Adding context to the inevitable bloodshed – we hope.
The writing is on the wall for cardboard cutout shooters. No longer is it enough to have a team of Western soldiers take on forces from the East, instead we’re all looking for something a bit more real, adding more of a feeling of what it’s actually like to put your life on the line for your country. Games will never be able to do that, as any attempts would come across as being jingoistic or a little cheap, but with Warfighter Danger Close are doing the next best thing by playing up the effects of a human being regularly jetting overseas to kill multi-national miscreants with a story written by and starring the Tier 1 operators themselves.
The gameplay demo we witnessed could have been ripped from any military shooter, including a dynamic breach and clear mechanism where you can choose your entry procedure a la Rainbow Six Vegas, and multi-scoped rifles allowing ultimate combat flexibility, but what stuck out in our minds was a brief audio clip of the soldier you control calling home to say goodbye to his wife, with her wishing him good luck and to be careful before the shooty-shooty action began. There was a really uncomfortable brilliance associated with that small clip, as not only did it precede the usual hail of bullets and death gameplay, but it also added an air of emotion in a genre which usually has about as much intellectual stimulation as a carnival ring toss.
The hostage rescue mission we witnessed was set in the Philippines at the height of monsoon season, with buildings collapsing due to a flooding formulating a nifty end set piece with the operators escaping via boat – taking detours between buildings and flooded river banks before being helicoptered to safety. The setting was dark, dank and a little depressing but it holds true to Danger Close’s promise of delivering an authentic military experience – so much so that missions in Warfighter will be based on real crisis around the world like a hostage situation in Somalia and other activities ripped from the headlines.
There will have to be a lot of humility and commitment for Danger Close to humanise the combat in Warfighter, but if they pull it off this could be the first military shooter that actually shows what really makes soldiers tick and the motivations which drive them on despite the ever-present danger of never returning of home.
Hopefully the ‘Blue on Blue’ multiplayer action won’t defuse that appeal, with the world’s best shadowy forces like the SAS, Spetsnaz and 12 other international super soldier factions facing off online with modes to make the most out of the fantasy appeal. On the surface of it, Warfighter doesn’t look like the most innovative shooter in the world, but from what we’ve seen so far, there’s certainly more ingenuity here than in the first game, and that’s definitely an improvement.
For a more in-depth perspective on Medal of Honor: Warfighter check out this month’s edition of PCGZine.
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