Electronic Arts' last Medal of Honor title saw the series attempt to morph itself into "The Hurt Locker" of gaming, immersing players in an experience crafted in the vein of pure realism. It served as a tribute the armed forces of the world and a not-so-subtle contrast to the summer-blockbuster feel of the Call of Duty series.
That understated, earthbound commitment to realism is set to return again with Medal of Honor: Warfighter, which continues to focus on the exploits of Tier 1 operators, who are supposed to be the most elite soldiers in existence. While the single-player in 2010's Medal of Honor focused solely on action in Afghanistan, Warfighter's theater of battle will expand to the rest of the world. Among the missions in the game are rescue operations against Abu Sayyaf forces in the Philippines and battles against Al-Shabaab on the Somali Coast.
According to EA, actual United States Tier 1 operators wrote the single-player experience while they were deployed overseas. Fans will recognize some of the code names of the single-player operators, such as Mother, Preacher and Voodoo, with an emphasis on Preacher's personal life, which is in shambles after working all over the world for years.
While there are certainly compelling elements to the single-player, the attention concerning any first-person shooter inevitably shifts to multiplayer, which is what EA's closed-door demo focused upon at E3. Part of the multiplayer framework focuses on an international all-star team of Special Forces operators from around the world, including the British SAS, the Polish GROM and the Australian SASR. Each operator type carries his own brand of armor and weapons, which helps flesh out their strengths — some are excellent at heavy weapons, while others are fast-moving infiltrators. We were told there are 72 different operators in the game, so players look to have plenty of options before doing battle.
Our demo featured players getting grouped into "fire teams" and pitted against each other. Team members were able to keep track of their buddies within range through a subtle colored outline, even through walls and buildings. In the short time we got to play, the action felt familiar and smooth. Operator selection felt extremely important, and I started to rack up some kills after I selected a heavily armored machine gunner.
Electronic Arts hopes Warfighter's international flavor instills a sense of national pride, especially in multiplayer (and perhaps taking a bit of the sting out of that play-as-Taliban controversy in 2010). Visually, the game looked sharper and snappier than its 2010 predecessor.
Medal of Honor: Warfighter is slated for release on October 23.
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