Medal of Honor: Warfighter Benchmarked

Florian Glaser (translated by Robert Johnston), 10/30/2012

An insubstantial spectacle. EA and Danger Close have created a serious opponent to Call of Duty with the new Medal of Honor: Warfighter. Thanks to the high class Frostbite 2 engine the action-beast is especially good in terms of visuals. Next to the hardware requirements we also take a look at the gaming qualities in this review. Can the title reach the level of a shooter-elite?

Medal of Honor: Warfighter

The 2010 released predecessor didn't receive much kindness from the press. If you take metacritic.com as an example, the worldwide average rating was only 72%. The scores from users only reached 6.4 out of 10 points. In the opinions of the critics, EA's plan to make a decent Call of Duty equivalent had failed. The October 2012 released Warfighter should finally close the gap to the Activision competition. With a fresh new graphics framework on board the conditions are ideal...

Description

From a technical viewpoint, the first person shooter is doing just about everything right. The modern Frostbite 2 engine is not only able to flex its muscles in Battlefield 3, but also in Medal of Honor: Warfighter.  As we have come to expect from this engine, most textures are sharp and convincing with a high level of detail. Thanks to the powerful destruction physics, many level elements are able to be broken down into individual components.

The above average effects (lighting, reflections, explosions etc.) are also worthy of praise. Danger Close frequently makes use of the successful representations of rain and water effects. However, we should mention that some effects tend to be a bit exaggerated and  therefore seem unrealistic. Nevertheless, the graphics are on a higher level than most of the competition. Action representatives that are using older graphics engines like the Unreal Engine 3 or the Source Engine (see Borderlands 2 or Counter Strike: GO) don't have any chance against Warfighter

As it should be for a decent first person shooter, Medal of Honor does well in the categories of control and sound. With the exception of the somewhat unfortunate menu navigation, the title runs pleasantly precise and smoothly. Anyone familiar with the Call of Duty or Battlefield series will quickly feel at home. In combination with the clear hit feedback and great animations, the title makes for an intense gaming experience.

The gripping in-the-middle feeling also comes from the massive sound backdrop. With a good (surround) sound setup or a high quality headset, you should really be able to enjoy the great explosion and shooting sound effects. The driving music and professional (English) voice actors both add to the atmosphere.

 

The first mission starts as planned...
The first mission starts as planned...
...but soon turns to a disaster.
...but soon turns to a disaster.
The fire and smoke effects are very modern.
The fire and smoke effects are very modern.

Hands-on, Medal of Honor presents an ordinary prospect. While the gameplay is not at all bad, the single player still doesn't offer anything amazing. Let's begin with the positive aspects. When you take a look at the individual missions you can see that Danger Close has tried to take a new approach both visually and in terms of content.

During the single player campaign the gamer is confronted with things such as a breakneck speed car chase through a famous city and a motor boat evacuation in the flooded Philippines. Between the spectacular and adrenaline fueled action sequences are - in the spirit of Call of Duty - quiet moments that encourage a stealth approach (which seem fixed and set up).

Gaming freedom is not particularly written into Warfighter. In contrast to some Battlefield 3 levels, the war zone in Medal of Honor turns out to be narrow and tubular (the engine can clearly achieve more). As expected, the title pushes through quite linear levels, which are interwoven with lots of scripted parts. In other words: the action-per-second is extraordinarily high.

The grenades that somehow miraculously land right in front of the legs of the main character are also reminiscent of Call of Duty. The same goes for the AI characters, who all act in the standard manner, which means: the enemies sometimes entrench themselves behind cover, and then in other situations start stupidly advancing forward. Despite the high linearity it is not always clear what you should be doing next.

The characters are highly detailed.
The characters are highly detailed.
The training course looks to be based on Call of Duty.
The training course looks to be based on Call of Duty.
The breach sequences promise more than they can deliver.
The breach sequences promise more than they can deliver.

In terms of narrative, the action title has a few hiccups. Danger Close tries to unfold the story with numerous flashbacks and perspective changes, but this fails miserably in practice. With all the constant jumps it becomes difficult to follow or even identify a central theme.

Ergo: the tangled story line is consequently the weakest part of Warfighter. Even more annoying is the fact the cut scenes are really well made. Generally, the developers of war shooters need to finally venture into new realms. We have already dealt with enough uninspired anti-terrorist stories in the past.

We also have to criticize the questionable undertones of the game. Medal of Honor seems particularly jingoistic and military-glorifying at times. Its nationalistic themes could lead to alienating various sections of its targeted audience and some features could be deemed morally ambiguous (torture camps, drone missions etc). Warfighter is not alone in this respect: The Call of Duty series has been fighting with this 'problem' for years. 

Overall, we feel the new Medal of Honor game is quite mixed. While the first person shooter is technically up to date, the game design and scenarios feel relatively antique. The extremely low scores on other portals are however not justified. Subjectively, the single player mode is not noticeably worse that the direct counterparts, ie. Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3. The mundane 'I shoot through masses of moderately intelligent enemies with advanced weaponry' principle has simply been milked for too long. Anyone who does like this type of gameplay will certainly be able to get some fun out of it. 

Warfighter sends us around the globe.
Warfighter sends us around the globe.
The Africa mission begins on the coast.
The Africa mission begins on the coast.
In zoom mode the weapon is blurred.
In zoom mode the weapon is blurred.

Benchmark

With the tool Fraps we measure a roughly 30 second sequence of gameplay in the single player level 'Unintended Consequences'. The benchmark begins as soon as the atmospheric intro video switches control over to the user. Shortly after, the player has to plant a bomb on a truck. As soon as the armed charge is placed we stop recording with Fraps. In the following table the average frame rate is shown.

For the game to run like any dashing first person shooter there needs to be an average of at least 30 fps. The demands of the benchmark sequence are not extremely high or especially low. During the course of the game there will be passages of gameplay that will strain the hardware both more and less. Because of time restraints we have not (yet) had the chance to test the multi-player mode.

Graphics Options

As with Battlefield 3, all graphics options can be directly regulated in-game. In the video menu you can not only adjust the brightness and resolution, but also (de)activate the picture color mode and vertical synchronization. In the graphics menu there are 13 options available, wherein 4 graphics quality presets can be used. For our benchmark we will naturally make use of the practical presets.

 

Low Preset
Low Preset
Medium Preset
Medium Preset
High Preset
High Preset
Ultra Preset
Ultra Preset

While the anisotropic filtering is already operating at 2x with the 'Low' preset, the post processing anti aliasing FXAA is first activated on the mid level stage. High value MSAA is only active while on 'Ultra' settings. Unlike Call of Duty, the differences of the settings are limited. Even with minimal graphics quality Medal of Honor still looks good. In contrast, the hardware requirements are relatively high. 

New environments are well presented.
New environments are well presented.
On the battlefield destruction dominates.
On the battlefield destruction dominates.
Frequently the player has to fight through the night.
Frequently the player has to fight through the night.

We couldn't notice any technical problems, except for AMD's current flagship (the Radeon HD 7970M would often leave the screen black after starting) all models we tested ran without problems. Crashes happened just as seldom as graphics errors. Note: the title requires a DirectX 10.1 or DirectX 11 capable system (affects Windows and the GPU).

Medal of Honor scores with a cool presentation.
Medal of Honor scores with a cool presentation.
Sometimes the action-beast turns into a chicken-slaughter.
Sometimes the action-beast turns into a chicken-slaughter.
Every now and then you're placed in the cockpit of a vehicle.
Every now and then you're placed in the cockpit of a vehicle.

Results

Entry level graphics cards are already made to sweat at just minimum settings. The popular processor chip HD Graphics 4000 only manages a rate of just under 30 fps in our benchmark sequence - and that's with a resolution of 1024x768 pixels. Even worse is its predecessor: the old HD Graphics 3000 doesn't once manage to provide smooth gameplay on the monitor with minimum settings (17 fps, Core i7-2630QM).

For normal details and a resolution of 1366x768 pixels you need at least a mid range solution such as the GeForce GT 640M. Higher details are first possible with a GeForce GT 650M. Anyone wanting to enjoy the game at the higher level of 1600x900 or 1920x1080 pixels needs a truly high end model. The computationally intensive Ultra level can be handled by the current front runners. Thanks to the brand new Catalyst 11.2 drivers, the Radeon HD 7920M sits comfortably above the normally equal GeForce GTX 680M (46 vs 41 fps @ FHD respectively).

Benchmark table for Medal of Honor: Warfighter

Verdict

In comparison to Modern Warfare 3, Warfighter requires significantly more computer power. Without a potent middle class or luxury GPU, gamers will have to settle for minimum or normal quality settings. This is no big deal, since the visuals are not scaled down as much as with other games. 

It is a shame that the title's contents fall short of our expectations. The recently benchmarked Dishonored proved impressively that games can be of artistic value and grown up aside from the portrayal of violence. Despite the brutal action, Medal of Honor does seem childish at times. The product falls far short of the   'authentic military experience' that the publisher EA would love to have. The customer receives what is only a standard Hollywood shooter with an average story line.

Most of the time we are on the move with a team.
Most of the time we are on the move with a team.
The chaotic story line is advanced with cut-scenes .
The chaotic story line is advanced with cut-scenes .
The first person shooter offers a lot of variety.
The first person shooter offers a lot of variety.

Test Systems

For the following test devices we give a huge thanks to Schenker Notebooks (mysn.de):

  • XMG P502 (Core i7-3610QM, GeForce GTX 660M, GTX 670M, GTX 675M, GTX 680M & Radeon HD 7970M, 8 GB RAM)
  • XMG A502 (Core i5-3360M, GeForce GT 650M & HD Graphics 4000, 8 GB RAM)
  • Xesia M501 (Core i7-2630QM, GeForce GT 630M & HD Graphics 3000, 8 GB RAM) 

GPU drivers of the three platforms: Nvidia 306.97, AMD 12.11 Beta and Intel 9.17.10.2867.

From left to right: Schenker XMG A502, Xesia M501 & XMG P502
From left to right: Schenker XMG A502, Xesia M501 & XMG P502

Overview

Show Restrictions
Pos      Model                                     Medal of Honor: Warfighter
 Medal of Honor: Warfighter (2012)
low
1024x768
Low Preset
2xAF
med.
1366x768
Medium Preset
4xAF
high
1366x768
High Preset
16xAF
ultra
1920x1080
Ultra Preset
16xAF 4xMSAA
 6NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M SLI
194.1
179.7
161.2
80.2
 11NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
197
170
150
66.7
 12AMD Radeon HD 7970
173.7
138.4
117.4
52.5
 16NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
170.41
147.86
137.43
59.55
 17NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti
189.7
151.5
128.2
54.1
 19NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M
197.6
163.3
132.9
54.92
 24AMD Radeon HD 8970M
174.2
143
112.4
47.7
 25NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
180.6
94.9
74.4
29.6
 29NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M
154.9
111.3
93.1
41.72
 30NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M SLI
188.8
156.1
131.4
49.6
 32AMD Radeon HD 7970M
135.1
113.1
96.9
46.23
 34NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX SLI
151.3
128.9
113.2
47.2
 38NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M
162
109.9
87.7
36
 47NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX
143.8
98.4
79.3
34
 48NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M SLI
100.2
86.6
40.1
 49NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
85.8
73.3
24.9
 52AMD Radeon HD 6870
72
30
 53NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470
75
35
 54NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M
125.4
83.652
66.554
25.14
Pos      Model                                     Medal of Honor: Warfighter
lowmed.highultra
 60NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M
112.2
77.5
63.2
28.4
 63AMD Radeon HD 7770
130.8
88.2
70.8
27.9
 64NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M SLI
118.9
86.6
71.3
31.2
 73NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX
117.1
78
62.6
25
 75NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760M
76
59
32
 76NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670M
95.9
65.8
53.3
23
 79AMD Radeon HD 8870M
75.052
59.252
48.652
19.12
 92NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M
86.6
58.2
47.1
20.8
 94AMD Radeon HD 8850M
42.2
17.5
 103NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
74.5
48.8
392
15.052
 104NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M
70.2
46.4
38.5
17.6
 105NVIDIA GeForce 840M
66
43.12
35.552
13
 107NVIDIA GeForce GT 745M
70
46.4
37.3
14.1
 114NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
63.52
40.52
35.52
122
 116NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450
54.1
43.5
17.7
 118NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M
46.4
30.2
24.8
 130AMD Radeon HD 8550G + HD 8750M Dual Graphics
41
31.7
 131NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M
61
50
40
28
 133*NVIDIA GeForce GT 645M
60.4
40.7
33.1
13.6
 135AMD Radeon HD 8750M
54.7
33.8
25.6
9.7
Pos      Model                                     Medal of Honor: Warfighter
lowmed.highultra
 137AMD Radeon R7 M265
59.26
39.09
30.64
11.89
 141NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
61.22
40.552
32.82
13.82
 163*AMD Radeon R6 (Kaveri)
35
23.4
18.2
 165AMD Radeon HD 8730M
54
33
26
 182AMD Radeon HD 8650G + HD 8670M Dual Graphics
56.1
42.5
34.5
 185AMD Radeon HD 8550G + HD 8670M Dual Graphics
40.1
25.3
20.1
 205AMD Radeon HD 8650G
40.7
26.3
20.6
 209AMD Radeon HD 7670M
32.9
23.1
19.5
 210NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
37.1
24.7
19.4
7.9
 215NVIDIA GeForce 820M
36.6
24.3
20.8
 216NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
35.3
21.5
17.2
 222AMD Radeon HD 8450G + Radeon HD 8570M Dual Graphics
16.6
13.7
 225AMD Radeon HD 8550M
28.1
21.6
16.5
 230Intel HD Graphics 4600
24.6
16.3
 234NVIDIA GeForce 710M
38
25
21
 235AMD Radeon HD 7660G
36.5
25
19.1
11.8
 246AMD Radeon HD 7650M
38.2
24.6
18.9
 251ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650
32.4
21.4
17.7
6.3
 254*AMD Radeon HD 8550G
57.6
37.9
29.9
 257NVIDIA GeForce GT 620M
39
25
18
Pos      Model                                     Medal of Honor: Warfighter
lowmed.highultra
 266Intel HD Graphics 4400
272
18.52
14.82
6
 269AMD Radeon HD 7550M
27
17.6
13.8
 277AMD Radeon HD 7600G
10.7
8.9
6.8
 303Intel HD Graphics 4000
16.54
12.54
12.82
5.1
 307Intel HD Graphics 4200
22.9
15.1
 308AMD Radeon HD 6450 GDDR5
23.2
15.3
13.1
 315AMD Radeon HD 8450G
16.5
12.2
 321AMD Radeon HD 7520G
19
13
 331AMD Radeon HD 8330
18.5
 353AMD Radeon HD 7420G
14
12
9
 369AMD Radeon HD 7400G
15
9
 393Intel HD Graphics 3000
17.4
11
8.8
 411AMD Radeon HD 8210
9.1
 449*Intel HD Graphics (Sandy Bridge)
9.5
6.5
* Approximate position

 

Legend
5Stutters – This game is very likely to stutter and have poor frame rates. Based on all known benchmarks using the specified graphical settings, average frame rates are expected to fall below 25fps
May Stutter – This graphics card has not been explicitly tested on this game. Based on interpolated information from surrounding graphics cards of similar performance levels, stutters and poor frame rates are expected.
30Fluent – Based on all known benchmarks using the specified graphical settings, this game should run at or above 25fps
40Fluent – Based on all known benchmarks using the specified graphical settings, this game should run at or above 35fps
May Run Fluently – This graphics card has not been explicitly tested on this game. Based on interpolated information from surrounding graphics cards of similar performance levels, fluent frame rates are expected.
123Uncertain – This graphics card experienced unexpected performance issues during testing for this game. A slower card may be able to achieve better and more consistent frame rates than this particular GPU running the same benchmark scene.
Uncertain – This graphics card has not been explicitly tested on this game and no reliable interpolation can be made based on the performances of surrounding cards of the same class or family.
The value in the fields displays the average frame rate of all values in the database. Move your cursor over the value to see individual results.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Medal of Honor: Warfighter Benchmarked
Author: Florian Glaser, 2012-10-30 (Update: 2012-10-30)