Wot I Think – Medal Of Honor: Warfighter Singleplayer

By John Walker on October 29th, 2012 at 11:00 am.

That looks foreign! Blow it up!

Medal Of Honor: Warfighter came out around the world last week. Review code wasn’t offered to us, hence no review for release. We bought a copy, and I’ve spent the weekend trudging through it. Despite discovering I didn’t even want to start playing, I’m now ready to tell you wot I think.

Traditionally, when reviewing a game, it’s important to have played it before starting. That’s not how I’m going to begin, because I’ve literally not done a single thing in this game and I already have something to say.

An opening sequence shows your player character rising silently from some water, gun in hand, as he slowly makes his way to the shore. Stood on the riverbank is a man, his back to you, warming his hands over a barrel. We don’t see his face, we don’t know who he is, he’s just a guy, wearing a headscarf, standing by a fire.

It then goes to a first person view, your gun held out, a targeting reticule placed over the back of his head, and you’re told to click to fire. You’re technically in control, but while you can move the mouse a fraction, it’s not possible to move the target away from his head. You cannot move from the spot you’re stood on. You can do literally nothing other than shoot this stranger, about whom you know nothing, in the back of his head. That’s your only possible interaction, in the opening second of the game. And I don’t want to click.

Because I’m reviewing this game, I’m obliged to click. Because I’ve spent Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s money buying this game, I’m obliged to click. But I have absolutely no desire to proceed any further, and I’ve yet to do anything. Welcome to Medal Of Honor: Warfighter.

So I played for a bit. Charged with the crime of having a towel on his head, that first guy had to die. And then everyone else who was facing toward me for the next few levels. Not a single original idea was on display, and indeed many standard ideas were absent. But at least I can say that lessons have been learned since the first game, and this time are you are occasionally allowed to go in front.

It’s like playing an FPS with stabilisers on. You pedal, you go forward, but there’s absolutely no danger of your tipping to the left or the right. You do what it says, when it says it, and absolutely nothing else. If the game decides you aren’t to climb over the rubble, a lot like the rubble you were just told to climb over, then it’ll take away your ability to jump. If you’re meant to run forward, no matter how stupid that seems with the volume of enemies ahead, it’ll keep spawning them until you do. When you do, they’ll have all mysteriously rushed off on holiday. Paths are militantly regimented (Don’t start a pun thread, John – Pun Fearing Ed), deviation is not an option. As I just found out to extraordinary cost at the next moment where I’ve stopped playing to write some more.

With a large clear road ahead of me, having shot a million men who apparently did something wrong (but the game has made no attempt to say what) I figured I’d – you know – keep running forward.

“OUT OF GAME ZONE!” is shouted at me, in a message that took so long to finish animating itself on screen that by the time it was legible its countdown was almost done. I turned around and ran back, but not quickly enough, and dropped down dead.

Not shot by a pretend enemy, or blown up by an airstrike, or even eaten by a rogue shark. I just died of not doing what I was told, despite not realising I’d been told not to do it. I just keeled over in the middle of the road, and received the “You died” message. Because… because I explored an open area of the level in a single player game? What? And with the game’s use of sparing checkpoints, and its agonising load times (it takes 30 seconds just to quit to the main menu), well, I thought I’d come write to you about it before going back. Wish me luck!

I haven’t been gone long! An extraordinary sequence in which you’re sniping rooftop enemies from a distant building (I know – the originality, eh?), demonstrates once again what a mad, paranoid game this is. There are lots of enemies, but only a few with RPGs. They’re your targets. Three highlighted at first, and you snipe them each in any order. It doesn’t really matter if you aim for their heads, or the sky near their heads – they still go down. Oh, but only their heads. Bullets from your massively powerful sniper rifle don’t even impact an enemy if they hit them anywhere else on their body. Then two new enemies run in on a roof further to the right – swing over there to take these two out, both highlighted as targets. Except, you can only hit one of them.

Despite their being stood next to each other, it doesn’t matter how many times you shoot the guy on the right, he’s invincible, because the game’s script says the guy on the left dies first. Sure, it says you can hit either, but you can’t, because that’s not was etched in stone tablets at Mount Danger Close. So you can amuse yourself by shooting him again and again directly in the middle of his face, as your companion gibbers nonsense like “A little higher, that would be a headshot.” No, a little higher and that would be a centre parting. “Just right,” he criticises as you fire exactly on target. And you can do that for as long as you like, because all of time and space will stop at this point while you fill Captain Invincible with bullets. Finally relent to the game’s mad needs and shoot the guy on the left, and Cpt Invincy runs to a new position, fires an RPG you can’t stop him from firing despite being told to, and then gracefully lets you kill him.

This then causes two new targets to appear on a hotel rooftop on the far right. These two you have to take out in a couple of shots, because failure to do so means a helicopter gets shot down. One of them I can take down fine. The other – he doesn’t show his head until the second he fires at the chopper, and shooting him in his back, bum and legs does nothing whatsoever. I’ve yet to work out which part of the script I’m not following, so I’ve sure shot those first few guys a lot! Back to it!

Ahhhh – I was meant to shot the sky above and to the right of his head, because this game that has infinite ammo for both this sniper rifle and my handgun had suddenly decided it was incredibly realistic. Now a completely incongruous, heavily rubber-banded car chase!

It’s around this time that the game has started resizing itself at random, entirely ignoring its settings, and running itself in a tiny window instead of my desktop resolution. It’s something to do with the rendered cutscenes, but on exiting them the game stays teeny tiny, while the options pretend they’re at the correct resolution. Amazingly the solution is going into a windowed mode, and stretching the window back to fullscreen.

So I’ve been playing for two or three hours. Here’s what the game gets right: sometimes it’s a shooting gallery. Still one of those ones where if you don’t advance at the arbitrarily designated moments it will last for infinity, but you’ve got guns, baddies pop up, and when you shoot them – most of the time – they fall down. That’s about it, really. And that’s when your fellow soldiers don’t push you out of cover, or make it physically impossible to run away from a grenade, hail of bullets, etc. And their habit of standing next to enemies without noticing them makes me pretty certain they’re not really on my side.

There’s clearly been an attempt to improve on the previous game’s complete lack of autonomy. Stockholm Syndrome eventually kicks in and you stop even trying to deviate from the path the other soldiers take, but at least here it lets you take most of the kills. There are moments where it can’t help itself, and it starts playing the game for you, while you dawdle along behind, a broom in your hand, whistling. But then it’ll give you a car or a boat chase to help you forget, which are surprisingly well realised if far, far too long.

The Frostbite 2 engine looks lovely, and the locations can be absolutely enormous. Clearly huge effort has gone into crafting the play areas (just so long as you don’t explore, of course!), but unfortunately the aesthetic improvements on the genre aren’t matched by a single other thing.

There’s not a glimmer of originality in any of the combat. Enemies still pop in and out of cover, making sure to put their heads back where they were for ease of being shot. They still glitch and blip, occasionally even teleporting right in front of you, and have two modes: uselessly standing still while you riddle them with bullets, or aiming with unerring precision from fifty billion miles away while completely obscured by the game’s clutter. There’s nothing modern about this warfare, with no options for special magic glasses that highlight enemy locations. Instead it’s a game of: where’s the brown faced man behind the seventeen walls in front of you.

Here’s my attempt at telling you the game’s story. There’s familiar names from the first game – Dusty, Mother, Tea Towel, Hopscotch and Clingfilm – and you switch back and forth between them in no discernible pattern, while the cutscenes tell you about some guy in a hospital whose wife is upset with him but he just has to go back to the thing about the thing that possibly hasn’t been revealed yet, but there’s a thing about pirates, and something called PETN, and it’s all inspired by real events! Meanwhile, no matter who you play you get no sense of anything unique, instead just running along and shooting like you always do.

Those real life events have caused lots of controversy for the obviously distasteful nature of wanting to include them, but in the end the game’s such a homogenous puddle that even this doesn’t have any impact on the experience. It’s all running forward and shooting the foreigners, while other soldiers shout inane nonsense until it stops again.

The most peculiar thing about its zig-zagging attempt at telling a story is this bizarre repeated theme in cutscenes of not showing you the face of the guy coordinating all the troops from his bunker. It’s beardy guy from the first game. You know it is because you can hear his voice, and he’s the only guy who hasn’t appeared. But it persists and persists with this bizarre conceit, each time revealing a tiny bit more of the guy you already know it is, until finally, no way! It’s beardy guy from the first game! As if there’s a human being on Earth who could give a sub atomic particle of a shit about him.

And I’ve finished. The further the game goes on, the more it becomes a morbid study of brutal violence. Rather than shooting strangers in the back of the head, now you’re smashing their faces against car bonnets and breaking their necks. And then, as it to try to apologise for itself, it all finishes with a sickly treacle funeral, and a display of messages that inform us of the bravery of these men. Men, note. While it’s no surprise that yet another military game lives in denial that there are female soldiers, the closing message is a real kick in the face for anyone who’s lost a wife, mother or daughter.

“Real life super heroes exist; they walk among us every day, ready to defend our great nation and its citizens in a moment’s notice. They are husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons capable of staring death in the face…”

Nice.

Overall it’s yet another average corridor shooter, plagued with stupid glitches, terrible AI, murderous teammates, and a desperate, paranoid need to stop you from deviating from its cast-iron script. But its single player is not any worse than that in the rest of its ilk – the low marks this one’s getting are appropriate, but feel like an industry catching up to the tedium it’s been giving 9s for so long. There’s nothing more offensive here because it claims it’s based on real-life events – so were the first three Call Of Duty games, and that was often met with respect. It’s just dull. Noisy, constantly trying to disguise itself with exploding buildings and shouted intensity. But an obnoxiously noisy pub is no less a boring place to spend time in bad company than a quiet one.

In a year that includes a Dishonored, the ludicrous nature of its enforced paths and complete lack of genuine interaction is further highlighted for what it is: a ghost train without any surprises. It often looks good, and when it’s not screwing up you can engage in extended moments of popping heads in that satisfying target practice way. But then it interrupts itself with its uber-clumsy story, unearned preaching, and glitch-infested AI. It’s not hateful – it’s just boring.

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196 Comments »

  1. Inigo says:

    WARFARCE

  2. kukouri says:

    Wow. All I can say is just WOW.

  3. Stellar Duck says:

    ” Sure, it says you can hit either, but you can’t, because that’s not was etched in stone tablets at Mount Danger Ward.”

    I can’t figure out if this is a jab at the fact that the game is cloned from the mold made by Infinity Ward or just a slip of the fingers.

  4. Dowr says:

    Can I say I’m surprised?
    No, no I can’t.

    • GoJays2025 says:

      Yeah I thought it’d just be another modern shooter like CoD or BF3 or the last MoH. I really dislike these games for being so linear as well as holding your hand throughout the entire game, telling you exactly what to do, highlighting everyone you need to kill, putting up all kinds of invisible walls, etc. Although this game sounds particularly bad with all the above complaints. I’ll pass.

      • Eukatheude says:

        Well, i played MOH 2010 and it was much, much worse than any COD or singleplayer BF.

  5. WoundedBum says:

    Surprising!

    Saddening though, while not a great game I’ve been playing MoH Airborne recently and concept of parachuting into a small sandbox is a nice idea and I appreciate the freedom when compared to this. And that this is so utterly awful is a shame too because although it was flawed 2010′s slightly scaled down story when compared to CoD and well acted teammates at least gave a slightly more personal touch especially near the ending.

    I don’t hold out lots of hope but maybe, just maybe those optional mission type things in Black Ops 2 can freshen things a bit.

    • djbriandamage says:

      Loved Airborne even though it also suffered from Who-Shot-Me-itis.

      • aldo_14 says:

        Airborne was surprisingly good, I thought. Not a classic by any means, but the central conceit made it more interesting. Even if you ended up following scripted assaults anyway.

        That Flakturm was a pain in the ass, though.

        • Amaraen says:

          I looked past everything that made it silly and found enjoyment.

          That flak tower was absolutely ridiculous. But my word it looked pretty.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Yeah, airborne was good but not great. The sense physicality of the player character was really impressive, as was the whole aim and lean thing. It got silly, but I like silly.

    • mouton says:

      Airborne had a great concept and I love the jump freedom, but the usual CoD-style shooting gallery mechanics killed my interest after a few missions.

  6. GernauMorat says:

    Can we stop making these now? I used to quite like the early CODS and MOH, now their just flogging the corpses

    • RaveTurned says:

      They’ll stop making them when idiots stop buying them… :/

      • MortalWombat says:

        Honestly I believe a lot of those “idiots” are kids and teens who don’t know any better because they’ve grown up on call of duty, facebook and twilight… I find it honestly unethical for big companies to profit on harming young people either directly by teaching them stupid stuff or indirectly by preventing them from learning anything meaningful.
        I don’t want to say that young people can’t cope with the depiction of violence but it all has to have a meaning. This really is – as Jonathan Blow put it – the equivalent of fast food – harmful, gready, unethical and immoral. And all they’re doing is “giving the players what they want” just like McDonalds just gives the people what they want… sure thing.

        • pepper says:

          Didnt we all buy a game as a kid that looked cool on the box but turned out to be utter shit?

          • Nihilist says:

            Sure, but did we buy part 2, 3,4 and 5 also and all the other rip offs that were available? I didn’t’.

          • Ilinx says:

            Hell, I’m still doing it. Although now it’s not the box, it’s the long-awaited sequel to one of the better games from back when I was first buying games. Which then sucks.

          • Nick says:

            Yeah, I bought Force Commander, my first ever shit game purchase. Of course, that was after a certain rapscallion reviewed it well ¬_¬

          • MortalWombat says:

            Yeah, it happens to me twice a year still… I somehow fell for BF3 and Diablo III, quickly realised my mistake and then realised that I can’t even sell them, goddamit.

            You could argue that both of my “mistakes” are at least pretty well crafted (DIII definitely more so than BF3) but still, both of those just reek of commercial interest and manipulation in an almost Farmville’ish fashion. It just feels very, very disrespectful if you felt it once. They serve you the same meal over and over again and more or less trick you into giving them your money.

            I think that “entertainment” and meaning, real challenge and honesty aren’t mutually exclusive. Maybe MoH: Warfighter will even help in that regard, seeing how bad the reviews are. Maybe it will raise a bit of a discourse in the industry.

            As for all the faceshooters out there:
            A game depicts WAR – something so incomprehensible, inhumane and cruel – and presents it as being something that is a fucking lot of fun (that’s what all the war FPS games are about mechanically – having fun shooting stuff). Not only that, it also makes it look as cool as possible to appeal to as many kids as possible.

            How is that not blatantly evil?

            Edit: got the sequel indices all wrooong…

          • TsunamiWombat says:

            Did you mean DIII? Because DII is a 10 year old game and if you didn’t know what you were getting by now…

          • MortalWombat says:

            I meant D3, indeed. And also, I meant BF3… Brain? Anybody in there? Geez….

        • derbefrier says:

          What a bunch of BS. You really think a double cheese burger is the epitome of evil in this world? Get a grip man its just a video game. we have all been playing games like this for years. Do you remember when you were a kid? Did shooting a few pixels warp your view of reality or was it just mindless fun? I guess I am confused about what point your trying to make here. How is putting out a new MOH game any worse or somehow immoral compared to the the many shitty Doom clones from back in the day or even the First CoD and MoH games that are generally well received but are just as violent as these newer games. Horrible generic games are not something new here. Maybe when you were a kid you were too dumb to tell the difference or more likely, you just didn’t care because you had fun playing it and that’s all that mattered.

          • MortalWombat says:

            No, I’m not trying to hit the argument of “violence in games is bad and creates violent people” that people who never even played a game use or used to use all the time.

            I’m trying to say, that it’s in every way better to use the millions and millions of dollars that are spent creating the next CoD to actually make a thematically interesting, well designed, challenging and maybe beautiful (not in the sense of more polygons) game. And if it contains violence than it better do it for a reason and with nuance and honesty.

            The immorality is not in the violence or even the theme, it’s in the intention, execution and lack of thoughtfulness. I really don’t think the guys that develop todays blockbuster games develop the game that they would want to buy and play. They develop the game that sells. THAT’s the difference.

            All this pubescent fantasy escapism is cool every now and then but it’s definitely not all that games can be.

          • Ateius says:

            “I really don’t think the guys that develop todays blockbuster games develop the game that they would want to buy and play. They develop the game that sells.”

            That’s exactly the case. If I may paraphrase TUN – Many of the games we recall so fondly were developed by studios whose primary goal was making videogames. Making money was a necessary sub-goal, since making videogames costs money. Their passion was creating the games.

            Today, the mega-publishers have the primary goal of making money. Making videogames is just a necessary sub-goal, since selling videogames makes money. Their passion is turning a proft, and the developers under them (particularly in-house) don’t have a great amount of freedom.

      • Grey Ganado says:

        I’m sorry, I bought it for the multiplayer. :(

        • Kestilla says:

          Yeah I’ve been thinking. Why are people dumping on these games for their pitiful singleplayer offerings? PC Gamer rated Battlefield 3 down because of its lame singleplayer, but is anyone still playing it singleplayer? How many people never even touched the singleplayer?

          It’s Battlefield. I understand that Medal of Honor and Call of Duty came from an era where both titles were mainly focused on singleplayer, but that was a while ago. These are now online competitive shooters that are in open competition with each other – why haven’t I heard anyone go into detail about the one part of the game people are actually buying it for in droves? Because the singleplayer linear rail shooting of the recent Call of Duty titles was never destined to move very many copies.

          • Ateius says:

            You are at a restaurant advertised as a five-star experience. The waiter comes with your order and sets down a series of platters. In the centre of the table is a beautiful arrangement of finger-foods, appetizers and hors d’ouevres, all looking delicious and delicately arranged to advertise the beauty of the food.

            Then, in front of you and your dinner date, are placed small, sad plates of clearly microwaved potatoes, limp greens and tough, overcooked steak.

            “Waiter,” you object, “This looks terrible. I’m paying quite a lot for this, and I heard this restaurant has been getting rave reviews.”

            “But monsieur,” the waiter replies, “That is only the personal meal experience. Nobody comes here for that. It is all about the shared meal,” he gestures to the platter of hors d’ouevres, “which as you can see, is delectable.”

            “Then why am I being charged for this awful dreck if I am not expected to eat it?” you riposte, pointing to the rapidly-cooling dish of reheated awful, but the waiter has already left.

          • LennyLeonardo says:

            Good story.

          • MattM says:

            I feel like the “Its all about the MP” argument only gets brought out in forums by fans of the game trying to shut down criticism of the single player campaigns in the COD and MOH games. The publishers and the developers don’t seem to believe this. In advertisements and previews they promote the SP as a major part of the game. Reading forums can give people a skewed sense of the market for these games since the kind of people who post tend to be long term MP players. Although the hours played of theses games is dominated by MP, I think the sales are pretty evenly divided between SP and MP (or people who want both). The publishers could focus on MP the way games like Unreal Tournament, TF2, Quake III did but they don’t want to give up the SP sales .
            I think its good when reviewers make a clear distinction between their opinions on the SP and on the MP in games like this since there is an audience for each and many are happy if the mode they want is good even if the other mode is awful.

            Ateius makes a good point, if the SP really was throwaway then the publisher could give it away as a promotional tool for the MP. They don’t because it is product they want to sell and they know there is a market for it.

          • Caiman says:

            I don’t get why people buy these games for multiplayer either, because EA and Activision are basically selling you the exact same game with slightly different graphics every single year. Just as they’re doing with their sports franchises.

      • fish99 says:

        The human race is 98% idiots, so good look with that.

        • NightKid says:

          For someone being overly condescending, the fact that you can’t spell luck properly makes you an …?

          • Synesthesia says:

            Zing!
            It is true that bad taste will always, always make more millioinaires than good taste.

    • serioussgtstu says:

      There was a great mission in the first medal of honour, I think it was set in Casa Blanca where not only did you play as a female spy, but you were actively discouraged from shooting people! This franchise is going backwards at an astounding rate.

      • Jupiah says:

        The second game in the series, Medal of Honor: Underground, starred a female spy in the French Resistance! How far the series has fallen that they’ve gone from having female protagonists to pretending female soldiers don’t exist…

        • Eukatheude says:

          Danger Close developed only the last two games, i think.

  7. Lambchops says:

    “Paths are militantly regimented (Don’t start a pun thread, John – Pun Fearing Ed), deviation is not an option.

    If you boil this quote down to its corps it’s basically asking for some puns.

    • Ta'Lon says:

      Don’t take it too far or you’ll see a major problem turn up.

    • Nemon says:

      I don’t think we should medal with that stuff here, your honor.

    • Man Raised by Puffins says:

      Hah! Good luck, John. You’ll not dragoon us so easily.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      I thought the general attitude towards puns was that they warrant corporal punishment?

    • Morlock says:

      I agree with the editor. You can always make bad puns in private. You should have kept ‘em to yourselves.

    • Durkonkell says:

      I’m opposed to this sort of thing in General. It’s puns that will one day bring this Company down.

    • BoZo says:

      I’m not sure if fighting a war against puns is the right path to take.

    • ThinkAndGrowWitcher says:

      There should be more people rebelling against this kind of punnage. Inseargants, if you will.

    • The Random One says:

      And yet, we soldier on.

    • Skabooga says:

      The problem of puns is not simply one that you can have captain sealed. It is a leviathan which cannot be contained.

    • McDan says:

      I think we can agree that these readers have done admirably in showing we can rise to the pun challenge.

    • SlappyBag says:

      I’m glad this thread has started and put ACOG in the editors plans.

    • Adriaan says:

      It’s always the same drill with these treads… They oughta start marshalling punners away from serious comment sections.

      • MultiVaC says:

        I think there’s a colonel of truth to that statement.

        • wild_quinine says:

          What’s wrong with the odd pun? They’re not ‘arming anyone.

  8. Nemon says:

    And not a single fudge was given as John pretty much played, hated and finished the game for all of us. I wish someone tried something new with this genre, Shirley there must be someone out there with some ideas that might make AAA-shooters interesting again?

    • jayc4life says:

      There is someone out there, but their name’s not Shirley.

    • Maritz says:

      Don’t call me Shirley.

      Edit: damn, too slow

    • RedViv says:

      Waggleton P. Tallylicker, you will be missed.

    • gschmidl says:

      Spec Ops: The Line deconstructs them, at least.

      Maybe everyone should just take a 20 year hiatus from FPS, cover-based shooters and zombie games, then cash in on the nostalgia.

    • MattM says:

      I love shooters that break new ground but I like shooters enough that I enjoy a well executed shooter with its own style even if it doesn’t have much originality. I think that without breaking new ground there is still room for a huge amount of improvement in COD style shooters. Playing the campaigns in these games feels like taking a shower in a tiny stall. I am constantly trying to move only to bang my arms into the walls.

  9. Coflash says:

    You just know that COD will still score well (maybe not here, but everywhere else), even though there isn’t much difference at the end of the day. Not between games. Same old, same old. It won’t matter. They throw too much money at everything.

    • udat says:

      I think they’ll give COD a seven.

    • Phinor says:

      Call of Duty SP campaigns are a lot better than what this game offers. The difference is very obvious to anyone who actually plays these games. They aren’t perfect or maybe even great campaigns but even so, Call of Duty is so far ahead of Worffighter that there has to be many, many Metacritic numbers separating the two. It’s not like CoD games are scoring high 90s in Metacritic, MW3 has a Metacritic score of 78, Black Ops is slightly higher at 81. (Although it seems the console versions are scoring much higher but that’s how it usually goes with these games.)

      • welverin says:

        Yeah, but those scores are probably more about the multiplayer than the single player. It’s not the MW3 SP that’s in the Steam top ten played list at the moment.

  10. Carbonated Dan says:

    ‘more reflections and bloom than cod’ – IGN.com

  11. Archipelagos says:

    Off to search through YouTube to find this closing message thing. Scorching review tho.

    EDIT: Okay, found it. Yep, dismal as expected.

  12. MortalWombat says:

    I’m honestly disgusted that they deliberately aim games like this at kids (teens) who cannot yet know better. I would be ashamed to work on such a game but I would be even more ashamed if I were the one getting rich by selling it. Capitalism has come a long way…

    • Tuor says:

      The military-industrial complex always is in need of new blood.

      And there’s a reason why (in the US) you can enlist at 17 but only drink alchohol legally at 21.

      • elmo.dudd says:

        That reason is because the alcohol drinking age was raised by congress to 21 in an attempt to combat drunk driving, fearing it was magnified by the lack of driving experience among younger drinkers, and not wanting to punish youth who did not drink.

        Also it is 17.5, with parental consent, effective at 18. Not 17.

        • Brun says:

          This. The drinking age was raised from an age varying by state (usually 18) to 21 in 1984. There is no hard limit, however the law withholds all Federal funding from states that permit sale of alcohol to people under age 21. So for many years (and many conflicts) the drinking age was the same as the legal enlistment age in most states.

        • Tuor says:

          You can nitpick all you want, but the fact remains that you can go out, join the military, and kill people at 18 (17 with parental consent, but 17 nonetheless), you can vote at 18, but apparently you can’t show enough judgement to drink until you’re 21. Thems the facts: judgement to help kill people at 18, but to drink responsibly not until 21.

      • sinister agent says:

        Meanwhile, in the UK, you can get married and fart out two kids from age 16, but you can’t vote or drive the family car, and if you send your fiancee a sexy picture before the wedding night, you’re distributing child porn. Oh, and it’s illegal for you to buy a pair of scissors.

        Governments draw lines in the sand based on a bajillion factors, and “what other lines have we drawn” is seldom high on the list. It’s not a conspiracy – just the nature of piecemeal lawmaking.

        • Tuor says:

          All I meant by “reason why” is that at that age, people really don’t have very good judgement and are easy to manipulate (because they usually think they know everything). It doesn’t require a conspiracy, only a knowledge of the psychological development of human beings.

          • sinister agent says:

            I was going to say “But then what does that have to do with the age of consent for drinking?”, but it’s just occurred to me that I may have misunderstood your point. Sorry about that. I see what you meant now.

  13. Vorphalack says:

    ”it’s just boring” – RPS

    …should be prominently displayed on every box.

  14. Pharos says:

    John, you have my sympathies for having had to play this. I think this is the first FPS game I’ve played where the control scheme made me quite inconsolably irritated. The movement commands feel like treacle, and the crosshair doesn’t go where I point it! I can only assume some bright spark thought it would be clever to model the guns’ weight, and force the player to account for that momentum when aiming rapidly, but it’s just annoying and impossible to shoot anything accurately.

    In the end, I gave up after the car chase. I think this was the first manshoot where I died multiple times on easy mode. In fact, I died more in that beach assault level (after the docks thing, I guess?) than the entirety of Modern Warfare 2.

  15. Prime says:

    I think we’ll just have to get used to the fact that, just like actual shit, these un-games are now a fact of life, are enormously unpleasant, no fun (unless you’re the kind of sub-human illiterate who gets a laugh from sticking some in a bag and leaving it on someones porch, or simply flinging it at your enemies), and is best disposed of down the nearest toilet bowl.

    I’d actually vote for these steaming piles to never again feature on RPS unless substantial gameplay improvements somehow fight their way into proceedings. They’re not games; they’re hyper-macho machinama with a modicum of interactivity.

    At the very least let’s save poor John from having to endure another one.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      C’mon man, careful what you say about shit. I’ve had some BMs that are probably more fun than Warfarter

      • RedWurm says:

        My last bowel movement was legendary. I had to kill it with a shovel, you know.

  16. hemmingjay says:

    Most of this harsh review is accurate. That being said, the multiplayer is some of the best I have ever experienced and it has dragged me away from Planetside 2 since it released. It is a terrific refinement on the CoD style MP.

  17. BobbyDylan says:

    I find it very interesting that this game is getting slated in the press. It’s almost like reviewers are actually catching on that these games are dogshit, something gamers have known for years. I mean, just play BF3′s SP (Yes, I know it’s a MP game) to see a 8.9 rated scripted corridor shooter filled with bugs and clippling issues.

    Anyway, good things, EA getting slated. I’m a happy camper.

    • John Mirra says:

      BF3 SP had some real military atmosphere and suspence of techno thriller sometimes. Sure it wasn’t that great but it was much better than this Conflict Participant.

  18. Hazzard65 says:

    This game is obviously aimed at 10 year old male Americans with the most rudimentary, school yard hearsay/ main Stream media understanding of world events.

    Their job is to be the gun toting hero, wrapped in an American flag who sacrifices thousands of bullets to stop the ever increasingly threatening tidal wave of AK-47 wielding brown people who’s soul purpose is to murder, Mame and terrorize the cast of Glee.

    You simply can’t expect this demographic to make decisions for themselves. It isn’t fair. Asking them to choose between turning left, center or right is quite frankly, subversive and If I didn’t know better I might think this is an Al-Qaeda recruitment website.

    Also, where do you get off claiming that anyone with a towel on their head could be innocent, or that some sort of justification is required for killing them. You obviously don’t have a clue about world events.

    • Davee says:

      But at least the game is ‘authentic’ and based on real-world events, right? *giggles*

    • Danorz says:

      JOHN WARFIGHTER, PRESS X TO SHOOT THE RAGHE NI GOOK SKINNY

    • phelix says:

      If the brown-faced men’s mission is to kill the cast of Glee, they will have my blessing.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      Why bother to make constructive decisions when the Military Industrial Complex can do it for us?

    • x1501 says:

      Yes, yes, those infamous American ten-year-olds. The good ol’ U. S. of Duh. The always sophisticated European audience, on the other hand, is just too highly cultured and politically correct to ever be interested in the kind of jingoistic lowbrow trash those dumb American man-children always seem to be all too eager to enjoy. This is why the CoD games are the highest selling games in U.K. history, why most of puerile American garbage like Transformers or Battleship or whatever usually turns out to be just as popular and profitable in Europe as it does back in the U.S., and also why MoH: Warfighter— a game that is getting some of the worst reviews of the year so far—just took the top spot of the U.K. videogames sales chart.

      • Grape says:

        Oooh, I was waiting for some obligatory Yanktard to get pissy. x1501 did not disappoint.

        God, you fucking embarrass yourself.

        • x1501 says:

          By addressing an obvious fallacy and pointing out that that the rest of the world has its own share of dullards to worry about? Yes, how extremely embarrassing.

          And by the way, I’m from Europe, you presumptuous bigot. If I’m this embarrassing, does that make me one of those stupid American ten-year-olds? I swear, these guys are everywhere!

        • jonfitt says:

          x1501 has a good point and your rebuttal is without merit.

          The idea that all the masses of people playing these games in Europe are somehow all playing ironically, and aren’t also reveling in the jingoistic war love is ridiculous.

          Hazzard65′s point isn’t even accurate, a significant part of Infinity Ward’s games has taken place with SAS characters (All the main MW protagonists are SAS).

  19. Danorz says:

    Don’t forget how the soldiers throw around “Skinnies” like it wasn’t a racial epithet, that’s great that is.

    • phuzz says:

      Maybe it’s a Robert Heinlein reference?
      There was an alien race in Starship Troopers (the book) referred to as ‘skinnies’.

      Ha, as if they’d read a book before they made this :)

  20. Cyhwuhx says:

    Now there’s no more excuse for anyone to not play Spec Ops: The Line.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Doesn’t it basically play the same way, just with better narrative?

      • AmateurScience says:

        In spec ops, the shonky gunplay is a metaphor for…something. Here it’s just shonky.

      • Jupiah says:

        In Spec Ops: The Line you barely even notice the shonky gameplay because you’re so immersed in the fantastically grim and horrifying atmosphere and narrative.

        Seriously I never consciously noticed how rough and unpolished the combat was until I was replaying the game for achievements.

  21. Radiant says:

    My nephew loves this game.
    He’s 15 years old and this game is aimed squarely at him.

    • MortalWombat says:

      Yeah I wrote something on that further up… I don’t know how they can make and sell this game and still sleep at night with a clear conscience.

    • Archipelagos says:

      That’s depressing. Mind you, my nephew is 16 and mocks his dad for loving CoD / MW, so not all hope is lost.

    • Radiant says:

      Talking with him I get that it’s not so much the story or morality of the game but the spectacle.

      On that note I’d bloody love a good light gun game.

  22. jkz says:

    So only about a 72% then?

  23. biggergun says:

    This sounds distinctly like Call of Duty One, which I played back in 2003.

    • John Walker says:

      Well, I can assure you it’s nothing like that superb game.

      • biggergun says:

        Yes, that one was actually fun as far as I remeber.

        • Groove says:

          I was trying to think back to how much I loved Call of Duty 2 back in the day, and thinking how similar it seems to this. Then I realised that it’s exactly like this, but without most of the criticisms.

          It had huge spectacles like the beach landing, except in that game you could actually approach it in different ways. It had huge input from squadmates, but if you didn’t participate then your squad would throw themselves into the meatgrinder and die. They would often be replaced by similarly faceless mooks for the next section, but that didn’t help you until then. Invisible walls just weren’t a big deal since they were almost always an actual wall, a minefield, or an area under bombardment.

  24. DarkLiberator says:

    Its funny because the multiplayer is somewhat decent now, but the singleplayer is just so generic. Do these people even try?

  25. Lobotomist says:

    I just wish these would be the last we see from this god awful genre. Just as II World War shooters evolved into Modern War shooters. Its time now for next step. Cops and Gangs come to mind….

  26. DiamondDog says:

    There was a bit right at the start of Giant Bomb’s Quick Look that told me everything really. At a certain point a huge explosion at a dock causes lots of shipping containers to fall down around you. The miraculous thing wasn’t that none of them hit you, but that they fell in such a way as to create the perfect tunnel that you can’t deviate from, and serves to funnel you to the next area.

    It just seemed like the people designing that level thought fuck it, we know this is bullshit, the audience knows this is bullshit, but it gets you from A to B. It’ll do. After playing Dishonored, where you could argue the level design is its strongest aspect, that kind of laziness jumps out at you.

  27. Infinite says:

    Well this game has some racist(if not racist at least very bigoted) bullshit in it, like in the new DLC Shore Leave where they fight in Somalia and when you shoot on of them the NPC next to you begins saying “Skinny Down” they might as well have said N***** Down, I mean really whats next “Raghead Down” and “Gok Down”?

    here is the video: http://www.joystiq.com/2012/10/04/medal-of-honor-warfighter-heads-to-somalia-for-shore-leave/

    They say it at, 02:45. It makes me wonder, is this the kind of “realism” modern military shooters are going for?

    • Jamesworkshop says:

      Whats so tricky to understand, i’m sure real life military personnel are not ignorant of, or incapable of the use of racialised slurs, or have much discouragement from employing them.

      • Danorz says:

        it’s an extra cherry of normalization on top of a big cake of terrible normalization, “that’s how you resolve a sticky situation” after shooting someone in the head. it all adds up

      • Dark Nexus says:

        Yeah, it happens in real life.

        Doesn’t mean it’s suitable content for a video game. Especially when the game is then turning around and putting those same soldiers on a pedestal as “real-life super heroes”.

  28. malkav11 says:

    I played what I played of the previous Medal of Honour constantly running ahead of the AI companions and taking point. Occasionally there was a door I mysteriously couldn’t open and had to wait for an AI to deal with, but for the most part it was entirely possible (albeit not necessarily advisable). That said, I never finished it because although I do like a good spectacle-ridden linear shootfest, the folks working on this franchise don’t seem to have figured out how to deliver that. Call of Duty may have a formula that they’re reluctant to stray from, but at least they deliver a good theme park ride. Medal of Honour, not so much.

  29. DXN says:

    Review code wasn’t offered to us

    I wonder why that might be. :P

    Nice write-up.

  30. Nallen says:

    The fact that they didn’t supply a review copy to RPS is essentially all the review I need to confirm I’m not going to purchase or play this game.

    I still enjoyed the WIT though. Also enjoyed TB’s demo of some section in which you could absorb infinite sniper shots but die instantly for walking forwards.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Yeah it really seems like they’re not even proud of the game they made

      • Brun says:

        Weren’t Danger Close the guys that got all upset and complained to the press when people panned the first MoH reboot?

  31. aircool says:

    What a horrible piece of software, and that bit about Super Heroes is just fucking offensive. I’ve been to some nasty parts of Africa and the Middle East whilst ‘just doing my job’. I’m not a Super fucking Hero… I’m a broken mess and these sort of games are a kick in the nuts!

  32. InsanityBringer says:

    This game just feels sad in some way. I distinctly get the impression from the writing that Walker actually never became “immersed”, never feeling like he was really wanting to play the game, and never feeling like he was actually in control.

    Almost every bit of hype I’ve seen around the whole thing has solely been for the multiplayer. Everyone was talking about some fancy new features in the MP. No one even mentioned the SP campaign as far as I’m aware (but I didn’t even look around for much hype because I didn’t even know this game was happening until like two weeks ago). I’m not really much of a mp deathmatch player (I’ll sign onto TF2 occasionally, but that’s about it) so I have no idea how it compares to anything. I don’t even know how it compares to the infamous CoD series because I don’t even know how the CoD series plays (though watching my brother play MW3 in team deathmatch doesn’t make me feel good about it).

  33. Kirjava says:

    Very refreshing to finally read these nauseating flag-waving pieces of Yank nonsense get the slating they deserve in more mainstream publications. The FPS was never the most subtle or nuanced slice of gaming but it’s just got progressively nastier, cruder and dumber since CoD: World at War (a thoroughly unpleasant experience). Now, with this newest iteration of Medal of Honour: Personkiller (and good lord but I love/despise the military’s obsession with euphemisms) it has reached a new manipulative and half-arsed low.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      The U.S. military has had a hand in crafting most of those horrible Hollywood war/shooter movies we’ve been exposed to over the last couple decades, and that’s a trend I’m afraid might start infecting the video game industry. Movies like Apocalypse Now or Valley of the Wolves don’t show the U.S. military in a positive light, so they don’t get the kind of government cooperation that’s “required” for realistic portrayals of hardware, lingo, and warfare.

      The closest thing I can think of to that kind of collusion would be the fact that EA hired a bunch of ex-servicemen to oversee some of the technical aspects of Battlefield 3 and Medal of Honor 2010. I’m willing to bet it won’t be long before AAA publishers start setting aside part of their development budget for official military advisers and adjuncts, if they’re not doing so already.

      Hell, At least one movie – Act of Valor – is nothing but a glorified recruiting film (with a cheesy BF3 marketing tie-in no less), and of course we’ve got America’s Army, a video game the was designed specifically for recruitment purposes.

      I guess we’re at that point already.

  34. Zarunil says:

    Thank you, John, for playing this so I won’t have to.

  35. Jamesworkshop says:

    I wish people would recognize that unless a war is a civil one, then the combatants relationship to the other combatants is going to be a foreign one, why it’s pointedly made a big deal of (like it’s something that should not be taken as granted in almost every war you could ever care to name) is a mystery to me, nobody seems to consider it worth mentioning that Germans fighting Russians on the eastern front involved foreigners shooting foreigners (it’s a multi-directional term after-all)

    • Xocrates says:

      There’s a difference between having you fight foreigners and treating said foreigners as consistently evil while you play some always righteously good guy – despite the fact that both side are doing the exact same thing most of the time.

      An by the way, why do you never get to play as the other side outside of Multiplayer?

      • Brun says:

        Er, well, I’m pretty sure both sides of the Eastern front in WWII considered themselves to be the righteous good guys, while considering the other side to be consistently evil. In fact, I’m pretty sure that opposing sides in pretty much every war in human history have held similar views.

        • Xocrates says:

          My point being that if you only ever show just one side, you might be lead to believe there’s actually one “good” and one “evil” side as opposed to two more or less morally equal sides believing themselves to be the good one.

        • Gorf says:

          but surely the nazis knew they where the baddies? i mean they had skull and crossbones on their hats.

    • Vorphalack says:

      ”I wish people would recognize that unless a war is a civil one, then the combatants relationship to the other combatants is going to be a foreign one, why it’s pointedly made a big deal of is a mystery to me”

      In the case of the MMS, because the ”war” in question is a current affair (many would consider a highly controversial and sensitive topic), and games such as this are a lazy cash in on the wave of uneducated jingoism sweeping popular western culture. It’s barely disguised racism hiding behind a thin veneer of supposed ”realism”.

      • Danorz says:

        the treatment tends to be “evil” instead of “poor and desparate” but the reason they are poor and desparate? all these games are is imperialism propaganda

    • Jupiah says:

      The difference is, when you’re making games where you kill nazis or the Japanese in WW2, most people playing those games understand that this was half a century ago and those people are not actually evil and are now in fact our allies and it doesn’t reinforce pre-existing prejudices.

      But when your game has people killing middle eastern brown people when their nations and our own currently have strained relationships and our troops are currently or very recently were invading their homes and our leaders were bombing their cities and our press is busy demonizing them at every opportunity… that does reinforce existing prejudices. It makes us more hateful people, less understanding people. It makes a peaceful resolution more difficult. Real people get hurt because of these kinds of thoughtless (at best) and bigoted (at worst) decisions to make your FPS shooter targets all be exclusively brown people who are already despised by the population at large and entirely portray them in a negative light.

      In short, young people understand that nazis and the Soviet Union don’t exist anymore, they aren’t going to hate Germans and Russians when most of their video game shooters use them as bad guys. But when all their shooters use middle eastern brown people as the target, considering current world events and the rest of the media’s portrayal of those people, then that does influence those young people playing those games to hate those people. And I’m not interested in playing games that actively encourage racism and appeal to bigots.

      • Jamesworkshop says:

        Would you care to justify that statements, i really can’t see any incitement to racial hatred in these games and in fact i can’t really see much real life evidence for this particular racial hatred, in fact the word terrorist is very convinently used in modern life to completely avoid discussion of the national/racial or ethnic descriptions of a suspect.

        The suggestion that “give peace a chance” is a lost cause because videogames are prolonging the wars in the world is, well something I think that requires a fairly strong explanation.

        I’ve yet to see anyone claim that our conflicts with mostly Arab states arises because Arab have an in-built “evil gene”, I don’t see anything suggesting that anyone in 1930 thought a war was inevitable because that’s what Germans are just expected to do whenever the opportunity comes up (like Skeletor), so I can’t say that’s ever a thought process that has ever been that prevalent to anybody at any point in time or place.

        If this was as bad as suggested then why would these conflicts by and large get massive public criticism, and yet look at two unpopular wars, Iraq which was not a war against Iraqis but against the private ownership of Iraqis by a mafia family, the Coalition Provisional Authority doesn’t exactly strike me as something a force that was driven by a desire of exterminating Arabs for being Arabs would do.

        Then Afghanistan, again not a war against a nation state but a war to destroy a largely Saudi financed military coup that controlled it by violence, this again really doesn’t seem infused with anti-arab sentiments.

        i’m getting a view that most posters here have a more favorable view on the thoughts of Noam Chomsky, than I do.

        Who in the western media are comparable in saying anti-Arab rhetoric along the same lines as the anti-semitic filth that you get from someone like Yusuf al-Qaradawi, because i’m not hearing it.

  36. Scouter says:

    How’s the multiplayer? We all know that is what EA or whoever the publisher had in mind and directed all the work into.

  37. PopeRatzo says:

    So I guess he didn’t like it.

    There’s something liberating about a review that makes me absolutely want to avoid a game at all costs.

  38. pilouuuu says:

    So this is basically Operation Wolf, but bugged and with very nice graphics.

    • Gorf says:

      FUCK NO! leave Operation Wolf out of this.
      MoH WF is, wack a mole wack a mole, slow motion breach, wack a mole wack a mole, sentimental cutscene, wack a mole wack a mole slow motion breach, wack a mole, sentimental cutscene, wack a mole wack a mole, sentimental cutcsene.

      There was no sentimental crap in Operation Wolf.

  39. Aerothorn says:

    Quote from a PR hack on LinkedIn:

    “The reviews are coming in, has this become the next franchise that the journalists want to make an example of?

    By no means am I trying to invalidate opinions of people who have reviewed the game, however, the majority of gamers I interact with on Twitter are enjoying MoH quite a bit, and the same happened to Resident Evil 6 when it was released.”

    Oy.

  40. RedViv says:

    I do wonder why they even bother making singleplayer for these, if they remove basically anything playful, leaving you with a shooting gallery on rails.
    That got old in Rebel Assault.

  41. Benjamin L. says:

    “Dusty, Mother, Tea Towel, Hopscotch and Clingfilm”

    Tell me you made that up. TELL MEEEE.

    • RedWurm says:

      Only thing in the review that would make me consider buying the game.

  42. casshern09 says:

    I’m glad reviewers are starting to realise the crap that gets passed off as a great game really isn’t.

    But I worry that CoD and BF will still get high scores when they don’t deserve them. I am predicting BO2 will still get around the 80s at least.

    • Brun says:

      BLOPS2 may actually deserve that rating since it’s at least making some sort of departure from the same bland formula as the Infinity Ward games.

  43. Snuffy the Evil says:

    Sounds a lot like my experience with the Battlefield 3 campaign. What a ridiculous, inane experience that was.

    • Brun says:

      The only part of the BF3 campaign I liked was the F-18 level. Despite it being on-rails it was still pretty awesome as spectacle alone, and as an aircraft enthusiast a little jet porn is always welcome.

  44. Lim-Dul says:

    TotalHalibut a.k.a. TotalBiscuit provided some gameplay commentary to criticize the whole genre of Modern Military Shooters, as he calls them and it pretty much matches what this article says…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOHyD49DaeA

    I now feel a bit nostalgic about all the WWII shooters that were coming out back in the day.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      Yeah, that was a pretty good vid. Really highlighted just how pathetic the singleplayer for this game is. Maybe the multiplayer’s good, I don’t know nor care. If I want to go online and frag people, I’d rather play something interesting like TF2.

  45. Brainkite says:

    are you talking about Modern Warfare 3 or 4?
    Wait, might be Battlefield 3 maybe.

  46. kevmscotland says:

    Next up:

    All the reviewers that slated the corridor shooter, lack of originality MoH:Warfighter give the next CoD perfect 10′s across the board.

    The hypocrisy with gaming media is laughable at times.

    Atleast RPS tend to form their own opinions rather than accept published incentives to write good reviews.

  47. Cleave says:

    I think the quote at the end about real life super heroes was from the wife of the soldier who died in the game so it’s fair enough they didn’t misquote her. I see your point though.

  48. The_Great_Skratsby says:

    So.

    Military masturbation masquerading as moral meaning.

  49. El Armonista! says:

    Real life super heroes exist; they walk among us every day, ready to defend our great nation and its citizens in a moment’s notice. They are husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons capable of staring death in the face…

    Shouldn’t that be “…at a moment’s notice”?

    To be clear, I blame EA for this, not John.

  50. anark10n says:

    In that screenshot with a floating assault rifle, isn’t “pick up” the correct form of the verb and “pickup” a noun?