Medal of Honor: Warfighter Preview (PS3)

October 2010 was a fine month for the Medal of Honor franchise. Electronic Arts rebooted the series with Danger Close, a team within EA Los Angeles, helming the single-player and DICE steering the multiplayer. It sold more than 2 million copies on all platforms combined and earned itself the follow-up sequel in the form of Medal of Honor: Warfighter.

At Game Developers Conference 2012, EA gave Warfighter a chance to shine by having it unravel alongside the forthcoming Battlefield 3 DLC. Forget the name change of the Taliban to “Opposing Forces” or the underwhelming critical response of the first, EA is ready to push the limits with the Medal of Honor franchise in terms of risqué, and perhaps controversial, content. This assumption comes from the opening video that showcased a hostage about to be executed after getting brutally assaulted by his assailants to only be saved by the American military. Fitting for Medal of Honor, the video definitely served its purpose as the crowd in attendance were a bit shocked at where EA was aiming with the direction of the video.

Throughout the videos that were shown to the press, one thing stood out: EA and Danger Close love water and hoverboats. Focusing not one, but two videos that demonstrated rain along with hoverboat chases, Medal of Honor: Warfighter tells the story of an U.S. Tier Operator named “Preacher” who must infiltrate real-life locations of the Phillippines to save hostages and stop an explosive device from detonating. What’s even more peculiar is that EA wants to add a lot more drama to the story by providing Preacher with a backstory where his broken marriage affects him while on duty.

In similar fashion to the original, EA brought in real-life soldiers to help write the story and consult on in-game scenarios to help authentic Warfighter. Rather than having one finite storyline, Warfighter instead opts to explore several stories that will be weaved together as one. I’m not sure if I’m willing to call this the gaming equivalent of Crash or Traffic, but if EA accomplishes telling a much more impactful storyline, then that surely is welcome.

Even with the proposed drama and action-oriented FPS in sights, the demonstrations of where the game is heading clearly is a much darker title in both theme and environments. Every video that was shown took place during the night and the military often used that to their advantage to overcome their adversaries. The American forces also received aid from Filipino special forces in one of the videos, so EA is doing their best to keep this far from being a stereotypical “these are the bad guys” situation.

Danger Close will also take over the multiplayer development with no involvement from DICE. Although, that isn’t to say that DICE won’t be involved at all -- their engine, the Frostbite 2 engine, is being employed to power Warfighter’s visuals. Visually, it looked impressive, but it didn’t look too far off from Battlefield 3, which isn’t a knock against the title since DICE’s baby is a sight to behold in action. In addition, the sound effects were excellent and helped the audience escape to the world Danger Close wanted to present, even if it felt awfully similar to its competitors.

Announced via press release, the multiplayer modes will have Tier 1 Operatives fighting against one another rather than having the “Opposing Forces” from the Philippines as the other group. What’s even more curious is that EA and Danger Close want to have players supporting their “home team”, which is said to be inspired by EA’s FIFA series. Players are able to select from 12 different special ops units from 10 different countries while in multiplayer. The on-stage EA reps mentioned Polish kids wanting to play on Polish teams, and being of Polish descent, I can get behind this line of thinking.

Attempting to tell a more emotional storyline and move away from the traditional online multiplayer, Medal of Honor: Warfighter is set to release October 23 in the US and October 25 in Europe.

Most Anticipated Feature: The graphical and audio powerhouse of the Frostbite 2 engine.

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