19 November 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

It is that great time of year again! Time to eat the pumpkin pie, turkey, and see how far your pants will expand. FWS will be taking a break, to read, play, eat, and visit with family. In two weeks, FWS will be back with an armory blogpost about rotary cannons. However, now, I will like to take this opportunity about a time to giving thanks, to give thanks to all of you who read and comment on Future War Stories. I hope everyone has a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

16 November 2012

FWS Video Game Review: HALO 4

In 2001, Bungie, known for their PC FPS Marathon created the premier title for the fledgling Microsoft Xbox home video game console, HALO: Combat Evolved. Not only did this military sci-fi shooter give the world one of the best campaigns in history but also one of the first iconic video game characters in the new century, John-117, who now ranks with the likes of Mario, Sonic, Lara Croft, and Solid Snake. From 2001 to 2010, Bungie would release six games telling the story for the Human/Covenant War, closing down the original storyline with 2010's HALO:Reach, and it seemed to most of us that HALO was done. Then Bungie spun-off its HALO property to the newly formed 343 Industries, allowing them to continue the HALO universe. Their first game in the HALO universe was 2011's superior HALO: Combat Evolved: Anniversary Edition, and now HALO 4 has embarked us on another trilogy with our favorite SPARTAN-II.

It has been four years since the events of HALO 3, John and Cortana have been sleeping has their section of the Forward Unto Dawn drifts towards unknown structure. Meanwhile back on Terra, the UNSC has been upgrading their military with elements from Forerunner and Covenant. This was best seen in the 3.5 mile long Infinity crewed by 17,000 of the best of the UNSC, and the SPARTAN-IV units. The original mission of this vehicle was to an emergency evac-vessel if Terra was lost to the aliens, however now in 2557, it is similar to ROBOTECH's SDF-3, encountering threats out there before they get to Terra, being offensive, not defense. The Chief is awoken by Cortana when a new faction of the old Covenant, the Storm Covenant, are in orbit around a Forerunner shield world micro-Dyson Sphere known later has Requiem. Once the Chief drives off the Storm Covenant boarders, they are all pulled into Requiem to encounter their new enemy, the Prometheans...and thus another adventure begins.

The New Enemy: Meet the Prometheans
It seems that the Forerunner Empire or Ecumene, is more complex than we previous believed, because within their society, are the warrior-servant, as known as the Promethean Knights. After the ancient Human-Forerunner Wars, and the Flood, the Prometheans were against the construction of the HALO rings and interstellar sanitation. The main bad guy in HALO 4 is the Didact, a Promethean high-ranking military leader, who was a soldier during the Human-Forerunner War. He fell out of favor due to opposition to the HALO arrays to end the Flood invasion of the Ecumene.
One of his solutions during the war was to raid Installation 07 of its human population, transforming them into Promethean Knights has result of the use of the Composer, an device that melds biological and technological systems together. In this case, ancient defeated humans married to Forerunner technology, becoming warriors for the Ecumene. This horrified his wife, the Liberian, who saw this has as act of genocide, and sealed the Didact into the Cryptum on the shield-world of Requiem. Honestly, to get this fully, it looks like I'm reading the Greg Bear Forerunner books...great.


Without a doubt, HALO 4 is the most beautiful game I've ever seen on the 360, from the depth to the environments to the nearly photo-realistic faces of the characters, HALO 4 does not disappoint. During the cinematic scenes, it is hard not to be amazed the CGI human characters look and act real, all thanks to the amazing face-capture technology. For example, Cortana is the product of being modeled after Paisha Coffey (on the right), who is 100% stunning, and motion capture acting talent of actress Mackenzie Mason, and the voice of Jen Taylor. That is game that is trying to get it right by using all their tools. Real credit should be given to 343 for giving us long-term HALO players a new game that honored the canon world, and forged something original with the some of the oldest characters in the series. And they had good reason to put that much work into the fourth game. After all, if they had fucked it up, we would've burn down 343 Industries studios, because we HALO fans keep it real.
Also impressive is the way that the world of 2557 shows the changes to the world since HALO 3,with the UNSC machines shows the incorporation of the Forerunner/Covenant technology, and upgrades to some of the most familiar HALO technology. However, the best compliment that I can give HALO 4, is that it reminds players of the 'feel' of the original game without seeming cheap. and keeping the rock-solid controls, excellent music, deep campaign story, along with all manner of weapons and vehicle to unleash death on my enemies. I felt personally one of the best elements of HALO 4 was the Flood being absent. I hated the Flood after the first game, and was pleased to be fighting the well-designed and interesting Promethean Knights. 343 also give us some different than Firefight to play after the campagin was finished, SPARTAN-OPS. This is closer to the Modern Warfare Special Ops missions, where the SPARTAN-IVs under Sarah Palmer continue the fight for Requiem six months after the events of HALO 4. 343 will be release about fifty missions for the first season of SPARTAN-OPS all free for users of Xbox-Live. That is something special in this age of cash-grabbing DLC. All and all, this game made me very happy, and I am looking forward to the next two game. Well done, 343.

Even in the best shooter I've played this year, there are still some flaws, and chief among them is elements of the story. While 343 did a good job with given us a new beginning to the same universe we've been playing since 2001, it still has some stale recycled elements. The worse was that unlike HALO: CE where the game unmasks the elements to the player, allowing them to understand what the hell was going on,  HALO 4 fails to give the player little information on the Prometheans and the Didicat. This reduces the sense of urgency that you feel has a character in the game when events in the game reach a crisis point. 343 tied the Greg Bear penned Forerunner trilogy of books in the story-arch of the new HALO games, forcing players that wish to understand the entire story, to read the book. This is not literature class, I shouldn't have to read three books or read the wiki on these aliens to get it. I already paid $65 for the game...isn't that enough?
That brings me to another point about the Promeathean Knights, while their weapons are a bridge between Terran and Covenant, they seem lacking in being advanced to the degree of the rest of Forerunner technology. Sure, the reload animation is unique and displays their technological level, but that does not allow to their damage index. Much like the Promeatheans, the Storm Covenant not explained at all, even after the Chief RVs with the Infinity. Of course, there are books relating to that too....what is this? A conspiracy to sell more HALO books? That brings us to the SPARTAN-IVs, who unlike the SPARTANs from Reach, they seem much more disposable and weaker, they lacked that 'SPARTAN Badass' quality that we've come to know through the books and other games Also while playing the campaign, my mind kept flashing back to the original Mass Effect. It was not just because Jennifer Hale voiced SPARTAN-IV Commander Sarah Palmer and Sarah Shepard, but some of the Promethean weapons and environments seem similar to the Mass Effect  plus touch in the music all remind me of that Bioware game. Then all the neon-lighting caused me to have flashbacks to the TRON films. Who knew that the Forerunners liked that 1982 classic?

This is extreme nitpicking as hell, I realize that, but coming from a writer's POV, 343 lost an opportunity when the Master Chief meets the members of the SPARTAN-IV program. Prior to the Chief getting onboard the UNSC Infinity, the Terran gear and armor of those levels should have been confined to HALO 3's loadout. There is no logic for John-117 waking up from cryo with brand new armor, and access to the current armory of the UNSC when the Forward Unto Dawn has been MIA for four years. It could have been a cool scene with the Chief being upgraded to the new Material Group MJOLNIR GEN2 while the old armor was stripped away. Also, allowing the player to be briefed on the new weapons, armor, and the SPARTAN-IV program would have been a good way to bridge the gap between the original trilogy and the new one. Yeah...I know, I'm a picky bastard.

Should You PLay HALO 4?
If you are fan of the HALO games, than you're already playing this one. But for those who do not like HALO than that is a tough sale. HALO 4 is not going to change the minds of those that hated the other games...it is more of the same. Those of us, including me, that were waiting to see if 343 would fuck up the HALO universe, then those fears can be put to rest, this game is solid HALO. I paid full price for the game, and due to the excellent campaign and SPARTAN OPS, I think it is money well spent. I still believe in the Chief and his power to separate me from my cash. Hopefully, HALO 5 and HALO 6 are just as good.

10 November 2012

FWS News Flash: All You Need is Kill...First Image

Wow...can you 1980's action shot? This is from the upcoming MSF film, All You Need Is Kill starring Tom Cruise as Bill Cage and based on the award-winning Japanese light-novel of the same name. All I can say is that is looks like shit. Where the hell are the Jackets, the armored power-suits, mentioned in the novel? Are we MSF fans going to get fucking robbed of our APS again (Starship Troopers 1997 movie)?! On a good note, some of the weapon systems mention in the novel are there...sort of...but this outfit some sort of placeholder for CGI SFX....or is this it? Really? That is the best they could come up with? This design is similar to some current prototypes of military powered exoskeletons, but they are more about enhancing a soldier's strength to carry heavy equip without the need of bulk vehicles, not for frontline combat duty. I mean, come on! There is little to none in the way of armor! And besides, how the hell are suppose to swap out the magazines in the assault rifle pinned to your forearm? I was excited about this film, but now I'm unsure. I just hope the SFX is better for the aliens, the mimics than this thing. Damn, I thought this would be good...

FWS Forgotten Classics: TERMINATOR: The Burning Earth (NOW Comics 1990)

With the last Forgotten Classics blogpost series about a Outer Limits episode not going over well, I decided to whip out a classic from my comic collecting day...Terminator: the Burning Earth from NOW Comics circa 1990. For Terminator fans like me, it was not Skynet's human-shaped death machines traveling back through time to kill Sarah Conner or other common plot-points in the Terminator universe that intrigued us, but the dark future war against the machines that haunted us.  There was just something about the night battlefields lit up with plasma bolts, littered with skulls and darkened with the ashes of the pre-Judgement Day world. Sadly, most comics, movies, and TV shows with the Terminator label give us little of the dark world of 2029, and the desperate conflict. That was not so in 1988, when NOW Comics gave the world a monthly Terminator series taking place in 2031 with various resistance groups. The series would end in 1990, but was soon followed up with the subject of this blogpost, Terminator: the Burning Earth (T:TBE).

The Plot of Terminator: The Burning Earth (SPOILERS!!)
Published by NOW Comics between March and July of 1990, the Burning Earth continued the story laid down in the original series with their vision of John Conner and his organization, and a few characters, like Tim Reese (brother of Kyle Reese). Any new reader of the Terminator: the Burning Earth could go into this series cold, without the knowledge or pollution of the NOW regular series. It is around the year 2041, and the war is not going well for the human resistance. We see John Conner's once elite band of mobile fighters worn down and unable to mount an offensive against the machines. Skynet has also grown tried of the four decades old war, and has been waging a massive offensive against the humans with nuclear strikes, spraying of biological and chemical weapons, which are taking their toll. During a desperate battle, Conner puts a plasma pistol in his mouth to commit suicide. Just before he pulls the trigger, he witness two resistant fighters, one wounded, and one refusing to leave her side, get run over by an H/K ground unit. That awakes Conner the hell up, and proposes a bold strike on the HQ of Skynet, Thunder Mountain, Nevada, a former NORAD center, to end once and for all, win or lose.
Issue one detail the losing battle in the valley, and the horror of fighting in 2041, where even Conner is starting to doubt that humanity can win against the machines. At the end, once the ground and aerial HKs drive Conner's army from the field, Skynet deploys simple robotic soldiers, less complex than the Terminator model. In issue two, we are introduced to Skynet narrating it's own POV, and it's new female Terminator model, Aurora. Before you ask, I have no good idea why writer Ron Fortier even bothered with adding this element, she doesn't really come up again during T:TBE.  At the end of issue two, Conner tells the ragtag group that they are hitting Skynet HQ, and they see the first wave of nuclear equipped aerial Hunter-Killers on their way to bomb the ashes of the old world. There is some nice writing here at the end. The next issue opens with what appears to be the Rocky Mountains. Now, I've been to the Rockies several times, and it looks more like Mars than Colorado or even Nevada. Added to this, the cover art has a Terminator holding a plasma rifle that bears a striking resembles an Colonial Marines M41a1 Pulse Rifle. While one team under Conner takes the main path, and suffers from stiff resistance, another smaller non-motorized team under Conner's third in command, sneaks in to disable Skynet's power plant. As the comic closes, team one is agreed by a massive Terminator welcoming committee. Here is the weird thing, most, if not all of the 'nators are wearing skins and sunglasses....why?
 Conner Issue four opens with Skynet carpet nuclear bombing the remains of humanity in the rubble, and the Earth rebelling against the use of nukes. Conner and company are in deep serious, unable to move forward, until a nuclear-explosion wind pushing the humans over the cliff and onto the balcony. Earthquakes and the wind, damage the former NORAD complex, giving the humans the moment to invade the complex. More of the second team are cut down by mud-slides and quakes, leaving three to take on the power plant off-line. By the final issue, Conner (called Bear in the comics), is fighting QRF 'nator units, but gets to the central core of the machine. Blazing away with this plasma rifle, John Conner takes his rage out on the massive banks of computers, until a Terminator gets him on the ground, and just before it pulls the trigger, the second team comes through, knocking off the power. There is the end dialog: "Was that my own heart beating at triple time? Then the lights went out. For a second, I was bathed in darkness. Then came the silence. Oh, god, the sweet silence. The puppet's strings had been cut. Skynet was gone. The metal monster just stood in front of me waiting for further instructions that would never come."

The Historical Context of T:TBE
In September of 1988, Chicago-based NOW Comics acquired the permission to publish a comic based on the original 1984 Terminator film. At the time, was the ONLY Terminator film that existed. According to some article I read in Comic Shop News at the time, NOW Comics founder Tony Caputo walked out of a theater in 1984 after seeing the original film and knew it would make a great comic series. From September 1988 to February 1990, NOW Comics published 17 volumes that followed different resistance groups around 2031, mainly the Sarah Slammers out of Miami. Despite the bold attempt to bring the war against the machines to a comic form, it failed to depict the darkness that Cameron showed us in 1984 and had plots that seemed straight out of a Saturday Morning cartoon most of the time. Only one of the comics, number seven, gave us a similar feel to those dark visions present in the Cameron directed films. Looking back over my own collection, the letters from readers seem to greet with this analyzes, it just wasn't dark enough. That was until Terminator: the Burning Earth that is....

What Happened to T:TBE?
You might ask if T:TBE was so epic, than why didn't it led to anything? It just seems it died off, and Dark Horse Comics took over in 1990, ignoring the NOW Comics story line. Terminator: the Burning Earth was the right move for the Terminator comics, it was just too late. By this time, any comic collectors had been turned off by the lame story and art of the NOW comic line, and it didn't help the T:TBE series that a uber-lame 1990 Terminator: All My Future's Past was published right after the original run of the Burning Earth. It was reprinted into a trade paperback by iBooks in 2003, which was a reprint of the 1990 trade paperback that came out just before NOW Comics shut down. It mainly lives on in the mind of old collectors like me...

Why is T:TBE a Classic?
As I've stated a few times on this blogpost and other posts,  I'm a huge fan of the war against the machines, and there have been a few works devoted to the dark future, Dark Horse's recent 2029 miniseries, for example. All but one have been unable to show the horror of fighting the machines in the post-Judgement Day world, that is Now Comics Terminator: the Burning Earth. These five comics display the full horror of fighting Skynet, and how the toll of this endless war is felt on the main characters with all the blood, mud, and blazing blue plasma bolts to boot.
Much of the credit for the success of the book in most people's mind is the muted glory of Alex Ross's art work. Terminator: the burning earth was his first published comic work.
Within his watercolor-based art for the comic, are celebrity cameos, Cindy Crawford was the basis of the Aurora female Terminator unit, one of the bums killed my a nuclear bomb was based off William Defoe, and even David Letterman makes an appearance in issue #4 as a rebel fighter. One of these bums were also based of the cover art of Jethro Tull's 1971 Aqualung. On the cover of issue number five, Alex Ross put a series of numbers and letter made to appear to be the POV of a terminator unit, and there in the code is the words: NOW COMIX BLOZ. Nice.

NOW Comics Interpretation of the Terminator Universe
Unlike Star Trek or Star Wars, the Terminator universe suffers from a lack of canon. Nearly every comic, film, or book forges new mythology, often conflicting with previous works. I wanted to take some space for a series that as disappeared and little information exists on the internet, especially their take on the dark world of Terminator. What makes the NOW Comic series unique was that is was one of the first works outside of the original 1984 film. This series takes place in 2031, which does not make any sense, has Kyle Reese said in Terminator: "It had no choice. Their defense grid was smashed. We'd won. Taking out Conner then would make no difference. Skynet had to wipe out his entire existence." This point was made by a reader via a letter, and NOW response was shitty, saying that their comic was not a history textbook. That gives you the level of thinking here in this series. This extends to the machines of Skynet, no HK tanks are seen, only the aerial units, and all appear the same has the film, then all of the terminator units seen are infiltrators, with grown skins, new clothing and sunglasses. Yes, most to all, 'nators in the NOW comics wear sunglasses...even at night. Which makes no damn sense. Only one infiltrator  seen in #7, tries to do its job like we fans imagined. When in comes to the skin-covering for the infiltrators, NOW created these 'flesh farms' where real humans live in a community, only to be slaughtered later for their skins. In #10, one 'nator unit uses skin from one of its victims to repair its damaged exterior. But it does really matter, the 'nators look like Arnold Schwarzenegger in a world of humans always on the brink of starvation! This level of illogical things applies to Skynet itself, which treats itself has a god, and often interacts with its terminator units via normal oral communication as do the terminators when among themselves...WTF?
When it comes to the resistance, John Conner is features in issue #12 and #13, as well as in the burning earth, who is known has 'the bear', and he is always mobile, but no where near has rough and scarred as seen in other works. His organization is structured similar to a classic resistance cell, but also has an interesting birthing program. Conner's group did not` want to tie up their fighting force with being breeders, so they turned to artificial wombs, and in-vitro.
What is a real shame, besides the substandard art, and writing, is that most of the time in 2031, there are blue skies and greenery returning to the world. Which completely breaks the mood of the original film.

Should you buy/steal/read Terminator: the Burning Earth?
If you are fan of the war with the machines, especially the dark the better, than the burning Earth is for you. It does suffer from a few gaps in logic, like most of the NOW Comics Terminator comics, but the art, like a empty-headed supermodel, makes up for it. This book, even now, is pretty goddamned beautiful. The muddy, soft tones of the watercolor coupled with the bright blue plasma bolts pairs brilliantly, giving the world of 2041 the right tone for expression Cameron's dark vision of the war.  

07 November 2012

FWS News Flash: BSG: Blood & Chrome Sneak Peak!

It seems that November is going to be a good month! This Friday, the 9th, the first installment of the pilot for Blood & Chrome will be seen on Machinima Prime. Over the course of a few weeks, the two-hour pilot will be broken up into 10-to-12 minute installments. Sometime in 2013, rumor says April, the SyFy Channel will air the full pilot, then release an unrated DVD/download sometime after, much like Razor. But what about a full series? That is in question and may largely depend on how successful the pilot is, much like the path of the original 2003 BSG series. From the sneak peak, it looks good, with some corniness,but it is the central story idea that bugs me. Why the frak would Blood & Chrome start just has the ten-year Cylon War comes to a close? Just because Adama was only in the war for a short time, does mean the series has to be condemned to that time frame. I'm personally excited about more BSG even if it is just a two-hour TV movie, and doesn't lead to more. FWS will be reviewing the entire pilot at a later date. 

Here is the Sneak Peak

05 November 2012

FWS News Feed: Disney buys LucasFilms and ILM

On Devil's Night, Disney Corporation bought Lucasfilms and ILM for about four billion dollars in cash and stock from the bearded one, and nearly immediately announced that Disney would be branding the SW universe with their own new film trilogy, completing the long-rumored episodes seven, eight, and nine beginning in 2015. That is awful damn soon to be making a SW film if you ask me, and this could means that either Lucas had being planning to make the new films and give Disney his ground work. Or that this deal has been in the works for years, giving Disney time to prepare a new film. At present there is little information on the next trilogy. So, is this good thing for Star Wars? I believe yes. The prequel films are an abortion, Lucas killed that dream that we fans had for many long years, and Disney could avoid what he did wrong: not having fresh blood or eyes on the project, allowing for things like Jar Jar Binks to happen, that shouldn't have never, ever been.
Original, Lucas was going to have other directors direct episode II and III, but that didn't happen, and look what we got. Disney has the cash to draw some serious talent that Lucas would have never allowed to the new film projects and maybe that is what the SW universe needs most: fresh talent and a reboot of sorts. Some fans sites and rumors state that Disney is going to film the old Timothy Zahn Thrawn trilogy books, which will not happen. These new films will not star Han Solo or Skywalker, the actors are too old, and recasting them would be heresy. The best rumors on the subject point to extending the timeline out, beyond the lifespan of the original characters, Mark Hamill could still be alive has old Jedi Master, and you can beat that the two droids will be there. However, for the most part, Disney would want a fresh start for their SW films, and that means disregarding most of the Expanded Universe. Since most of the SW movies are about the struggle between the Sith and the Jedi, it is a good bet that VII/VIII/IX will have that has their central story. Could it be about a new Sith rising from the New Jedi Order, within their own ranks? After all, the Sith were seemly destroyed after ROTJ, with the Emperor and Vader dead. In the end, I welcome the news, and it is my hope that the SW universe gets back on track. Hell, Disney wanted to remake the prequel, that would be a good thing as well. And my vote for a director, is Ronald D. Moore. Just look at what he did for the long-dead BSG universe.

Here is what my favorite Youtube reviewer, Jeremy Jahns, says:

02 November 2012

FWS Video Game Review: Medal of Honor: Warfighter

In 2010, Danger Close Games, a subdivision of EA, rebooted the aging Medal of Honor franchise of WWII games into a modern day military shooter...sound familiar? Unlike the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series, MOH 2010 was based around real events in taking place in 2002 in Afghanistan with input from real Tier-One Operators. Using the Battlefield Frostbite Engine, the game attempted a story driven campaign told over several characters with a realistic POV, with a tacked on multiplayer based around EA's Battlefield. For some in the gaming community, including me, the game was an escape for the madness that surrounded the COD games, and it attention to how elite special operators really operate in the wilds of Afghanistan. For me, it was one of the best military shooter campaigns of all time, and a game I still play over and over. Skip ahead two years later, and Danger Close Games is at it again with Medal of Honor: Warfighter (MOH:WF) that was released on October 23,2012. This time is no different, a core character from the SEAL TEAM SIX (DEVGRU) and DELTA (CAG) Operators are back with real-world former Tier-One operators penning the story this time.
For the record, I played the campaign on normal mode, with the aim assistance off.


The Plot
Danger Close's producer Greg Goodrich has been telling us for a year that Warfighter would be a more personal, emotional story of the lives and service of Tier-One Operators, showing the impact of their service on their families, the overall fate of the nation, and their own lives. If this sounds familiar, it is. Last years Acto of Vador movie was of a similar attempt. Warfighter takes place a few years after the events of the first game, some members of AFO Wolfpack and Neptune are still around, others are gone. Preacher has left the Navy to repair his broken family, when his past in black ops catches up to him.
In commander of the new unit of joint special operators, Team Mako, is Voodoo, and they uncover a greater threat to the security of the free world while on a mission in Pakistan, the powerful explosive, Pentaerythritol tetranitrate or PETN. When this threat is unearthed, the new commander, a legend in the SPECOPS community offers Preacher and Mother to join the CIA's new clandestine operations unit, Taskforce BLACKBIRD. With this in place, one unit, Team MAKO actions are being directed by the intel that TF BLACKBIRD gathers in the field, both working from the shadow to achieve the same goal on operations around the global. That is the basic spoil-free plot of Warfigther.


I've been a gamer since 1982, and our version of multiplayer back then was to have an Atari Party, where you invited over your friends, popped pizza-rolls, made suicide Coke-based drinks, and clicked in a two-player 2600 game. And yes, they were legendary. Or there were the arcades, where you met your friends, spend an assload of quarters  avoid getting beaten-up for said quarters, and look at the pretty high-school girls. Ahhh...good times. By the 1990's, we got N64's Goldeneye, nothing was better in the 1997, then drinking, popping other things, and talking trash to your friends after completely owned them with an RPG. Once your computer and home gaming console were hooked-up to the internet, it created a global trash-talking party with games like HALO and Counter-Strike, and the the death of the single-player story-driven campaign was sealed. Today, it is the solo campaign that is an after-thought by the game developers, multiplayer is were the real money is. Some games, like HALO and Mass Effect still try to forward new campaign stories, but in the shooting world, they're rare, and that made 2010's Medal of Honor such a rare treat. I've only had Xbox Live for a few months, so, most of the time when I play games on my 360, they're campaigns. I bought Modern Warfare 3 for the story, and I bought Warfighter for the same reason.
The story of the campaign is steeped in low-profile global clandestine black operations are are indicative of Tier-One operators. You will do tings in this game that mirror elements for real operations, and things you've seen in the movies. One of the best, are the two driving stages...no, really, they are that interesting and well done. One has you racing around a market in Pakistan in a manual transmission Toyota Land Cruiser. the other is one the urban streets of Dubai behind the wheel of a hooked-up low-slung sports four-door coupe based of the Porsche Panamera Turbo.
Then there is the experience of being surrounds by characters you've come to care about, and  here is the realistic dialog that no game can match. That is where the campaign of Warfighter really shines, the hard realism of the world of Tier-One operators, and the emotion punch that it throws, makes the Call of Duty games seem like coloring books in comparison. Despite the similarity to the recent Act of Valor movie, Warfighter does a much better job, again making the new MOH games the go-to for seeing the reality of their dark world.
When it comes to game dynamics, by the picture of the SOG tomahawk here, you can guess one of the best things in the game...killing evildoers with a tomahawk! Unlike MW3 and MOH 2010, the melee button does not just unleash a slash or stab, but context-driven actions, similar to the melee function in HALO: REACH. I also enjoyed that if the gun had an attachment, you could use it. Most of the weapons in Warfighter mount two slighting systems, an ACOG more long range red dot scope with a close-in reflex flip-up red dot sight stacked on top, and both were usable. This attention to detail was clean in the tactical gear that the operators were wearing, that the weapons were current real-steel, unlike several in MW3.
But the weapon class that always impresses me in the MOH game...the pistols. The Modern Warfare series treats pistols has a necessary items, but they are not effective in gameplay, that is not true in Warfighter. Because of the realism, reloading your primary is slower than the Call of Duty games, making switching to the sidearm, your only means of self-defense when the evildoers come around the corner. Given the the good design, the CGI SIG felt like my P229, allowing to put rounds in the A-box all the frakking time, making the the pistol an enjoyable element of the game.

What the Frostbite 2 Engine does for the campaign, it also did for the multiplayer maps. Truly, some of the best looking and impressive environments for spraying computer-generated bullets in. Equally beautiful in a deadly fashion is the CGI weapons that will spraying those bullets. All of the real-steel weapons in the Warfighter multiplayer are rendered well, with excellent sound and customization backing them up. The two weapons I was most impressed by and enjoyed using, were the tomahawks and pistols. Unlike MW3, pistols are effective when the shit hits the fan and your secondary is all that can save you. With my trusty SIG Sauer P226, I could bring down targets that rushed me when my primary was reloading (no sleight of hand here!). The tomahawk was also a deadly joy to use, not because it behaved in any manner similar to the magically ax of Black Ops, because hacking someone to death was a hell of lot of fun more than a slash. In the multiplayer, the tomahawk was a two-hit killer, which somehow was more fun than in Black Ops.  If you did  sneak behind the tango and engage the melee, brings in a gruesome hand-to-hand animation of your  enemy hacking you up Psycho style.
During the 12 hours I spent with Warfighter's multiplayer, I noticed that I played more games than if I had played either Black Ops or MW3, the lobbies moved much quicker and nearly seamless between matches, often with less than a minute being matches.
Another element that worked well, and I wished was in Black Ops or MW3 multiplayer, is the 'buddy' system. At the beginning of lobby, you are paired up with either a complete stranger or a friend that you request, into a two-man fire team. During the match, you will spawn on the six of your buddy, receive buddy points for kills, and help heal each other as well as spare a mag or two.
The best overall positive that I can praise Warfighter's multiplayer with, is that I enjoyed it much than Black Ops. There is no random, seemly disembodied bullets, striking you perfectly, or little dirty holes or places were one can camp to use their G11 on you. This multiplayer was more clean killing for the most part, because I saw the dude that pumped me full of lead, and there was more military/paintball tactical thinking going on during the game than in the COD games. Oh, and the best part? The simple lack of the idiotic dumbass trash talk that exists in the Black Ops lobbies, or having to listen to shitty hiphop music and fucktards that blow whistles in the lobbies. Yeah...I didn't miss them at all.


The motto for why the failure of Warfighter did not to live up to the greatness of the 2010 game is "death by a thousand paper cuts". There is no one single fatal flaw that dooms MOH:WF to the bargain box of Gamestop, but small ones that peck at the player's brain. First off, the AI for friend and foe is broken. Often my elite teammates would shot at nothing, emptying magazines into walls, while I'm getting my arse kicked in, and the enemy fighters would run directly into our lines of fire, often mixing themselves into our team. When this happened, and does continuously, my teammates do not response, allowing me to take all the damage. Thanks alot.
Speaking of damage, Danger Close must be using Warfighter for social education on how the public should make A-box and head shots, because that is seemly the only way to bring down the evildoers with less than half a magazine. Even body shots in the chest or stomach, which would collapse a soldier not wearing body armor, seem to phase your enemies very little. Pumping shotgun and 5.56 rounds into targets that wouldn't drop got old real fucking quick, which coupled with the low (less than 200 rounds) ammunition that your character carries for your primary assault rifle, where in the Modern Warfare games, four to six hundreds rounds were common. When you turn augment your limited ammo with an enemy weapon, the game doesn't allow to drop your auto-assigned primary, nor add it to your weapons cycle. That's right...when you switch to your pistol, and you will alot, the enemy weapon drops out of your hands. This forces you scour for it, and at times, the game simply deletes it.
In any military shooter, weapons are your bread-and-butter, and if you cannot get them right, the game is doomed. When it comes to weapons of Warfighter, Danger Close had official firearms sponsors, like LeRue Tactical, whose work appears in the game, along with the real-steel weapons of Tier-One operators, but the weapons appear too far away from the shoulder and appearing bulky, giving points to MW3 weapons for superior animation work.
While I praised Warfighter for their realistic manner that they approach their weapons that their optical setup, most of the time, that stack of aiming systems is just too damn high, often obscuring the playing field. This was especially true during the 'Finding Faraz' level, where you are in low-profile mode in Afghanistan, using an OPFOR AKS-74U. The Krinkov is one of my favorite weapons of all time, even held a real-steel class-III one, but during the level, yours is outfitted with an ACOG scope and a reflex dot sight on top of it. Why? A commando-length carbine does not need a scope of that size. Lastly, there are these 'heavy gunner' in the game that akin to the Juggernauts in MW2/MW3, which comes off has cheap and wrong of the hard realism world of MOH. the last point I wanted to bring up, is that muck like the 2010 game, the replay value will be low, because the game generates the same enemies with the same level of AI...HALO it isn't.


As with all things in Warfighter, for everything good in the multiplayer, there is a dark side that overwhelms the good. While the maps are pretty, they are massive, with areas that are off-limits, forcing you to turn back, and often running you into awaiting enemies. Sometimes this is due to the type of game you're engaged in, like bomb planting, but it happened to me on team deathmatch. These pesky issue extend to the menu screens in the lobby, which are badly laid out, and confusing, along with the international Tier-One theme. It seems that you unlock different international operators in specific classes as you level up. You can play all operators of a certain flag, or make your own Rainbow Six team. But it is not that epic as it was sold to us.
The worst two elements are the kill-streak rewards and the effectiveness of the weapons. After a few kills, which are damn hard to pull off, you are rewarded based on the class your running, with. Sometimes it is 60mm mortars, or a smokescreen, or Blackhawk fast-rope re-spawn (which is cool). The bad element is that due to the ensuing chaos, it is damned difficult to laze the target area, without getting popped! But the most disappointing were the weapons. Warfighter offers the player a vast array of real-steel, well animated weapons, but they are completely underpowered. During my first engagement on the multiplayer, I saw a head pop out of a second story building, I switched the assault rifle to single-shot, and took aim with a red dot. Prefect headshot with bloodspray. When he didn't drop, I pumped a few more rounds, all with hit markers. Nothing. When the target took cover being the corrugated metal skin of the building, but my 5.56mm wouldn't pierce through that....really?! Then he fucking shot me. So much for the destructible environments! To remedy this, I attempted to remove the sound suppressor off of my H&K 416, and I had to wait to unlock that barrel....really?! Bottom line, MW3 is still the best modern military multiplayer.



Instead of one element that is uber-bad in this game, I given the ugly award to an entire level: Shore Leave. This is the first true shooting level of the game and comes after the introduction to how the current events connecting the 2010 game to the new one, the player steps into the boot of former Marine and current SEAL, Stump, a member of Voodoo's Team MAKO. Stump and MAKO's mission to assault an Al-Shabaab Pirate base-of-operation in an shore town in Somalia. Sounds good, right? Nothing like killing some no good pirates, right? Wrong. This level is simply broken, and the worst level in the entire campaign. No one was more in the history and events of October 3rd, 1993, and a change to play in Somalia on the current console games than me. I was excited to see this event at E3, until they started playing and it only became worse once I actually played it. The tactics of these Tier-One operators is extremely weak, the reality is even worst. Stump gets hit square with a skinny sniper round, dumping into the water, but he lives...WTF?
Then the game forces you to assault up the beach directly into their machine gun fire, without the ability to flank them. After some brutal damage and skinnies running directing into your lines, you have to clear the lower portions of the building to linkup with Team Force Grizzly. Suddenly, one of the SEALs whips out the unmanned ground vehicle armed with a 240 MG and 40mm. Where the hell did that thing come from? No one is humping that thing during urban CQC assaults or a beachlanding? What do the SEALs have backpack that are like the TARDIS? It only goes downhill, with souless action, a boring color-by-numbers sniper sequence that cannot compare to 2010's Friends From Afar level. Once I beat the game, I decided to replay Shore Leave, just to make sure I wasn't coming down too hard on the game. And after a rather fast replay (because I knew where the enemies were), I stand by my ugly award. A real pity.

Nothing pisses me off more in multiplayer games than when you have some dead-to-rights, and you begin to fire your assault rifle, then magically, he fires, too, but after you have engaged him....but you're the one to die? I call bullshit on that one! It seems that ever game has that now, especially Black Ops, but Warfighter is nearly has bad, especially when playing team deathmatch.

What other reviewers are saying
IGN.com rated MOH:WF at a 4.0, calling it bad, broken, flawed, and a waste of time, titling their review 'dishonorable discharge'. Metacritic had it had 54/100. Game Informer titled their review, 'A Medal of Awful', and stated that the entire future of the Medal of Honor is at risk of EA of ending the franchise all together. One thing that cannot agree with IGN or Game Informer is the how they felt the story was muddy, confusing, and how the characters were unlikable  I could see someone that didn't dig the 2010 game being lost and not caring about the character, but those of us, like me, that enjoyed the hell out of the 2010 game, got the characters. The story is a more complex issue. Because real Tier-One operators wrote the story, it is deeply layers like a good lasagna with military-speak and the dark world of clandestine operations. If you have never read up or have an interesting the world of black ops, than this story could be confusing. That is not the games fault for your lack of knowledge and willingness to learn, that is on you.  

Should You Buy/Rent/Steal MOH:Warfighter?
It breaks my heart and pains me to say this, but, don't pay full price for this game, it is just that flawed at every  level. If were a fan of the 2010 game, than you've already bought it, or waiting....wait some more until it drops in price, and it will. Rent it or borrow form a friend, just don't do what I did, pay $65 for it!
HALO 4 better live up to the hype after this disappointment.