There's a mounted gun bit in the demo for Medal of Honor that was on display at GDC last night. It's a spectacular piece of entertainment, a real showcase of what the tech they're using to make the game can do. You're driving along on a dingy as waves lash a flooded Thai city. You're ferrying rescued aid workers to an extraction point where you're met by two transport helicopters. They hover, and, in a cutscene, your character attaches ropes to the base of the choppers and you're lifted away into the sunset.
Throughout the presentation, Greg Goodrich, the creative mind behind the Medal of Honor revival earnestly explains just how important it is to respect the community of special forces operatives that have helped craft the game. They've got “an unprecedented group of two dozen” special forces operatives working as technical advisors, and full-time staff. The game itself is based on a book written as a way for two former operatives to “vent” on how they'd fight the war on terror. The game hops around high and low profile special forces missions from the real world: “every relevant mission from the past 30 years,” explains Greg, “including the capture of Noriega.”
The other section shown is a blast through a building. Terrorists hide behind tables, stalk round stairs, and die with graceful ragdolls. The player plants the ironsights over their faces, and they fall over.
The presentation is earnest and respectful.
But it's still a mounted gun bit. And it's still a corridor shooter bit.
Medal of Honor is immensely frustrating to me. Here's the problem: I want to believe the hype. I want to see a publisher with the financial might of EA push to create a game that pushes the boundaries of what games with guns in do. I love Battlefield, but it's better in hardcore mode. I'm happy with playing CoD, but I'd much prefer to be in ArmA.
Any reader of PC Gamer knows exactly what they're going to get with Medal of Honor: Warfighter. The demo last night did nothing but tick boxes. But the presentation and the discussion made me pine for a game that offered so much more than the corridor shooter they displayed.
It's out on October 23rd.