Medal of Honor Warfighter PS3 preview: “We’re playing the long game”
Military shooter? Time to bust out a bit of the old cynicism, then. After all, crowded marketplace, dominance of CoD, yadda yadda. But after Medal of Honor’s tentative return to the fray in 2010, initial impressions of Warfighter are encouraging – it looks like Modern Warfare running in Battlefield 3’s engine.
Which is, of course, because it is running in the Frostbite 2 engine that powers all the pretty visuals, convincing physics and destructible scenery in Battlefield 3. The level we’re treated to – a flooded Philippine city under siege by real-world terrorist outfit Abu Sayyaf – looks purpose-built to show off the engine’s capabilities.
Inside the ruined mansion where our task force begins its hostage rescue mission, gunfire tears through the knee-level water blinding us with the splashes. Pillars quickly shed their plaster exterior in the furore and seemingly endless piles of papers whip around in the air as we try to get a dot on our enemies who – stop us if you’ve heard this before – duck behind upturned desks, shouting incomprehensibles and spraying fire wildly to suppress us. It culminates in a level of intensity that makes it impossible not to think of CoD and BF3, but it’s arresting nontheless.
New to the series, you can now either aim directly down the scope of your assault rifle, or tilt it on its side to aim down the iron sight for more precise aiming at close quarters – as we dodge the fallen chandeliers and ornate furniture of the mansion, we switch to the iron sight and take down a handful of bandana-wearing foes at what’s nearly arm’s length.
It’s one of the many refinements Danger Close Games has made as a result of working closely with ‘tier 1 operators’ (fearsomely experienced real life U.S. Spec Ops veterans in other words). There are more tier 1 consultants working on Warfighter than the previous game, and they’re involved in all aspects of the game, from shaping the narrative to acting the mo-cap sequences.
By working this way, Danger Close is hoping for unrivalled authenticity, senior creative director Rich Farrelly explains: ‘The tier 1 consultants are helping us craft our game in the most authentic we can. We’ll come to them and say, ‘hey, we’re interested in having a door breach mechanic – how do you guys do it? Then we work with them to create a balance between what that would be like in real life, and still be accessible in gameplay.”
In reality the door breach mechanic appears at least heavily influenced by the Modern Warfare games – time slows as you enter the room and make everyone dead – but in Warfighter that mechanic goes a little deeper. An overlay appears which gives you the option to place an explosive charge, bust through the door and more – and those options will be scalable through the game, says Farrelly: “there’s a tonne of them, so to speak, and we’re planning on having them unlock throughout the game. Different options come up depending on what kind of door it is, that sort of thing.”