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'Medal of Honor Warfighter' preview: Hands-on with multiplayer

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Medal of Honor Warfighter multiplayer map Somalia Strongold

© EA


Medal of Honor: Warfighter's the follow-up to 2010's modern-day reboot of the classic EA series, once again focusing on the efforts of Tier 1 soldiers. This time round, multiplayer pits the mightiest military forces against one another, and introduces an ongoing mechanic that encourages co-operative play.

Instead of the traditional 'good guys versus bad' match-ups that we see in all first-person shooters, Warfighter adopts a different approach by having a spot of 'blue on blue' competition, pitting the player against the world's leading special forces - such as the SAS and US Marines against one another to settle some friendly scores once and for all.

Letting players choose and represent their own country's elite will provide a sense of attachment unlike any other game, and if you're not one of the ten nations called up in the 'best of the best' line-up, then you choose any of the 192 countries represented in a neat ongoing leaderboard.

Medal of Honor Warfighter multiplayer map Shogore Valley

© EA

Medal of Honor Warfighter multiplayer map Somalia Strongold

© EA



It's better to work together

Warfighter also plays on its military theme with the Fire Team mechanic. Born out of conversations with real-world Tier 1 operatives, each player will be partnered with one other on their team - ideally a friend, or simply someone equally matched on their team - to keep them company.

There are benefits to sticking with your buddy; one is that you can supply each other with ammo and health at any time. If one of you dies, then avenging their death will see them return to the match instantly. Otherwise, you can spawn back on your buddy's position shortly after - similar to Battlefield - provided they're still active in the match also.

Developer Danger Close has said this idea has had a positive outcome for teamwork, where closed beta tests show traditional lone wolves sticking closer to their teammates due to the obvious benefits.

Medal of Honor Warfighter multiplayer map Sarajevo Stadium

© EA

Medal of Honor Warfighter multiplayer map Nova Grand

© EA



Familar modes with novel twists

Warfighter brings back 2010's Medal of Honor's Support Actions, perks that are activated after a certain score and provide the player with a choice of a defensive or offensive ability.

Modes are your usual multiplayer fodder but with a few twists. Sector Control sees teams fight over controlling three flags - two placed near their spawn points, the other in a contested middle area - with scores increasing the longer they're held.

Combat Mission is similar to Halo's Generator Defence, where the opposing team must rush a map and plant bombs, opening up new areas in the process. The other team must keep them at bay, and with the attackers on a limited number of lives, it means kills can become just as important in deciding the outcome.

The highlight, meanwhile, was Home Run, a one-life version of Capture the Flag. Played on a small map, it was the most tense out of all three modes, forcing players to check their corners and avoid open spaces, and made relying on team mates to watch your back all the more important.


Where does it lie with other shooters?

When it comes to hands-on impressions, Warfighter certainly fights its corner against Call of Duty and sister franchise Battlefield, and offers a mixture of the two approaches to combat, combining the close-quarters intensity of Activision's shooter and the slower-paced, heftier feel of DICE's opus.

There's a lot to like here: weaponry feels sharp, the Frostbite 2 engine gives it a visual kick and there are some neat touches, such as stylish slow motion killcams and a camera that swoops behind your buddy when respawning.

Our concern is that it lacks a real niche, offering nothing particularly new over the aforementioned best-sellers outside of the representing your own country and co-operative Fire Team mechanics, which could wear thin after a few hours.

The carrot-and-stick that'll keep players going over time - especially compared with the established big boys of the genre - is uncertain then, but we certainly say we thoroughly enjoyed our time in the company of Warfighter's multiplayer.

Medal of Honor: Warfighter will be available on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on October 23 in North America and October 26 in Europe.

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