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The latest and greatest contemporary first person shooter video game hit the store shelves recently and somehow I only realized it this week. Which should tell you something about how popular it is right off the bat. And after playing it all the way through, my official review is this: Meh. Let me explain. . .

I can remember fondly installing Medal of Honor: Allied Assault on my first Dell computer (first DELL, not first COMPUTER). What followed was hours upon hours of the absolute finest video game I had ever played up until that point. The graphics were amazing (for the time), the gameplay was pretty damn good, and above all it was fun.

This was not that game.

Medal of Honor: Warfighter is the second installment in the series’ reboot, bringing it from the depths of World War II and updating it for the modern battlefield. I mean, assaulting Omaha beach is fun, but after the sixth video game to do it, it gets a touch stale. Stale, a term which nicely describes this game.

When they brought the series into the same time period as the current Call of Duty and Battlefield series, both had been released two years prior to MoH’s reboot. And the effect on the game is obvious — the thing played like a carbon copy of the other series. “Tier 1 Operators” on secret missions, persistent characters, one character dies, a secretive baddie…. All the elements were the same. The only difference — and the only reason I liked MoH’s single player campaign better — was that the guns had functioning select fire capability. I like the rock n’ roll setting as much as the next guy, but semi-auto is really the way to go.

I was hoping that this game would be a little different from the others. I was hoping that it had learned from the past, broken with tradition and done something — ANYTHING — differently than the rest of the field. But no, it’s all there.

Mission on a boat? Check.

Rail sequence on a boat? Check.

Rail sequence in a helicopter? Check.

Moving through caves? Check.

Obligatory sniper sequence? Check.

It was like they were doing a “Greatest Hits” album of FPS set pieces. Nothing was new. And while the plot may have been “ripped from the headlines” a la Law & Order, it wasn’t engaging. I didn’t understand what was going on. All I knew was that the baddies were shooting at me, and the only direction I could go was down the endless long hallway.

In reality, this isn’t a new game. This is an expansion pack — an additional few missions tacked onto whatever FPS you were last playing. It doesn’t even matter if it was CoD or MoH you last put down, the characters are interchangeable right down to the “operator” beards. The only thing really new and interesting was the ability to switch between a scope and a backup iron sight set, which was nice but not worth $60.

To that end, if all you’re looking for is about 5 hours of shooting computer-generated bad guys, then this game will work perfectly for you. The graphics are pretty nice, the animation is pretty good, and the mechanics are workable. But if you’re looking for something more than just a “hey shoot that NPC!”, invest in the latest Battlefield 2 expansion. Or, better yet, Borderlands 2.

Medal of Honor: Warfighter

Price: $60

Overall Rating *
At damn near $60, it’s flirting with “rip-off” territory. However, it’s going for $40 on Origin this weekend which is about what I’d pay for 5 hours of entertainment.

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  1. I played the last MOH game and it was kind of meh as well. Borderlands 2 is a much better game as far as games go. Most FPS games suffer in that there is no real difference in the weapons tree, functionally there is PISTOL, SMG, 5.56 AR, 7.62 AR, LMG, SNIPER and SHOTGUN and quite frankly for game balance reasons (and the general homogeneity of those classes in real life) those things are not really differentiable in terms of combat mechanics. You know going in to any modern combat style FPS that the 5.56 AR (or really, any one of the three or four skins of the generic weapon you can choose from) is the same vanilla ice cream in a different candy shell: medium damage, good accuracy, medium fire rate. The SMG will have slightly less damage, slightly higher fire rate, good accuracy and less damage at distance. The 7.62 AR variant will be semi-auto (or uncontrollable at full auto), great accuracy, a slow rate of fire, smaller magazine and great damage. These things are generic because the world they are modeling is in that sense generic, physics applies. The weapon list used to be a big thing in the runup to new FPS launches. Now it’s a yawner because it doesn’t really matter, the categories are everything and the skins are just a visual cue that you stop seeing in the first couple of minutes with whatever new weapon you’ve unlocked from the tree.

    I did like the addition of some bullet drop in the Battlefield series as compared to Modern Warfare, but since the graphic engines cannot reliably model a shot more than about 350m the effect is lessened considerably. I have to imagine the next generation of hardware will be able to do the distances required.

    In Borderlands 2, physics does not apply. Some weapons set people on fire, or shock them, or corrode them and using the right tool for the right job is a big deal. You have a backpack full of tools and keeping the right set for the mission set you are working is key. There’s a bit more thinking and planning that goes into Borderlands 2 than MOH or BF3 or the other shooters.

    Thanks for the review.

  2. I am really tired at modern shooting games at this point. I’ve drifted off to and bought a game called “Die by the Sword” and its expansion for three dollars. I’ve been having a lot more fun with that than the CoD games I bought earlier. Funny how a lot of creativity with games died along with primitive 3D graphics in the 90’s.

    • Die by the Sword by chance was developed by Treyarch, makers of CoD:WaW, CoD:BO and CoD:BO2.

      As for MoH:WF, I really don’t have anything to say about it since its basically a clone of other FPS games with new visuals and flashy marketing campaigns.

  3. I have to agree with your take on MOH. I had always preferred the MOH games to COD. When COD runs out of interesting tactical situations they go “cockroach mode”. Just swarm you and turn it into an arcade game. This MOH is just bad on so many levels I didn’t finish it. And not just because one of the missions kept freezing up. Graphics or rather “art” is a step backward in terms of realism. And don’t get me started on bad guys teleporting to cover…. end of a great franchise.

  4. I recommend The War Z to those interested in SHTF scenarios. For 20 bucks it’s a hell of a game. Trust no one but your buddies, hide from people, and scavenge for supplies in the Zombpocalypse.

    • This looks exactly like the Arma II mod Day Z but with prettier graphics. This isn’t made by that crew is it? They said they were going stand alone a couple of months ago. I don’t keep in touch with video game releases anyway.

  5. The modern series-es are getting played out the same way that happened to the WW2 genre.

    One company has success, 2 more follow up. Wash Rinse, Repeat.

    Halo’s got the space-future thing down already so maybe the next step is backwards. I’m hoping for some Civil war first shooters or maybe an Iberian Peninsular campaign with Wellington.

  6. The last MOH was merely a Battlefield 3 beta with a tacked-on campaign. I never liked any MOH game for that matter. The first Call Of Duty (PC only) was the best FPS ever before the series transitioned to consoles.

  7. I knew there had to be something wrong with the new MoH when I saw plenty of it on shelves at Wally World on release day and no fanboys drooling over it. Frankly, I liked the series and the last one too but today, video games just dont catch my attention like they used too.

    Maybe its a little modesty or even embarrasment. Most FPS games are primarily about the online play. I beat the last MoH single player in less than 24 hours. While I love the interactive ability of online and that there is a little more to it than just beating the game or not, I just cant be associated with the likes of FPS Kyle (Russia) or trash talking 12 year olds and unemployed virgins living with mom. NO OFFENSE TO THOES WHO DONT FIT THIS CHARACTER!

  8. I think the tech behind video games is cool and I’ll play at a friend’s house once in a while, but I was done with them as a regular part of my life years ago. This new MOH looks like a carbon copy of the last one which sucked.

    One of my good friends is a computer science major and some of the stuff he’s told me about how purposely watered down and rehashed video games are is astonishing. I remember when games were finished products before they hit the shelves, not some “we’ll patch it later” heap of broken code garbage.

    Games used to be good because fans were vigilant and would call companies out when they tried to screw people over with a poorly done game. Now that the COD series has become an annual holiday, millions of brain-dead kids just go out and buy the newest trend while the guys at Treyarch laugh all the way to the bank.

    • Developers like Treyarch and Infinity Ward usually wind up being the face of the games and catching most of the flak for this stuff. But I think the real problem is the publishers (guys like Activision and EA) who give the devs unreal schedules and encourage them to just rehash their old games.

      • +1000… publishers don’t want “risks” they want money. Risk is just too risky to the bottom line, and thus the wash, rinse, repeat cycle with a new paint-job. CoD sux also because it is too easy to hack and Activision doesn’t seem to care one iota.

    • the “highlight” is that activision, the company that owns the call of duty name fired the creators so they wouldnt have to pay them, then sued them when it hurt sales. The MoH team cares about soldiers and gamers, they will continue to get my cash

  9. One thing I’m surprised that Nick didn’t mention in his review: the huge cross marketing done by manufacturers in this game… your average CoD/military shooter might have a couple of gun companies like FN or H&K, but MoH: WF actually got everyone from LaRue, Daniel Defense, Trijicon, Magpul, Surefire, etc. are mentioned by name and a part of the game’s weapon customization for multiplayer. Too bad the multiplayer itself seems limited by not enough good maps, strange spawning, and a limited number of game modes (deathmatch, capture the flag, hot spot, combat mission).

    It’ll be interesting to see how CoD:BO2 shapes up in comparison.

  10. Funny thing is the games with the most churn (COD series) are the best, probably because they have the best engine. COD/MW games are always smooth, the hitboxes work and it just seems to work better than the BF series. DICE comes out with games apparently whenever they want to, and the hitboxes on the Battlefield series have only now begun to match the accuracy of the Modern Warfare series. The reliance on common engines may be part of the reason for the commonality of the games.

    The new Halo 4 looks better than any prior Halo and plays pretty well too.

  11. Best multiplayer game out there though, all single player shooters are terrible, at least its not the call of duty series where the parent company fired the creaters to avoid paying them and then sued them when it hurt sales. The MoH team cares about soldiers and gamers, something no other shooter franchise can really say.

  12. I mainly play cod black ops. Its the biggest selling game ever. Its better for the ps3 system because u can play it online for free but with the xbox360 u have to pay for a membership just to play the multiplayer online. The game is really worth checkiing out. It definitely beats moh & other online games out there trust me its funnnnn! @

  13. I still think the freebie Urban Terror is a great game. little to no hacking, graphics are okay (quake 3 levels) but the game play is good. Did I mention it was totally Free to play (no ads, no pleading, no micro-transactions for real or fake money, no gotta play and earn x amount of $$$ from x amount of missions to afford to get the the “best” gun, as the checks and balances provide enough penalties with higher performance weapons to make them less uber than some weaker gun. and it is completely FREE, gratis.


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