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Medal of Honor: Warfighter Review

  • First Released Oct 23, 2012
  • Reviewed Oct 26, 2012
  • X360

Medal of Honor: Warfighter doesn't merge its cliched parts into a satisfying whole, making it just another middle-of-the-road military shooter.

Upon completing Medal of Honor: Warfighter's campaign, you are met with a heartfelt dedication impressing upon you the heroism of the men in uniform the game depicts. The attempt at sincere emotion is commendable--but it rings hollow, coming as it does at the end of a bog-standard military shooter that celebrates the killing of hundreds. The battlefield fantasy itself offers a few surprises, but they're crowded out of your psyche by the indifferent hours of shooting and military chatter that surround them.

"Linear." The word is commonly used to identify any number of shooters that usher you along a narrow path, interrupting your progress with a bit of sniping, the shooting of a turret, or an explosion-heavy cutscene. Warfighter's issue isn't that it fits this common modern-day shooter template, but that developer Danger Close doesn't use the linearity to the game's benefit. By directing the experience so tightly, a developer can build momentum, giving the action an arc that develops tension and ultimately reaches a zenith. When a game intends to be a playable action film, as so many do, managing that arc is key to delivering a memorable experience.

Medal of Honor: Warfighter doesn't craft such an arc, and thus feels more like a pastiche of shooter tropes than a self-contained experience with its own identity. Yet there's something worthy here--the glimmer of a Medal of Honor that might yet hew its own path if the right elements are cultivated. The basic shooting and movement models are a good start, not because the guns are that remarkable, but because there's a sense of weight to your sprints and your leaps. You're given the ability to take cover and lean or peek before taking aim, lest you get pelted with lead; at times, this encourages you to consider your surroundings and preserve your own well-being rather than rush forward, spraying the room with bullets.

The shooting is occasionally put to good use, too, such as in a noisy showdown during a raging rainstorm, the palm trees waving and bending in response to the heaving winds. Other levels are just as visually impressive, like an on-rails boat shootout during which fires rage and floating debris threatens to ram you. Elsewhere, you use the blazing shine of your enemies' flashlights as beacons for your violence in various locales. The Frostbite 2 engine that gave Battlefield 3 life is used well enough here, occasional visual glitches and distracting screen grime notwithstanding. These visuals are much more effective on the PC than consoles, but on any platform, Medal of Honor: Warfighter isn't always just a sea of brown, though you can still expect plenty of dusty roads and crumbling hovels to fill your field of view.

The heat is on…
The heat is on…

If only the gameplay could consistently uphold the promise of the most atmospheric levels. To Warfighter's benefit, it's not as much of a turkey shoot as its 2010 predecessor, though enemies still pop up in the most predictable places, inviting you to gun them down. The excitement is also undercut by your AI teammates' unlimited supply of ammo; there's never any need to scrounge the ground for enemy weapons, which diminishes the sense that you are in imminent danger. (A little improvisational spirit could have gone a long way.) But it's the moments you most expect to deliver the brightest sparks that are most devoid of them. The aforementioned boat chase requires no skill, neither from a driving nor from a shooting perspective. Ditto for the obligatory helicopter gunner segment, in which you mow down nameless grunts from above. Without challenge, there needs to be something else to keep excitement levels high--but there aren't enough foes to shoot or other sources of thrills to compensate.

Warfighter checks other paradigms off its list, too. There are the parts where you sneak up on enemies from behind and gruesomely stab them, and the parts where you snipe the baddies lurking in distant windows. There are the parts where you call in airstrikes to annihilate entire buildings, and there's the bit where you shoot down a helicopter with a rocket launcher. There are seemingly endless door breaches, in which time slows to a crawl while you and your AI teammates charge into a room and litter the floor with corpses. Things explode real nice, but these sequences are all segmented sharply from the surrounding gameplay. The game signals "hey, here's the part with the sniper rifle," and you dutifully perform the necessary actions so you can continue.

There are several scripted set-piece sections that stand above the rest, however--and in fact, stand above the campaign in general. All of them involve vehicles. Some of these driving sections are ridiculous and entertaining, directing you to incite crashes, and then showcasing the destruction in slow motion, Burnout-style. The camera that so lovingly caresses the chaos flies in the face of Warfighter's meager attempts to identify the drivers as everyday heroes, but the tension of avoiding oncoming traffic and the joy of watching your four-wheeled victims flip with abandon are both guilty pleasures. The game's most surprising turn of events is a vehicular stealth sequence in which you must slip into designated safe spots to avoid prowling enemy drivers. It's a neat idea, executed well, that generates tension and has you fearing your possible discovery. It's not difficult to succeed, but even so, this portion is elegant and imaginative.

…it's on the street.
…it's on the street.

Less elegant are Warfighter's nods to the effects war can have not just on its participants, but on their loved ones. Your role alternates between different operatives, with Preacher (returning from 2010's Medal of Honor) fulfilling the role of main protagonist. The central story comes by way of the jargon-filled military chatter you're used to in such games, in which you know who the bad guy is, not because wrongdoing is demonstrated, but because the characters say he's the bad guy. The globe-hopping narrative, like the gameplay, is chopped into cutscenes and key events without regard for exposition or transition. There's plenty of plot, but little storytelling--and there are important distinctions between the two.

Off the battlefield, you meet Preacher's wife and daughter, who suffer from the effects of the uncanny valley by way of their sort-of-lifelike, sort-of-not character models, but nonetheless deliver some civilian levity between explosions. The gentler side of Warfighter's story is a wasted opportunity, however, since every character is a stand-in for an idea (the neglected but stalwart wife, the loyal and conflicted warrior) rather than a defined individual. Yet while they are simple plot constructs, actors deliver their lines with conviction, and the manipulative soundtrack swells in properly melodramatic ways, softening your heart for a few moments before the ensuing action hardens it once again.

It must be tough to go through life with big triangles hovering over your head.
It must be tough to go through life with big triangles hovering over your head.

There's a moment near the end of the campaign, however, that has you confronting the consequences of war, allowing you to witness terrible deaths in ways you never can while shooting down combatants. And it's here that Warfighter almost achieves something special. You witness more vulnerability here, and can appreciate the operatives' sacrifices in these final throes. The military fantasy becomes dark reality for a brief moment, and there's no joy in your final shots. Here, you see one more way in which Medal of Honor may yet make its mark, if only this conclusion weren't so removed from the remainder of the game, which otherwise treats levels as interchangeable building blocks that needn't fit into a larger picture.

Of course, if a military shooter is a means for you to shoot fools online and insult their skills (and mothers), the campaign may be a secondary concern, and it's just as well, since the multiplayer is much more satisfying than the campaign, though not without its flaws. Warfighter doesn't have the weight of, say, Killzone 3, but it doesn't shoot for the zippiness of Modern Warfare either, instead finding a more-or-less comfortable place between the two. The leaning mechanic in the campaign finds a place here, and while gameplay doesn't hinge on successfully using it, it's nonetheless a boon, allowing you to quickly establish a line of sight, take some potshots, and lean back into cover.

If you weren't afraid of flying before, you will be now.
If you weren't afraid of flying before, you will be now.

More important is Warfighter's fire team system, in which you are paired with another team member, and the two of you leech off of each other's successes. Your buddy is both protector and spawn point, and you earn a few experience points for his headshots and kills, presuming you're in close proximity. You earn various bonuses for sticking with your buddy, so you quickly develop a camaraderie of necessity. This isn't a wholly new mechanic in games, but there is a palpable psychological component to it: when your buddy is waiting to spawn, you stay out of harm's way so that your friend might arrive in relative safety, and there's joy in getting revenge on the opponent that gunned down your buddy just moments before. It's a good feeling to know someone's got your back.

A traditional class system glues matches together, though you need to sort through the game's improbably convoluted and busy interface to make sense of it. Everyone starts out as an assaulter, but it isn't long before you've unlocked every class and are well on your way toward earning medals (Congratulations! You've killed 30 players with primary weapons!) and various weapon modifications: barrels, paint jobs, optics, and so on. You also unlock variations of the classes, each associated with a particular nation, and within matches, you can perform offensive or defensive support actions (fly an Apache!) should you string together enough kills. There's a healthy progression system here that keeps the rewards coming.

Where there's smoke, there's gunfire.
Where there's smoke, there's gunfire.

A metagame goes only so far if the core action and modes don't hold up, but Warfighter is a decent multiplayer shooter with a number of ways to play, held back mainly by its confined maps, some of which are more collections of winding exterior corridors than organic spaces. You never run out of players to kill, at least, within the five modes on offer. The matchmaking options also include playlists that pair up two different modes, and one of these playlists minimizes the interface and turns on friendly fire, inspiring a more cautious experience. On the other end of the spectrum is Home Run mode, a vicious 10-round mode that combines capture the flag with Counter-Strike's tight assault-and-defend dynamic. The maps are small and you don't respawn when you die; all you can do is wait for the next round. Home Run sports a livelier tug-of-war than the other modes, and after the initial learning curve (knowing the map is key), combat can get intense.

Danger Close didn't tie up some necessary loose ends before the game's release: you might spawn outside of the map and into freefall, spawn into some environmental anomaly and struggle to unstick yourself, or even bang into an invisible obstacle. In the single-player campaign, enemies might clip right through walls when they aren't busy being generally dumb. Yet Medal of Honor: Warfighter's greatest handicap isn't bugs, but that its building blocks are snapped together into a shapeless hunk rather than an identifiable monolith with form and purpose. Still, you shouldn't dismiss the game as wholly unworthy: online multiplayer is good fun, and the campaign shows signs of life, occasionally letting you see past the me-too warfare and appreciate a brief flash of imagination. But on the whole, Warfighter leaves you thinking, "Yep, that's a military shooter, all right." Its heroes strive for greatness; the game they star in is merely serviceable.

Back To Top
The Good
Fire team system gives the online multiplayer a sense of camaraderie
Entertaining and inspired vehicular sequences
Some atmospheric levels
The Bad
Ho-hum campaign fails to combine the usual tropes into a greater whole
Disjointed narrative populated by cookie-cutter characters
Set pieces lack the necessary thrills
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Medal of Honor: Warfighter

About the Author

Kevin VanOrd has a cat named Ollie who refuses to play bass in Rock Band.
104 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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Avatar image for natanaelds

This game is so much crazy! lol

Avatar image for pixel8

Piece of poop.

Avatar image for kennythomas26

This game a lot better than the reviews say, The single-player is quite good and the on-line is and can be a bit addicting the only thing that sucked for this game was it was released in between the 2 big releases that with Halo 4 first and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and this game is much better than Black-ops 2 trust me.

Avatar image for blackroommate

not excellent but worth buying....

Avatar image for toby_hussein

Actually found this to be a worthy title.

Avatar image for skippiman

@toby_hussein yeah. wasn't that bad. I enjoyed it about as much as bf3

Avatar image for akiri1

I loved single player campaign on hard difficulty. I enjoyed it much more than battlefield 3.

Avatar image for middlecreekguy

This review does not do the online game justice. It's really one of the best shooters I've ever played and I've played all of them. Blows away the latest COD games. It's so much fun. It's not even full price now because so many reviewers didn't spend enough time with it. Hey, it's only like 15 bucks right now. Well worth the price.

Avatar image for spoogan

Just got it and only tried out the multiplayer.. its... okay... hit detection is a bit off however.

Avatar image for rooock7

I played this game beta multiplayer - IT WAS VERY FUN. (isnt' that the point?)

After reading this review, I decided not to get it. Then I played BO 2, and now I think I will - why let this guy define what works for me? and this game worked better for me than BO 2

Avatar image for spyder12tj

Good thing I did not go for the reviews. The game feels and looks awesome. I am enjoying the game right now and in fact, my brother who read the reviews is getting 1 for his XBOX 360.

Avatar image for ashfieldhammer

playing single player campaign started last night and i half way thro lovin it !!

Avatar image for lyncer777

am i the only one who actually likes the single player campaign MOHW than BLOPS II?

Avatar image for Darkauscus

This is a GOOD game....its like a more human sided Battlefield really....and "bad narrative"??? The story was awesome!!! Ever played Call Of Duty!? Now that is a f**k tart of a jumbled narrative mess...any of them...and the graphics....can't get past the graphics on COD....just GOD AWFUL....Warfighter has a GOOD story....good cutscenes, good characters and good gameplay... and obviously graphics only comparable to Battlefield 3v ....and it gets a 6.0 ----- its just ridiculous----get a grip Gamespot.....jesus....

Avatar image for deestinct

@Darkauscus You must be really high on drugs to suggest COD's campaign is a "narrative mess" and worse than MOHW...seriously, have u even played any of the modern warfare campaigns? It's a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat thrill ride with an entertaining globe-trotting story which contains numerous epic set-pieces and sometimes way more fun than watching an actual big-budget hollywood action movie. The key word here is FUN. The narrative is also really really good which is why I couldn't stop playing it, and couldn't wait for the sequels because I really cared for the characters and wanted to know what will happen next.... Sorry but in terms of the campaign I'll take COD over MOHW any fucking day....While MOHW's campaign isn't that bad for me, it is pretty bland and not innovative when compared to COD's ....Most of MOHW's campaign seems like they're trying to copy previous CODs and failing, only very few parts are different or innovative....COD meanwhile HAVE been innovating (BO2) in terms of gameplay (RTS-FPS hybrid levels in the campaign), setting (near-future), weapons & ability to select your own weapons & attachments before starting a level, and also CHOICES, which affects the story and ending. I know MOHW was trying to go the authentic route but at the same time they could have made it much more entertaining than it is currently. The only good thing it had over COD was the graphics, but that's about's a decent campaign, but nowhere near the fun and awesomeness of COD's campaigns....

Avatar image for bejokuwat

Seharusnya nilai 8.0 dari 10, Grafik yang menakjubkan memberi pengalaman yang nikmat mengesankan, meski cerita tidak begitu bagus. Ditambah lagi lagu castle of glass nya LP. mantabb.

Kata Veha "cuman diluut, kurang seru" :)

Avatar image for Jzagmen

well ,, the game is awesome and i like it ,, 6 out of 10 is unfair to be honest

i think the game scores 7.5

Avatar image for verminator83

I'm actually enjoying this game... I haven't played a modern warfare game besides COD4 and Spec Ops: the line though, so maybe I'm not as exhausted by the concept as others are? Regardless, I'd love to see MOH return to its WW2 roots, or even attempt a Vietnam era game... Frontline is still one of the best gaming experiences I've ever had.

Avatar image for Aramantha

Just dont read the reviews play it for yourself, once you read a review you go in with either high or low expectations

Avatar image for dapimp10

I just knew that this game would suck hard its just a commercial stunt to make money using real world problems in the hands of the wrong company to bring it to live !

Avatar image for CYDIB

Play it, that's my word on it. Decide for yourself what defines fun.

Avatar image for bovian

Controversial review just like RE6. I've played this game and it deserves at least 7.5 out 10. Yes this game did not offering something new in everyway, but it's quite good entertainment. Who cares about the crap like plot and storyline? it's a FPS games, where headshot matters most!

Avatar image for corteztheg

GS i find your review scores to be inaccurate, are you saying that this game is better than resident evil 6?

Avatar image for hangman000

@corteztheg They are inaccurate

Avatar image for howie1926

I'll get it when it drops to like $20 like I did the first one

Avatar image for mcshea125

I am reminded, by Tom's words, of the idea that "If you have a nation behind you, it's called war. If you are flying solo, it's called terrorism." However, the actions of the 'war' and the 'terrorists' are identical actions, and we do not rise above their behavior: We imitate it precisely. In many cases we started it in the first place! This is called "Blowback" in CIA terms: the actions of our enemies are predictable responses to the havoc we originally wrecked on their soil (e.g. pre-9/11).

I think what Tom's describing, as a preferable style of gaming, is similar to what is depicted in the excellent war film, "The Thin Red Line." In this film, U.S. soliders are depicted as virtually morally identical to Vietnamese soldiers. Both sides of the line are depicted as perpetrating the same types of acts -- since, in reality, they did -- and the viewer is introduced to the hearts and souls of both sides of the line. U.S. soldiers are shown to commit acts of atrocity, just as Vietnamese soldiers are shown to do the same. Both sides of the line are shown to have families, fantasies, thoughts, feelings, hopes, fears -- since, in reality, both sides do have all these factors at play. There is the clear message of: "Who is the enemy?" There is no distinction, in times of war. Only the pacifist can claim the morally higher ground.

Avatar image for reapersgaze

@mcshea125 "In this film, U.S. soliders are depicted as virtually morally identical to Vietnamese soldiers."/facepalm

Avatar image for Ciphas

@mcshea125 Wasn't The Thin Red Line set during the Pacific theatre of WW2?

So it would be the Japanese on the other side, not the Vietnamese.

Avatar image for mcshea125

@Ciphas You know what, you're totally right, I always get confused about that because in one scene in the movie they're in a field and they pass a group of native Cambodians. But you're right, they were showing some of the soldiers who were encamped there at the time. Truth.

So, whatever I said before, only use "Japanese" instead of "Vietnamese," LOL. ;)

Avatar image for mcshea125

@alpinestars27 @mcshea125 @Ciphas Sure. The natives I am describing were Cambodians, from what the director said, in interviews. During the Pacific theater of WWII, we did have troops throughout the area, not focused solely on Japan, for instance they often did re-fueling runs to China, though they wound up spending just as much fuel on the run itself. In any case like I said earlier, I was mixing up WWII & Vietnam due to the Cambodian individuals shown in the film, because many U.S. soldiers were stationed in Cambodia during the Vietnamese conflict. This was the nature of my confusion. But whether we are talking about WWII or Vietnam, my point is still the same; I was only trying to illustrate the way that 'the enemy' was shown to be human the same way 'the good guys' were also shown to be human. No offense to any group was intended. It was just that contrast I was speaking of.

Avatar image for alpinestars27

@mcshea125 @Ciphas The movie was based on James Jones book, set in Guadalcanal. The natives weren't Cambodian, and were Solomon Islanders. Sorry man, I'm shaking my head in you know where Cambodia is??

Avatar image for corteztheg

@mcshea125 smart words, for a Commie!!! just kidding, that was good reasoning, i am definitely going to watch the thin red line.

Avatar image for mcshea125

@corteztheg Lol, thanks coreztheg, I appreciate it. I think you'll like "The Thin Red Line" a lot. It didn't get nearly enough attention -- it was totally snubbed at the Oscars -- but that's probably because it came out at the same time as "Saving Private Ryan." Good luck competing with that! LOL.

Avatar image for Crewdogg15

I honestly think that this was a great game. I admit, multiplayer sucks hard, but the campaign in moh beat the COD campaigns. The last black ops campaign was boring in many levels and found myself passing out through some of it. I dont understand why people rag on this game, this is a great game. I think people want to hate it because there are lots of games coming out and they cant afford to get all of them, so they believe they will hate it. Maybe because i am military and see how accurate this game is. To each is their own, i think a guy loving RPGs shouldn't be reviewing shooters. They are 2 totally different types of people. Gamespot's rating system sucks. People are rating on what the games should of been in their eyes, not just what they are.

Avatar image for corteztheg

@Crewdogg15 dude you might be military, but we are gamers with a checklist and sorry man but this game stepped backwards. its like deciding that Jarheads was a better military movie than Hurt locker or splinter conviction and blacklist was a better covert ops game than chaos theory and mgs 3.

Avatar image for Spartacus073

Good review. I agree with the comments about single-player. I find the multi-player fun. The Blackhawk needs some work and they should have made the environments more destructible but it falls into a good time waster until the holiday blockbusters hit the stores.

Avatar image for Klikandclick

It's not a bad game, it's just....not good either. Maybe I'll pick it up when the price drops.

Avatar image for corteztheg

@Klikandclick aye aye

Avatar image for wwlettsome

Not really a surprise. And there's no way a game from EA is going to be anything more than this as we wind down this console gen. They are playing it 100% safe and as a result it's like a summer Hollywood blockbuster. It's everything you've seen 100 tiimes before rolled up into a shiny new package.

Coming next month BlOps 2 selling 870 gajillion copies because they have zombies you see!

Avatar image for hallgren

Thanks for the review Kevin, Just Like Brad @giantbomb you both did a great job of pointing out it's strengths and weaknesses. Unlike most sites that just killed the game because they had already prejudged this title. I am playing it, I will probably enjoy the single player and then move on to the stack of games waiting to be played and the ones coming out this week. you are one of the few reviewers on this site that I like to read, keep it up!

Avatar image for dw9872

I think Staff is a pretty cool guy. Eh reviews gaems and doesn't afraid of anything.

Avatar image for dw9872

@dw9872 For those of you who don't get it...

Avatar image for Klikandclick

@dw9872 Don't worry man, I got the joke.

Avatar image for gibson13601

@dw9872 what? I hope you were just typing to fast...because if ya dont know proper english....dont bother

Avatar image for uncfan21

@gibson13601 @dw9872 no offense but "ya" isn't proper english either...

Avatar image for Epicurus-Reborn

honestly i think this game just came with really bad timing. These FPS's should have been getting 6 and 7s back when black ops came out. (maybe earlier?) Its just now that the reviewers are finally bold enough to admit it. Yeah i could play this game, or i could get modern warfare 1 for 10$ and have just as much fun. (which is what i did 2 years ago haha.) But, it is a bit of shame that this is the game that finally gets called out for being derivative. It should have happened a long time ago.....

Avatar image for Dieofnv

@oleo789 then why are you here ??

Avatar image for Epicurus-Reborn

@Dieofnv to trolllolololololol us.

Avatar image for June-GS

@Epicurus-Reborn @Dieofnv LAWL. Yeah.

Medal of Honor: Warfighter More Info

  • First Released Oct 23, 2012
    • PC
    • PlayStation 3
    • Xbox 360
    Medal of Honor Warfighter is an up close and personal look at today's battlefield and the fight against the ongoing global terror threat.
    Average Rating1372 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Medal of Honor: Warfighter
    Developed by:
    Danger Close
    Published by:
    Electronic Arts
    First-Person, Shooter, 3D, Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Blood, Intense Violence, Strong Language