The Warfighter recipe is quite simple. You take all the least memorable moments of a Call of Duty campaign, you roughly chop your ingredients, you hurl it all into the development oven and retrieve when half-baked. Bland familiarity for all the family is then assured.
Warfighter transplants the Afghan running and gunning of the Medal of Honor reboot into an eternal sequence of entry and exit wounds in various troublespots (in Muslim countries) throughout the world. With this switch the sense of military authenticity is wiped clean, and the best character of MOH - the remarkable terrain of the land you were covering - is lost to the winds. In the last game you could be tricked into feeling that you were a soldier operating behind enemy lines. In Warfighter, you're just Chuck Norris on a bad day.
To compound this it's also a bad day when allies occasionally turn invisible, bodies occasionally catapult themselves through the air and the game lets you complete the first mission even though you've died. The day one patch for Warfighter was monstrous: real Tier 1 operators seemingly don't do polish...
EA, you see, went to great pains to underline the authenticity of Warfighter. It was adamant that it was based on the memoirs of real elite soldiers, and drummed out the message that every location was tied to real world terror. In truth, however, the travails of Mother, Preacher and new kid Stump are so hard to follow you struggle to remember what you're doing, who you're with or even where you are. The game is riddled with unnecessary jumps around the timeline (punctuated with unhelpful notes like 'Four hours earlier...') and is haphazardly peppered with ropey-looking scenes of distraught family life back home. As such the quest for PET-N explosives is a dismal and confusing one, and you can't help feel that our hero's daughter's ears look a bit funny.
What you can't take away from Warfighter, however, is that a base level it feels good when you shoot a bad guy in the head. The previous game's 'headshot!' icon even makes a welcome return - now turning a gruesome shade of red if you've racked up a clean kill. As you snipe through the streets of Serbia, rescue hostages from the typhoon-struck Philippines or pistol-whip bad men in a terrorist training cave - the meat of Warfighter proves perfectly adequate. It's just desperately unimaginative, and surprisingly short to boot.