruction and lighting is also very impressive, reflecting off the water quite realistically.
It’s hard to tell how Warfighter’s entire campaign will turn out without actually playing it, but ahead of its October release, the gameplay demo suggests this will be a first-person shooter to look forward, especially if you enjoyed the 2010 release. The authentic nature of the game coupled with some genuinely emotional moments will certainly help Warfighter distinguish itself from other similar shooters. However, Danger Close will need to absolutely nail all inclusions of the element to avoid the “tacked on” label, something the example in the demo did quite well. With the studio keeping details regarding the “FIFA inspired” multiplayer close to their chest, who knows, Warfighter may even have an ace up its sleeve to go alongside the promising single player campaign.