Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Playlist – 10/28/2012

The great thing about the playlist is it’s open and free. I can write about my goals in a game, why I like a particular genre over another, the lifespan of a release, or certain mechanics that do and don’t work in a game. Like most people last week, I played Medal of Honor: Warfighter. I’ll have a more substantial article about it in general soon, but this week I wanted to talk about one of the best parts of Medal of Honor: Warfighter, breaching.

Medal of Honor: Warfighter

Most first-person shooters will kick in the door with breaching by making NPCs do it. Just look at Homefront for the worst example. Thankfully, the developers at Danger Close recognized this and put breaching in the player’s hands in Medal of Honor: Warfighter. It works somewhat similar to tactical games like Rainbow Six: you and your squad line up against the door, a menu appears for you to choose your entry method, and once chosen, time slows down for you to enter and eliminate the enemies inside. Killing an enemy with a headshot will count towards the four headshots needed to unlock the next tier in the breaching menu.

The issue with this mechanic is the different methods are simply cosmetic variations; whether you’re kicking down the door or using an explosive charge, nothing changes. Another problem - and I’m not sure how many people encountered this - but by the third mission, I already unlocked all the breaching methods with nothing left to unlock for the remaining 10 missions.

I’ve been thinking about this and there’s way to come up with a system that still uses the same methods, but creates a more dynamic breach that actually affects the outcome of each one. The first tier would be the exact same, kick in the door, throw in a flash grenade, and shoot each enemy, with four headshots to unlock the next tier. I’d switch the tomahawk and the crowbar so the crowbar is the second tier. Using the crowbar automatically kills one of the enemies, leaving the rest for you to shoot. No headshot credit is granted for the one automatically killed, making the highest possible headshots earned with a crowbar breach at three. The next tier, the tomahawk, again automatically kills a single enemy, but the kill counts as a headshot. The fourth, the shotgun, would kill two enemies, but neither kill would grant credit for a headshot, leaving the highest possible headshots earned with a shotgun breach at two.

Now we start to enter explosive territory. The door charge tier would automatically kill one enemy and grant no headshot credit for that kill, but extend the stun time an extra five seconds. The flex linear charge breach would automatically kill half of the enemies on the other side of the door, granting no headshot credits. You might look at this and compare it to the shotgun breach, thinking there isn’t much variance, but breaches vary with the number of enemies. Sometimes you might get as many as five enemies to take out, some as little as two. If you come up on a door with five enemies on the other side, the flex linear charge will round up and take out three of the five, leaving only two for you and your squad. The last breach method, the sheet charge, kills all enemies. By the time you reach this tier, no more headshots needed, so just blow everyone away.

Effectively, this would space out the tiers of breaching to not only limit the number of possible headshots to unlock the next tier, but once you do start getting into higher tiers, headshots won’t matter as much. It also creates a situation where choosing a shotgun breach over a door charge breach would be more advantageous if you gambled on there being only two enemies behind a door. Just because it’s a tier higher doesn’t make it your best option.

Game Deals

Gamefly has a deal going on right now for 20% off all PC download all orders until November 9 when using the promo code BETATHANKS. This will work on recent releases in addition to pre-orders for games like Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, and Assassin’s Creed 3.

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