It’s time for part eight, the one with the warfighters, the medals of honor and that Battlefield 4 pre-order bonus. Part eight, Medal of Honor: Warfighter!
Release date: October 23 (US), October 26 (UK)
Platform(s): Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, PlayStation Vita, Microsoft Windows PC
THE GOOD STUFF
FPS shooters, from the outset, were meant to be realistic depictions of the battleground, with a plausible plot and villain. While the last few Call of Duty games have been very enjoyable, they’re not the most realistic of games (Russia invades Europe! All of it! Simultaneously!), and on the realism front, Battlefield 3 destroyed Modern Warfare 3 last year. But there’s no Battlefield this year (more on Battlefield a bit later), so EA turned to their other major FPS franchise, Medal of Honor, for the role of realistic Call of Duty rival (COD goes to 2025 in this year’s game, so it’s safe to say that it’s not turning to realism). And it looks like EA have done their homework on this one, with a real terrorist group (PETN) as the threat and a dozen real life special forces units in multiplayer.
The Battlefield 4 beta leak that stormed the internet just a few days ago might prove a huge boost for Warfighter‘s sales. If that leak on EA Origin caused that much publicity, imagine the sales boost for Warfighter. I mean, after all, a lot of people would kill (Not literally. I think.) to play Battlefield 4 early. It should mean that Warfighter (a sells better, (b gets more publicity and (c increases the chance in sequels. I have no idea yet if this is a good thing or something that leads to Medal of Honor becoming that bi-annual slog that no one really cares about. Apart from EA, of course.
EA have opted for an interesting counterpart to Call of Duty‘s yearly bouncing-between-mini-franchises – release a Medal of Honor and a Battlefield in alternating years, to keep both franchises fresh and to increase excitement as each installment rolls around. The much acclaimed Bad Company series seems to have become a sacrifice of this new strategy (a bit of a bummer for Battlefield fans), but it does mean that it avoids copying Call of Duty and should mean that both franchises avoid the pothole the Call of Duty franchise fell into (and it’s only just climbing out of it).
THE BAD STUFF
The flipside to the Battlefield/Medal of Honor strategy is that both franchises have become, arguably, more similar than say, Black Ops and Modern Warfare. You can skirt around the issue by promoting each game as a brand new, original franchise entry, but what EA really seem to be doing is releasing a Battlefield game (or a Medal of Honor game, depending of your perception of what’s the mother franchise) every year and calling it Medal of Honor every other year. The problem with realistic shooters is that they all fall into using the same tropes – the slow-mo door breach, the brown color palette, the cackling terrorist. What I’m saying is, you can dress them up as different games, but really, Battlefield and Medal of Honor are just two sides of the same billion-dollar cheque.
It’s only the second Medal of Honor game to be set in the present day – as we know, modern scenarios featuring modern threats (who seem to be picked by throwing a dart at a list of possible villains) have been all the rage in the FPS genre ever since Call of Duty: Modern Warfare released back in 2007, and like any money-hungry FPS franchise, Medal of Honor jumped on the bandwagon for its series reboot two years ago. But in 2012, the FPS franchise is shifting towards near future stories (Black Ops 2) and for its sequel, Medal of Honor is still set in 2012. So yes, Medal of Honor jumped on the bandwagon back in 2010. Come 2012, it’s still on that bandwagon, despite the fact that everyone else jumped onto the shiny new bandwagon a bit before.
Will it be good?
It’ll probably be a great game, but it’ll only be as great as every other generic modern day FPS shooter, which stopped being great sometime last year.
Will it succeed?
Medal of Honor 2010 sold five million copies, so it should do similar business. It is, however, against some of the toughest opponents in the gaming industry, in the form of what we’ll still call parts nine, ten, and eleven. I think you can guess which is which by now.
I go back to the Revolution with what could just be the game of the year – Assassin’s Creed 3.