Another year, another realistic, gritty first person shooter. If modern military shooters were a virus, they would be the common cold. Infecting the general populace every now and then throughout the year. Always adapting, never quite disappearing. It was with this somewhat dour attitude that I tackled EA’s other shooter with a somewhat silly name, Warfighter. What I got was a game of two halves.

The first thing I got to tackle was the single player campaign,where my team of ultimate bad asses had to assault some urban ruins in a wet and somewhat flooded level, because there were bad men about, and I had to shoot them. They were war, and I was a fighter.

The controls were your standard shooty controls. Grenades, sidearms, aiming and vaulting. All of these thing were mapped to the buttons you expect them to be mapped to. Before I go and sound like I was just playing generic shooter number 184, there is a neat little mechanic that lets you peek and fire around corners. So there’s that.

The level saw me fighting enemies across the map until we holed up in a building. The enemy were entrenched across a plaza, and advancing would have been suicide. It was up to me then to paint the building with a laser designator so that we could call in an air strike. There was a moment of confusion when I stood at a window, aiming the laser at the target and nothing was happening. It turned out I had to go onto the balcony to complete the objective. This was never made clear, and was through much strafing back and forth that I luckily strayed into the designated laser targeting zone.

The game doesn’t look particularly good, with drab environments and more than a few muddy and jagged textures. The same cannot be said for the sound direction though, which I felt was very impressive. Guns sound like they’re doing some real damage and explosions have a hearty nature. You feel like you’re in possession of some pretty powerful hardware.

The level ends with a pretty standard on rails section where you take control of a minigun mounted in a black hawk chopper. Flying about the level, you clear more than a few spaces and buildings with unrelenting, explosive fury. The thing is, it’s all been done before.

After this I was just about ready to write off Warfighter as your bog standard shooter. Maybe it is in a sense, it doesn’t offer anything that hasn’t been done before, at least from the demo’s perspective of one playthrough. Yet I did have fun with the multiplayer.

Based on DICE’s frostbite engine, firefights between players are frantic and noisy. Bits of wall and cover is blown away as you’re pelted with bullets. There is a buddy system in place which has players teaming up with one another. If one dies, then they can spawn directly on their buddy’s position, as long as their not moving too much or actively taking damage. It means you can get back into the action quicker if you happen to bite the dust.

Depending on you class, if you get a kill streak going you’ll be rewarded by various types of support, such as the aforementioned laser designator, to drones and mortar strikes. There’s a nice feeling of progression and it means that the soundtrack to your battles is usually accompanied by a cacophony of destruction.

Based off the single player I wouldn’t jump to recommend Warfighter. However if you are looking for a competent and entertaining multiplayer experience, then EA’s latest might just be the fix you need.

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This article was first posted on October 11, 2012