Online multiplayer shooters are a dime a dozen this generation so standing out in such a crowded market can be difficult. With so many games seemingly aping on each other’s multiplayer system, creating a fun and unique online experience is one of the key tasks for developers of today’s shooters. I’m not sure exactly how original Medal of Honor Warfighter’s online multiplayer truly is, but after an extensive hands-on demonstration at this year’s E3 I can vouch for how exhilaratingly fun it can be. After a brief video presentation from some of the development team at Danger Close Games, we were given the go-ahead to start a multiplayer match that took place in a decimated Somali Pirate haven town.
Class based multiplayer is nothing new in online shooters but Warfighter aims for a more authentic experience by letting the player choose from the Tier 1 Special Forces of 10 different nations from around the world. The build I played allowed you to choose from about half of the classes that will be available in the full game, including the British SAS, Australian SASR, Canadian JTF2, and Polish GROM forces. Each comes with their own class of weapons and special equipment. For example, The GROM soldier comes equipped with assault rifles and is faster than the rest, making him resemble your standard infantry soldier. On the other end of the spectrum is the demolition expert of the JTF2 who can equip extra strength riot armor that makes you move slower but is also more resilient to damage.
The game-changing new feature that sets Warfighter apart from similar titles is the addition of Fireteams. The developers drew upon inspiration from the real life tendency of Tier 1 combat forces to go into action with a partner that they share a close bond with and feel personally responsible for at all times. The game replicates this bond by allowing players to team up with another soldier whose position they can monitor at all times during a match. This enhanced buddy system really changes the dynamic of the game. Not only can you choose to spawn directly behind your Fireteam partner but you can also share equipment and even earn extra rewards for avenging his death.
The game mode we played was fairly traditional. There were three points of interest scattered throughout the map which both teams would fight for control over. Holding the most flag poles for the longest period of time would eventually lead to victory. This particular contest lasted about for about 20 very competitive minutes. During that time, my Fireteam partner and I made the most of the advantages that came with our coordinated teamwork. After the dust had settled and our team was declared the victor we even received special commendation for being the top performing Fireteam which made me swell with pride and feel truly connected to a total stranger.
Fireteams are just one thing Medal of Honor Warfighter’s multiplayer has going for it. For one the game is absolutely gorgeous. The rubble and destruction of a war torn third world village never looked so good thanks to the sophistication of the Frostbite 2 engine. The audio and visuals work in tandem to give you the experience of actually being in a warzone. Special moments such as rappelling down from a black hawk that is actively engaged in battle or placing a mortar strike feel really intense and penetrating.
I came away from my time with Warfighter’s multiplayer mightily impressed and itching for another round of combat accompanied by my Fireteam squad mate. The full game will support up to 20 players online when Medal of Honor Warfighter launches this fall for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.