Sunday, 17 February 2013

Medal of Honor Warfighter: Was it all bad?

I remember it like it was yesterday. The hedgerows were high on all sides, the paths dimly lit by the moonlight. A Nazi sentry patrolled the area, his boots barely making a sound in the eery silence. Silence I abruptly broke with the pull of a trigger. His head snapped back, his body arched over and crumpled to the floor, his helmet falling beside him.

Medal of Honor for the Sony PlayStation was released in 1999, from Dreamworks – Steven Spielberg’s production company. It was atmospheric and it played well, with great missions and graphics. It’s sequel, Medal of Honor: Underground was a worthy successor, bringing the clandestine work of the Resistance to life.

From here on in, however, things started to unravel. Medal of Honor: Frontline on the PS2 was a decent game – it’s opening doing well to replicate the chaos of Saving Private Ryan’s D-Day landings. The next game - Rising Sun - tried a similar thing with the Pearl Harbour mission, but beyond this, it was a bit of a let down.

And there was a new kid in town. A new pretender to the throne. Its name was Call of Duty and we all know what happened next. EA, seeking to emulate the gazillion selling franchise, rebooted Medal of Honor in 2010 and while it didn’t achieve the success EA had hoped, the new offering was a good game with a strong multiplayer and it deserved a sequel.

Things were looking promising in the build up to Medal of Honor Warfighter – some decent videos showcasing exciting multiplayer gameplay and campaign footage looking superb thanks to the mighty Frostbite 2 engine. Then the game was released and the reviews started to roll in. They were not good. Edge magazine for instance, gave the game 3 / 10, calling it "rushed, uninspired and cynical."
Perhaps Edge isn’t the best example - the weight of the world having clearly crushed the spirit out of all the writers there - but wherever you looked (with the exception of their own Twitter feed), the new MoH was getting a hammering.

I’ll be honest – it put me off a day one purchase. I didn’t pick up the game until January thanks to a price drop and a love of the Frostbite 2 engine. I had to see it for myself. This franchise deserved that much from me at least.

While Medal of Honor Warfighter is often a linear shooting gallery - much like many FPS games of late - there is still enjoyment to be had here. The graphics, while not being quite of the same standard as Battlefield 3, are still amongst the best we've seen on consoles and the sound proving once again to be a real asset of the Frostbite 2 engine.
The gameplay for the most part is your basic shooter fare, but the weapons pack a decent punch and the action, while not very varied, is still fun.
There are two sections which break up the shooting and they prove to be real standouts. Both are driving sequences - one a chaotic chase through a market in Pakistan as shown in the gameplay trailer below; and the other a game of cat and mouse in the backstreets of Dubai. While these sections are by no means perfect, they are well executed and once you've finished the game, will stand out for you as the moments where the adrenaline was at its highest.

Medal of Honor as a franchise has always paid respect to the real world men and women on whom the games are based, but this has created a confusing style of late as they have tried to combine this gritty realism with the bombastic action movie traits of Call of Duty's last few efforts. It doesn't sit comfortably and you'll wish the developers had chosen a side and stuck to it.
They have bullet-drop in the game during the sniping sequences and you get the impression there were at least some of the developers who wanted to take the game down the uber-realistic route used to great affect in Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising. But ultimately, Medal of Honor Warfighter falls back on the formula making money over at Activision - balls out, gun-toting action, with little substance.

The less said about the multiplayer the better, and besides, Battlefield 3 and Halo 4 have that wrapped up, for this generation at least, but I think the single player campaign is still worth a visit. I thought it was better than Black Ops II, which Edge gave 8 / 10. to. Which proves the words of games journalists should be used only for guidance if you're still on the fence. If not and you can afford it, Medal of Honor Warfighter is worth a go. Expect to be entertained. Just don't expect the same feeling you had back in 1999.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Hobby Update

So I think we're well overdue an update on my hobby activities. Let's start with Dreadfleet.

For Christmas, my fiancee bought me the Dreadfleet foam trays from Battlefoam and they are brilliant. Safely housing all the ships, cards and extra pieces, all inside the game box, these trays are perfect for Dreadfleet players.

There are two versions on the Battlefoam site. This is the one I have - comprising of two trays that fit inside the box. Be aware, due to the size of the trays, the box will not fully close, but that's to be expected. Here's what it looks like.

The second version is made up of three trays and you'll need to buy a Battlefoam bag to carry them in.

I recently finished the Flaming Scimitar and I'm happy with how it's turned out.

This leaves me with two ships left to paint and then the auxiliaries, navigation rod etc. I think I'll then be turning back to my Eldar army. I still have five units still to paint and once those are done, here's a list of other stuff I have waiting in the wings:

1 tactical squad
3 bikes
1 devestator squad

Black Templars:
1 tactical squad
1 Company Champion

Dark Eldar:
Lelith Hesperax

Grey Knights:
Karamazov on the Throne of Judgment

Space Wolves:
1 Venerable Dreadnought

2 bastions

The Black Templar marines were an idea I'd had to build a Witch Hunters/Black Templars army. This never really came to fruition, but maybe it's something I'll go back to at some point.
The Karamazov model I bought initially to go with my Sisters of Battle because he was originalky in the Witch Hunters codex. Now he's moved to the Grey Knights, I may end up starting an army based around him in the future, but for now, he's just a painting project.
As is Lelith Hesperax. It's pretty much a perfect model that I'd love to paint. It will also give me an opportunity to see if I can paint the super straight highlights on Dark Eldar models.

My aim is to get all the models I own painted and finished, before I buy anything else or start any new projects. If you're a fellow hobbyest, I'm sure you're rolling with laughter at that statement. But that's the plan anyway. We'll see how I go with it.

In other news, the shutter on Games Workshop's Meadowhall store has closed for the last time. You can read my thoughts on its impending demise here.
I was present on the penultimate day when all the farewell activities were taking place and entered the painting competition with the model below.......and won the Warhammer 40,000 category! To see the model in the store cabinet was a great feeling and to win as well - it made my day.

In the coming weeks I'll be posting up a review of a Living Card Game I bought recently called Android: Infiltration from Fantasy Flight Games, but for now, I think that brings us up to speed on my hobby activities.

"She was an angel, pure as righteous destruction. She laid low the twisted and lifted the hearts of the righteous. At her passing, a million voices cried out her name. Shall we ever again see her like? No, not now, nor ever again..."

- Sister Patricia of the Orders Famulous, on the disappearance of Saint Celestine.

JD's Film Awards 2012

Finally, here are my Film Awards of 2012. Chosen from the movies I've seen of course.
It's taken a while because I was waiting on seeing The Hobbit, but I didn't get round to it. So without further ado.......

Best Score
The Dark Knight Rises

Best Music
The Artist

Best Visual Effects
Life of Pi

Best Screenplay
Jack Reacher

Best Story
Life of Pi

Best Actor
George Clooney, The Descendants

Best Actress
Noomi Rapace, Prometheus

Best Director
Joss Whedon, Avengers Assemble

Best Film
Avengers Assemble