Medal of Honor Warfighter Home Run Hands-On
Medal of Honor Warfighter Home Run Hands-On
A destroyed stadium in Sarajevo is the playing field for our first shot at Medal of Honor's new eSports focused multiplayer modes. The stadium is overrun with greenery and full of half-built (or half-destroyed) walls - the setting evokes a sort of 'killhouse' feeling (for those familiar with Rainbow Six's multiplayer training ground).
Standing next to me is Nathan Lawrence from AtomicMPC. When it comes to partners, I can't do much better - and it goes without saying that Nathan can't do better than me. In front of me is an overworked PC - it's been running non-stop for three days now - and a surprisingly not too grimy keyboard and mouse combo.
We both select the Pointman as our 'class' for this game of Home Run - it's the only class currently playable as an Australian, and though Nate is a Kiwi I allow it out of respect to our ANZAC legacy.
The Pointman is currently the best class, as far as I can see. No, he can't slow time and his mum isn't a small girl (I still don't quite know the plot of FEAR), but he does have a Steyr Aug with tiny recoil, a shotgun as his secondary, flashbangs for grenades and a single clip of "Heavy Hitters" - 30 rounds of boosted damage, probably all you need for the short rounds in Home Run.
When the round begins we're on defence. This mode is similar in concept to Counter-Strike's classic hostage rescue "cs_" maps - except instead of dumbass hostages we're stopping our enemies from grabbing flags.
I look at Nathan and say "B" - and no other communication takes place. Everything else is instinctual as we move through to protect B - just our ability to react to a multiplayer game map after literally thousands of hours in the likes of Counter-Strike, Call of Duty and Battlefield.
The Tier 1 operators the game revolves around use their periphery senses to take information in - in lieu of these senses Medal of Honor lets you see an outline of your Fireteam partner at all times - and anything he can see. When gunfire breaks out near you it's simple to glance at where your partner is to know if they're in trouble or not.
We win the first round easily - my immediate action on starting the round is to load my Heavy Hitters to give me a damage boost, and when I reach B the other team essentially funnels into my sights. The one team member who lives is eliminated seconds later by Nate.
The score is 2 - 0
The second round we lose. Our Fireteam engages in a gunfight around B and in my hurry to avenge my partner's death I fail to check my corners. Our other teammates die before the group at B can cap the flag, but our enemy picks up two points anyway.
The Score is 2 - 2.
The third round is slow and drawn out - after clearing B with no contacts we move through the Attacking team's spawn point to make our way to A, hoping to catch them with their backs turned. They pick up the flag and the gunfire stops before we can get to them. I head down the very middle of the map with reckless abandon and I catch the flag carrier sprinting for the capture zone - I put him down very easily. His partner powers through to the flag without looking and I put him down. I take some bullets from the other two on their team and I fall back - and as they commit to put me down Nathan sweeps in behind to finish them off. Not a word is uttered as we do any of this.
The Score is 4 - 2
The fourth round begins and our Fireteam gets stuck in a protracted firefight defending B. When the flag at A is snatched and our teammates are killed, I'm stuck in cover attempting to make sure we don't get flanked as I regain some of my health. We're both pinned down behind a waist high wall by one attacker, and as soon as his fireteam buddy bursts into the room where we're pinned I put him down and we both sprint for the flag cap area. I'm not sure what Nathan sees, but I aim and fire on the flag-carrier just as they enter the capture zone, and we drop the round.
The Score is 4 - 4
The Heavy Hitter tactic shows its teeth in this, our final defending round. The game is more than happy to let you know when a team is down to its last member, and I find out I'm alone quite early on. After running my usual route to check B I'm warned that I'm alone, and so instead of attempting to take them on one-on-four I leg it back to the capture zone and start camping. The flag at A is picked up and I know where to look. I'm hiding in some trees as I wait for them to come, constantly watching the three entry points to the area as I do. The game tells you the distance the flag carrier is from the the zone - I don't think I agree with this, but I won't say I didn't use it to gauge their distance as best I could. The other team finally seemed to be playing cautiously, but their flag man ran out first and died too easily. I pitched a flashbang at where the flag now stood and caught two more of them in it - as I moved up the stairs to put them down I took fire from behind... one of my enemies had flanked all the way around to B, but their timing was ever so slightly off when they entered the area. I turned around and threw my second flashbang at him directly after I put the others down, and I went prone to wait for my health to regenerate. A grenade explodes nearby - too close for my comfort - and I get up and run away, just as another grenade explodes short of where I was. I decide to use my movement to my advantage and I run halfway around the map to flank my enemy from the side. Sadly, he catches me in the act and I don't have enough health to live through the onslaught. He didn't have the flag in his hands though, so their team only picks up a single point.
The Score is 4 - 5
As our teams switch sides a cutscene of sorts plays, showing the two teams eyeing one another as they swap roles. Medal of Honor's multiplayer is based on the concept of 'Blue on Blue' warfare - that this isn't 'cops and robbers' or 'goodies and baddies', it's just elite special forces soldiers at their most competitive.
When round six begins I sprint over to B and get dropped the instant I carelessly run through a doorway. Suddenly I'm spectating - something I didnít think possible in the Frostbite engine. I'm able to either ghost my fireteam partner or I can switch between locations on the map to see what's going on. I follow Nathan as he kills our enemies with frightening efficiency. It's easy to see that of the pair of us he's probably the better player - that the only reason I sit above him on the leaderboard is not because my aim is keener, but because my tactics are honed. The defending team drops before anyone on our team grabs the flag.
The Score is 5 - 5
For round seven I consider swapping to a different class in the eight seconds I have before the round begins. Of the other classes they have a variety of utilities I weigh against my Pointman - the Assaulter has more explosives and greater potential damage, the Demolitions guy can soak a heap of damage when he dons extra armour, the Heavy Gunner's bipod stance gives him more utility on defence than on offence, and the Special Ops class can get a latent look at his enemy through a "Spec Ops vision" ability. The Sniper alone seems a tad worthless in this mode - but then, I've never found much utility in sniper rifles in these sorts of games.
I decide to stick with my Pointman and I rush, gung-ho for flag B - and I pick it up as soon as I am in range. Gunfire near my partner gives me faith that I'll get away with my rushing ploy, but as I leave the flag area I hear bullets crashing into the wall around me. I don't stop, quickly turning through the door to put more cover between me and my assailant. Nathan's position is close on my right now, and I can see he is still alive through the wall, taking fire though he is. I sprint past and onto the capture zone, and the entire round is over in about 15 seconds.
The score is 7 - 5
A hail of grenades greets us at B when round eight begins - enough that we ditch and head for A instead. This is a mistake on our part - it turns out the Spec Ops class (the fastest moving class) throws little cluster bombs instead of grenades, and the six explosions aren't indicative of the entire team being at one site. Happily though, with all four of us at A the two defending the point are not equipped to stop us - and we storm through to cap the flag.
The Score is 9 - 5
Round nine begins with a warning - our opponents must score this round if they plan on playing round 10. Long story short - we never play round 10. Our game on attack is near flawless - when our execution has faltered, we were saved through a decent bit of luck. I open with a volley of flashbangs thrown at roughly the same angle as the grenades we'd encountered the round before, but I don't appear to get any hits for it. We grab the flag as a pair and sprint for the cap area to find that our enemies had all defended A - our last round is the quickest of every round in this match.
When the match ends Nathan and I share a combination of a high five and a fistbump that in years to come will be described as 'embarrassing for everyone' - but really, high-fistbumping isn't supposed to be our superpower. Our superpower is winning at unreleased video games, and isn't that what being a games journalist is all about?
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Fri 24 Aug 12, 8:03pmPhyaran
Posted: Fri 24 Aug 12, 8:03pm
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