Medal of Honor Warfighter's single-player campaign puts you in the boots of one of the world's most highly trained and skilled warriors, US Tier 1 Operator Preacher, as he engages in missions to stop terrorist events in a number of real world hotspots.
While warfare is the game's primary focus, there's also a personal story to follow in between battling on the frontlines as Preacher attempts to balance his military commitments with those to his family by salvaging what remains of his marriage.
An average script reduces your emotional attachment to the characters somewhat, but the game fares better in the shooting department. Its modern military setting puts it in competition with the Call of Duty and Battlefield franchises, and gameplay walks a line between the arcade rush of the former and the more realistic dryness of the latter.
Combat is savage enough to test your survival skills on the medium difficulty setting, but the game is also very accessible. Your sidearm has infinite ammo, while computer-controlled allies are more than happy to offer you extra grenades and ammunition for your primary weapon, meaning you're never short of firepower, which eliminates the bullet-management tension seen in many shooters.
You utilise a varied arsenal of weaponry including a hatchet for melee attacks, but running and gunning isn't advisable if you plan on surviving. Thankfully the game handles the tricky first-person cover brilliantly. You use the left shoulder button to snap to walls and pillars, then the left stick to lean and peek in and out from standing, crouching or prone positions.
The game largely consists of a series of linear on-foot missions punctuated by spectacular if formulaic sequences in which you bomb around in cars, man turrets, ride in helicopters and direct remote controlled robots. At their best these recreate the feeling of great movie chase and action scenes.
Corridor clearing missions are spiced up by some neat scenarios including tense hostage rescues missions and night vision raids, but the game shines brightest in the online department, where it treads the line between Call of Duty's fast-paced close-quarters gunplay and Battlefield 3's weighty heft.
Set across eight real world locations, it features six different character classes whom you can kit out with guns equipped with various stocks, optics, muzzles and barrels, more of which unlock as you progress. Each class has a special ability to draw from in combat, with the Assaulter able to whip out an underslung grenade launcher, for example, while the Point Man can utilise a wall hack to see enemies through obstacles.
It should be pointed out that there's a significant patch you need to download when you first start playing the game if you want to optimise the experience. Those without an internet connection will be forced to play a game almost 50 issues not fixed by the time the disc went to press, including unspecified "progression stoppers", "unresponsive controls", and others relating to weapons, navigation and visual polish.
Medal of Honor: Warfighter doesn't always reach the heights of the most popular and well-executed shooter franchises in modern gaming, and it's not one that strives to innovate either, but what it does attempts it does competently enough. The guns feel ferocious and enemies are satisfying to shoot, while memorable set-pieces break up the flow and there's a lot of fun to be had in multiplayer. It doesn't buck trends or push boundaries but there's nothing inherently wrong with that, and if you're a shooter fan who enjoys explosions and lovely visuals, it's a fight that's definitely worth having.
- Satisfying gunplay and great cover system.
- Some killer set-pieces.
- It looks lovely.
- Requires an internet connection to patch.
- Doesn't strive to be different.
- Story could be more engaging.