bill-swift - October 13, 2012
It could be a case of back to basics in Medal of Honor Warfighter's multiplayer mode. The addition of Home Run puts a fresh twist on the old capture-the-flag mechanic by speeding up everything and keeping players focused on close combat. There's also the fancy fresh Sector Control multiplayer element that adds a wrinkle to the control point capture system we've seen for years. For my money, though, Home Run should be just that.
The team on offense is tasked with capturing one of two flags on relatively small and complicated maps. The team on defense has to stop them, of course, with the surest path to success being complete elimination of the attackers. The challenge here is that each cap or defeat scores a point for the successful team and ends the round. The teams stay on offense or defense for multiple rounds racking up points no matter what. Then, during a halftime sequence that shows each team walking past each other as they switch sides, offense becomes defense and vice versa so the whole process can continue. Building up a big lead before halftime doesn't really work as a strategy. If you're good at offense you'll be good at defense because they both require the same skill set: shooting enemies.
The unlocking schedule and pace of MoH Warfighter ended up being far slower than you'd expect. The available classes are tied to specific nation's top special forces operatives. The heavy gunner class for example is a British SAS warrior while the sniper is a member of Korea's special forces community. Each class comes with some special offensive, defensive and tactical abilities unique to that class and some abilities that all classes share if they unlock them during a match. The starting ability of the Canadian Spec Ops trooper is a special scanning ability that allows him to see through walls. He has this ability right off the bat and so he becomes a valuable member on a well-coordinated Home Run team. Playing well during a match will lead that Canadian operator to unlock abilities like a mortar attack or calling in a helicopter attack to turn the tide of battle.
The slowness in unlocking isn't from the in-game goodies, it's the permanent upgrades to a class' weapons and gear. Things like tinkering with a weapon's optics or how it looks in the guy's hand can take a long time to access. I ran through about eight or nine full Home Run games (with all of those rounds of battle in each) and barely accessed more than a new stock for an assault rifle of my favorite class. That's a lot of battle without much to show for it.
The additional game modes like the aforementioned Sector Control and the new Hot Spot round out the offerings we saw in our run through. Hot Spot seems like a combination of Sector Control's capture-and-hold-control-points system and Home Run's timed rounds where you switch from offense to defense and back.
Overall MoH's maps and character models keep a nice flat color scheme so that camouflaged enemies are tough to identify during the heat of battle…which is how it should be. And as we said Home Run ended up being surprisingly addictive with its focus on fast paced action. We'll have to see how the pace of the unlocking system stands up in the final product.