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Danger Close has been keeping Medal of Honor: Warfighter’s multiplayer tightly under wraps. We were able to get our hands on the online shooter and take the ambitious online multiplayer for a spin. Take a closer look at the game’s match types, the new class system, and unique features that set Warfighter apart from this holiday shooter lineup.
Above: Watch a Hot Spot match
Warfighter’s multiplayer progression works a bit differently than the previous title. You’ll start off with the basic assault class--armed with an assault rifle, frag grenades, and special ability grenade launcher--and attempt to get kills and level up to unlock additional classes (rather than custom class slots), weapons, and attachments. And this time, you can also unlock additional character nationalities, which basically boils down to character skins.
The classes break down into the aforementioned Assault class plus the Sniper, Demolitions, Pointman, Spec Ops, and Heavy Gunner. Each one has specialized equipment and character attributes. The Sniper, Spec Ops and Pointman, carry light armor and are the quickest on their feet, while the Heavy Gunner and Demolitions classes can take a few more bullets, but lumber around the map like a tank. Every class has a special ability and encourages different playstyles--supporting the team in various ways.
For example, the Demolitions class’s special ability is to strap on the juggernaut-like Ballistic Armor. Activating it lowers a vision restricting face plate and slows you down considerably, but those extra layers of armor come in handy when you’re trying to disarm a bomb and you’re coming under enemy fire. Alternatively, the sneaky Spec Ops class has the Signal Scan ability, allowing you to see enemies through walls and obstructions for about one second. If the Spec Ops player is on a well-coordinated team, he could call out campers before his squadmates breach a vital objective point.
The characters also have class specific Support Actions, giving players a choice between offensive and defensive options. These in-game bonuses can be deployed once you reach the required point threshold, from doing things like getting kills or claiming capture points. One of the most useful is the the Heavy Gunner’s offensive support action. The Heavy Gunner calls in a Blackhawk Helicopter to function as a mobile spawn point for the team and gives the player control over the mounted machine gun for a short period of time. It’s especially handy when you are trying to capture a control point. Just call it in to spawn in your teammates and hold the enemy back with the big guns.
Other classes, like the Sniper can release recon drones that highlight enemies on your team’s on-screen radar, and the Demolitions specialist can get an automatic M32 grenade launcher to wreak havoc on the opposing side. But each class can also choose a the defensive Support Action like a smoke screen.
Warfighter also has a greater emphasis on team play than the previous title due to the inclusion of the intriguing Fire Team Buddy system. When you start a match, you are assigned a Fire Team Buddy who will be your brother-in-arms. Sticking close to one another has added benefits and will earn the pair bonus points for buddy kills, capture efforts, and retaliation kills. If your Fire Team Buddy gets killed, the aggressor will be outlined in red, making it much easier to get revenge and snag some bonus experience. You will also be able to resupply your ammo and heal from your buddy. It is an interesting system, and seems to work well if you have a buddy that will cooperate. Unfortunately, when you have a partner that just runs off on his own (which happened a lot), you completely miss out on the bonus experience and benefits.
In addition to the standard multiplayer match types Warfighter includes new modes called Home Run and Hot Spot, and brings back a few old favorites like Combat Mission and Sector Control. Home Run is a variant of the standard capture-the-flag mode, placing players in a small arena on attacking and defending teams. Attackers must grab one of two flags and bring it back to their base, while the defenders attempt to stop them. The winning conditions are score based with teams taking turns on the attacking side. Home Run is a fast-paced mode requiring significant communication and team strategy. Watch a Home Run match in the video below.
Above: Take a look at a Home Run match
Hot Spot tasks the attacking team to destroy five randomly located “hot spots” on a large map while the defending team attempts to stop them from doing so. This creates a frantic rush by both teams to keep the hot spot under control. Sector Control is standard “domination-style” game type in which players attempt to control as many capture points on the map as possible. And Combat Mission is also making a return, designating players with capturing a sequence of objectives in an attack and defend scenario similar to Battlefield 3’s Rush mode. Sadly, None of the various modes seem to differ significantly, but just seemed like the same ingredients mixed up and rearranged.
Warfighter’s multiplayer looks promising. Team-based features like the Fire Team Buddy system and the diverse character classes push for cooperation between players, and it has all of the bells and whistles required to be a long standing online shooter like tight controls, a progression system, and a plethora of unlocks. It will be interesting to see how Medal of Honor: Warfighter weathers the coming storm of the other blockbuster FPS titles coming this holiday.