In a world where Call of Duty annually outsells every other military FPS out there. It can be hard for other games to carve themselves a niche in the genre when a market is so dominated. You have to find a way to make your title stand out amongst the rest, especially when it comes to your multiplayer features. Fortunately for Danger Close and EA, Medal of Honor: Warfighter seems to have some truly unique offerings that may just have what it takes to make them a real contender.
So what makes MoH so special when it comes to multiplayer? Well, for starters they have a new fireteam system that pairs you up with another member of your squad. You could almost think of it like the buddy system your 3rd grade teacher made you use when your class went on field trips, only much deadlier. Not only will you be able to spawn to your teammate in the field of combat, you’ll also get bonuses depending on how well you both do, such as shortened respawn times, ammo boosts, and unlockable supplies as well as XP bonuses for buddy spawns. It also leads to some interesting combat situations, such as when you spawn on your buddy only to watch him die in a hail of bullets before you avenge his death. And one can’t help but enjoy the fact that you don’t necessarily have to run halfway across a map each time you die to get back to the combat.
On top of that, rather than merely boast unlockable combat classes, MoH will offer up a plethora of special force classes from around the world for players to take into combat. Everything from Korean snipers, to Australian ballistics experts, to good old U-S-of-A Tier-1 operatives will be available, but just like every other levelling system in this genre, most of them will have to be unlocked by playing online and levelling up, so don’t expect to get your hands on the best officers and gear immediately. This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to unlock various weapons and gear for your favorite operative, just that you’ll have to spend time levelling them up to get to all of the customization options.
Beyond the unique fireteam system and operative customization, Warfighter will also offer up a one of a kind gameplay mode called “Home Run”. It’s their version of a quick and brutal capture the flag game. One team takes offense and attempts to capture the other teams flag, while the defensive team has to take out the entire offense in order to succeed. Halfway through, teams switch roles and the first team to 10 points wins.
While there will be more maps for Home Run, the only one we were shown was Sarajevo Stadium, a small, dilapidated area made up of even smaller rooms and one very menacing corridor off to the side. Folks who played Gears of War 3 may find this level reminiscent of “Checkout”, only if it had been hit by napalm.
Sector Control mode will have team facing off for control over three strategic locations, the team that can control more areas for a longer amount of time will be victorious. While conquest modes like this are nothing new to online FPS’, the inclusion of fireteams and the ability to spawn to active players positions means firefights last longer and areas are both more difficult to take and to control.
We played a few rounds of Sector Control on the Somalia Stronghold map, a war ravaged town with lots of narrow corridors, a few decent rooftop sniping positions, and hot spots that leave defenders very little coverage. The town square hot spot in particular made me feel like a sitting duck when trying to gain control.
Hot Spot mode will have one team defending strategic locations while another team tries to blow them up. Defending teams will have a chance to defuse bombs before they go off and if they’re successful in stopping the terrorist team from blowing up a majority of their positions then they win. The maps we played Hot Spot Missions on ranged from a military base with a fire-scorched hillside bunker next to it that made a for a great defensive position if you could get uphill before the opposing team, to a sparse countryside construction site complete with trenches perfect for smoke bomb fueled ambushes.
Overall, Medal of Honor: Warfighter looks like it’s offering up a robust and eclectic multiplayer experience that should offer fans something more than the standard fare that we’ve become accustomed to in the Military FPS world. Will it take over and dominate the genre in the long run? That I cannot say. But at the very least it’s giving people options and creating competition, which is never a bad thing. We’ll have to wait until October 23rd when Warfighter ships for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC to find out if gamers are ready to try something new.