Medal of Honor: Warfighter Preview
So, Home Run is pretty good - or 'not terrible' at the very least - but it's not without flaw. To be honest, while the mode is weighted to being fast and fluid, it's flawed by an ultimate lack of variation. There are no power-ups to steadily unlock over the course of a match, no mutators to specify in the rule make-up, nothing but the class and level combos to spice things up once you've got used to the basics.
That's perhaps not something that's a huge issue given the larger view of the game - not everything has to be so laden with options and Home Run is just one of many multiplayer modes - but there is a disconnect in the logic.
The multiplayer experience Medal of Honor: Warfighter seems to want to offer elsewhere is focused on customisation, but in Home Run that's not the case. Even the capabilities of the Frostbite 2 engine felt oddly muted, though this could be to do with the lack of heavy ordnance we saw...
So in Home Run, while there is still some customisation, there's not as much as there elsewhere. You can choose your class and you can choose your map and you can use class-specific powers, but none of these ideas are extrapolated to their full effect.
Instead, it's only in other modes such as Fire Team that you really get a chance to explore the deeper tactical possibilities. Here players are partnered into teams of two who must work together to survive and who unlock experience bonuses and other perks for doing so.
The option to go solo is still there in Fire Team - you can always run off and play on your own - but you'll do much better if you work as a team. If nothing else it'll give you the opportunity to survive longer, as team mates can instantly revive fallen comrades if they score a vengeance kill in a certain time window. Happily, it comes with a nice little XP boost too.
Click to enlarge
While Fire Team and Home Run look enjoyable though, what may prove worrying for Medal of Honor: Warfighter is the stuff that hasn't been shown yet. We've only been hands-on with two of the multiplayer modes after all and haven't seen anything of singleplayer yet. Given that the latter is once again grounded in real-life conflicts, with mention of Somalian pirates on top of what was already a potentially distasteful story, there's room for error yet.
More pressing though is that issue of expectation management, again. Are Home Run and Fire Team really as good as we thought at the time or is it just that our expectations are abraded by years of samey shooters in a modern-ish warfare mould? It's a question that's been weighing on us heavily.
Ultimately though, it's a question that we can't answer until we've seen the full game - and it's perhaps not as critical as it may seem. After the stagnancy of Call of Duty and the slowed commercial pace of Battlefield, any change that Warfighter might offer over the usual mode has to be considered a good thing.
Medal of Honor: Warfighter is set for an October 26th, 2012 release on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It will be published by Electronic Arts.