Medal of Honor Warfighter: What do you want to see?
On the sales front, Medal of Honor actually did quite well selling over five million copies. Critically, the 2010 reboot could have been better. From the comments that riddle just about any article regarding Medal of Honor on the internet, the game was the worst thing since sausage and pancakes on a stick. It wasn’t so much that the game was holding your hand the whole time, although ever since I played Homefront everything feels like a sandbox; it was that you kept doing pretty much the same thing over and over again, had a narrow path to go down almost the whole game, and did everything you could in under six hours. That’s just the single player, the multiplayer had its moments, but it seems DICE can only make something play completely differently than Battlefield (Mirror’s Edge) or almost exactly like it. It just seemed like Medal of Honor had become a cliche modern combat shooter. The only thing that it had going for it was that it had a decent, authentic atmosphere and a nice (though slow reacting) control scheme.
If the sequel wants to do well, these might be a few good places to start:
First of all, don’t start your story until the last couple of levels. (minor SPOILERS AHEAD!) The story didn’t seem to really pick up until around the last hour or so of the game which really could have sufficed as a story to an entire eight hour game. Having to go in and rescue a couple of lost Navy Seals and then look for two other Navy Seals who get captured whilst searching for the other two Seals actually could have turned into a decently long storyline (even if it doesn’t sound like much). At least, it would have been some sort of story instead of playing through six hours of ‘this is what fighting in Afghanistan is like if it were fifty percent easier.’ As long as Danger Close writes a decent (quality and lengthy) story for Warfighter, Medal of Honor will already be forty or fifty percent of the way there. I want to feel like I have a goal, not just run around to various villages and kill Taliban. Authentic tactics and radio chatter isn’t everything.
Next on the list: make Warfighter more varied and a little more open. It doesn’t have to be open world (though that would be pretty cool), but letting the player explore an environment and choose from more than one or two fighting positions would be a wonderful way to make the player feel more involved. That’s one of the biggest problems with shooters these days, no exploration at all. If anything it will add replay value to the game. That’s what makes replaying Medal of Honor a little hard, you know EXACTLY what you are going to do before you even do it, there’s hardly any thought passed the first play through. Again, it doesn’t have to be open world to be open. Just look at Halo: Combat Evolved, that has some of the best non-linear level design of any ‘linear’ FPS that isn’t a mod (just check out Minerva for Half Life 2). A wider variety of things to do in the campaign would certainly shake things up a bit. Instead of the usual ‘run, shoot, snipe, cover, repeat’ with the ever so rare vehicle moment, introduce some other mechanics. Just a hint, you don’t have to be shooting to keep the adrenaline rush going in a FPS. Anyone remember the ‘All Gillied Up’ level from Call of Duty 4? It centered around fighting the urge to shoot someone, avoiding detection, and picking the perfect way AND moment to take out your target and it was very unforgiving. Call of Duty may be an unusual place to get inspiration from, for Medal of Honor (seriously, they are very different games), but it’s a good idea for changing the pace a bit.
Also, keep the multiplayer original. DICE does a great job with Battlefield, but it seems to be all they know. Now that Danger Close is taking control of all areas of the game, it’s time to do something different. It doesn’t have to be a game changer, but separating itself from Battlefield or Call of Duty would be a tremendous breath of fresh air not only for Medal of Honor, but shooters in general. That was the downfall of Crysis 2, not only did it have a surprisingly linear campaign with dumb AI, but it had a multiplayer that probably broke some copyright laws with how much it was like Call of Duty. So, no pressure Danger Close.
Finally, remember what Medal of Honor feels like. Frontline, Airborne, Allied Assault…these games were far more memorable than Medal of Honor 2010. Even better, they all felt like Medal of Honor games, more or less. The developer is entering newer territory with the modern combat setting and it’s understandable that they’re still trying to find their niche with it. No problem Danger Close, your first outing with a major reboot can be a little rocky, we’ll forgive you for it. Medal of Honor (2010) wasn’t all bad, it still can be pretty fun. But if Medal of Honor Warfighter wants to succeed with the fans, it can’t be a carbon copy of its predecessor. In short, it needs to be longer, more interesting, and more player choice friendly. Thankfully, it sounds like the developer is already working on at least some of this. Enough of what this writer thinks, what do you think? Post your thoughts in the comments section below, but be civil (those who are gentle get a free banana sticker).