E3 2012: Medal of Honor: Warfighter hands-on
Getting strangers to work together in online multiplayer is no easy task, but it’s one that Medal of Honor: Warfighter might be able to pull off.
In a hands-on demo, we were introduced to the game’s central multiplayer innovation: a buddy system. Warfighter pairs you with another player on your team, then makes that player visible from wherever you are on the map. When you die, if your buddy disengages from combat for a set amount of time, you respawn right behind them. If your buddy takes out the player who killed you, you can respawn immediately behind them.
This approach is smart because it’s a minimal way to encourage cooperation. They’re not attempting to ‘boil the ocean’ and make entire eight man squads work as a unit, a task that’s probably impossible without a clan structure. Instead, they’re trying to foster collaboration on a smaller scale, but one that’s more likely to succeed.
Warfighter‘s selling point is its variety of special forces units, or ‘tier one operators’ as they euphemistically call them. There’s the SAS, SEALs and numerous other outfits you can pretend you’ve heard about before you played the game.
Eight of us played in a 10 vs. 10 zone control match of around 15 minutes. Playing on a PC build of the game, it ran extremely smoothly with no noticeable bugs or issues. One thing I had to keep reminding myself of was to look for my buddy. While his location was outlined in green, it took some time to wean myself off of behaviour learned from countless other shooters which have little proper teamplay.
Once we both realised that we needed to work together, my buddy and I – who had never met – became an effective unit, ending the match as the best fireteam. The prominence of this award in the results screen again reinforces Warfighter‘s buddy system.
I’ve always enjoyed first-person shooters, but had a mixed experience with online multiplayer. In too many matches, people fight alone and are only notionally in teams, while those that do work together dominate the map. Warfighter promises a more co-operative approach and based on the demo session, it might just work.