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Video Game / Medal of Honor (2010)

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In 2010, following the runaway success of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series, the Medal of Honor series was rebooted and brought into a modern-day setting, with gameplay re-tooled to be closer to the style of Modern Warfare. A sequel to this 2010 reboot was released in 2012, called Medal of Honor: Warfighter.

The new Medal of Honor games distinguish themselves from the new Call of Duty games (as well as the newer Battlefield games) in that the plot and atmosphere are intended to be much more "true to life", focusing on the Invasion of Afghanistan and later the War on Terror, without Hollywood embellishments such as runaway nukes or rogue Russian special forces divisions with genocidal ambitions.

In terms of multiplayer, the games are designed to feature smaller-scale, infantry-focused engagements compared to the large-scale combined arms gameplay of Battlefield, while still being more tactical and less arcade-like than Call of Duty. The multiplayer in the 2010 Medal of Honor was outsourced to DICE (developers of said Battlefield games), and even used a different engine (Unreal Engine 3 for singleplayer, Frostbite 1.5 for multiplayer).

This series contains examples of:

  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Done very well in the 'Leave a Message' trailer.
  • All There in the Manual: In Warfighter, it's never directly stated that the Cleric is actually Hassan, the network's wealthy Dubai financier; this plot point is only shown in background details.
  • AM/FM Characterization: In the first mission, the Player Character and a bearded man in local garb are driving through an Afghan village listening to a local radio station. The bearded man complains about your choice of music and shuts the stereo off, revealing both of you to be Americans in disguise.
  • Anachronism Stew: Several of 2010's weapons didn't exist in 2002, where the game's events are set in. Examples include the M110 sniper rifle, which was not adopted until 2005 (and the model is based on the Enhanced Match Rifle variant, which wasn't even produced until 2008) and the M16A4, which wasn't adopted until 2004. Zig-zagged with the the usage of EOTech holographic sights - while the model shown in-game existed in 2002, it wasn't approved for military usage until 2005.
  • Artificial Brilliance/Artificial Stupidity: The enemies in Warfighter are noticeably faster and more agile than the norm in Modern Military Shooter games, able to scramble into cover when shot at or swap from cover to cover when flanked. A lot of the time they just stand out in the open like idiots and go full-auto until killed, though. Though this is quite representative of the Taliban, at least in the early days; a small cadre of well-trained and committed jihadists backed up by a Red Shirt Army of unemployed farmhands handed a rifle and a generous-by-local-standards wad of cash and left to sink or swim.
    • Additionally, your elite Tier 1 allies in Warfighter are extremely ineffective; often exchanging full-auto fire with enemies at close range without a single hit. Enemies will often just walk right past them and shoot you in the back.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: General Flagg operates on this, wanting US forces to engage in the Taliban despite plans being developed on the ground by Colonel Drucker. He's very insistent that the Colonel send in the Rangers.
  • Badass Army: The Army Rangers manage to be this while also being shades of Redshirt Army, presumably to let you actually have friendly casualties during the game without having to kill off any members of your various squads. That said, the fact that three Rangers and an Air Force Enlisted Terminal Attack Controller managed to go up against an entire Taliban village and come out victorious is lampshaded.
    Dusty: "That's why they're Rangers."
    • The Tier 1 operators know that they would have serious difficulty in doing the same thing and in fact, AFO Neptune does. Their focus is much narrower, based on speed, stealth and tactical exfil at the end of the day. Tier 2 Rangers are more focused on conventional warfare, and they're better at it.
  • Badass Driver: Sad al-Din is no match for Preacher is a straight fight, but he gives Preacher and Mother considerable trouble during the car chase in Dubai where he pursues them in a heavy SUV that can't be rammed off the road like other enemy vehicles.
  • Bad Boss:
    • General Flagg, from the first game. Not only does he seem dead set on not letting the commander on the ground run the operation, he's giving orders by teleconference from an office somewhere, in a business suit. What makes it worse is that he's just not any good at it, attempting to abandon his forces on a whim.
    • Warfighter has General Barrera, who insists in "leading from the rear," as Mother puts it. His hastiness and incompetence nearly jeopardizes the mission and costs the hostages their lives.
  • Based on a True Story: Most missions in Warfighter are "inspired" by true events. The extremely short "Hat Trick" mission in particular is a complete recreation of the famous Captain Phillips incident where U.S. Navy SEALS sniped 3 pirates holding a boat captain hostage.
  • Benevolent Boss: Colonel Drucker, who does his best to shield his troops from the General's micromanaging.
  • Big Damn Gunship: The AH-64 Apache attack helicopters going by the callsign Gunfighter figure in two of the missions.
  • Bilingual Bonus: It gets a bit crazy, with enemies speaking at least 3 different languages (Pashto, Chechen, and Arabic), and those are just the ones identified by your squadmates.
    • In The Stinger, if you are too caught up in the subtitles to actually listen to the two men talking, you might miss that the last line of their conversation is in English.
  • Border Patrol: Warfighter has a noticeably severe version; merely trying to proceed without completing an objective can instantly kill a player, for no in-game reason.
  • Call-Back: The Stinger from the 2010 Medal of Honor reappears midway through Warfighter, where the scene is finally given some context and leads into a mission.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: In Warfighter, the bespectacled trainer of new terrorist recruits turn out to be the "Cleric," mastermind of the PETN attacks on the West. Doubly applies because "The Cleric" also turns out to be Hassan, the wealthy Dubai banker that Preacher and Mother grab in Hello and Dubai without realizing that he's the Big Bad.
  • Code Name: We have the two Tier 1 squads, AFO Wolfpack and AFO Neptune, Sgt Patterson's Ranger squad is Bravo One, and the Apache crews go by Gunfighter Six and Eleven.
  • Communications Officer: The ununiformed technician, Jimmy, who runs the communications equipment in Colonel Drucker's HQ. Tech Sergeant Ybarra fills this role for Sgt Patterson's Ranger squad, along with his duties of calling down close air support.
  • Competence Porn: The game has a lot of dramatised missions involving "Tier-One Operators" strategically taking out terrorist threats in a no-nonsense manner.
  • Composite Character: In the real-life Operation Anaconda, the air assault on Shah-i-Kot valley was carried out by elements of the 101st Airborne Division and 10th Mountain Division. The 2010 reboot instead shows it being led by the Rangers who would later form the quick reaction force for the SEALs at Takur Ghar.
    • The assault on Bagram Airfield also involved the Green Berets' ODA 555 and the CIA's Special Activities Division as the main ground operators on the US side. Here, their role is taken by the SEALs of Task Force K-Bar instead.
  • Continuity Nod: The 'Leave a Message' trailer for the reboot mentions Jim Patterson and his family. Jimmy Patterson as many know was the protagonist of the first game, Frontline, and others.
    • The fact that he is Jimmy Patterson's grandson has been confirmed. The blog post confirming this also confirms that he is as badass as his Grandpa.
  • Curbstomp Battle: When Preacher finally catches up to Sad Al-Din near the end of Warfighter, he proceeds to lay a complete beatdown on the guy, who had just murdered Mother. Despite being The Dragon and The Heavy, he doesn't even manage to throw a single punch as Preacher pounds him into the ground.
  • Custom Uniform: Depending on the mission, the AFO teams may wear anything from full uniform and body armor to traditional Afghan garb or an FDNY baseball cap. TSgt Ybarra seems to have a custom uniform of his own, being the only guy in the Ranger missions to wear the DCUs, even though he was technically the only one wearing the correct uniform for the time period.
    • Note that the reason for TSgt Ybarra wearing a different uniform is that while the rest of his team are Army Rangers, he's an Air Force Enlisted Terminal Attack Controller, an Airman trained to fight alongside ground forces and coordinate with air assets.
  • Crapsack World: When a goat herder seems unimpressed by a heavily armed man in a pickup truck screaming at him to get out of the road, that says much about Afghanistan.
  • Darker and Edgier: The 2010 reboot is the first game in the series to get an M Rating.
  • Death from Above: Air Force Technical Sergeant Ybarra, whose job it is to fight alongside the Army Rangers and invoke this trope when necessary.
  • Distress Call: AFO Neptune's distress call is the impetus for the last Ranger mission.
  • Downer Ending: The reboot has one of the main characters captured by the terrorists. A friendly squad comes in at the last minute and extracts him and his friend, and the point of view switches to the injured protagonist's first person view again, as he keeps blacking out and his squadmates try to encourage him to hold on to life, as a rescue helicopter is coming. The audience expects him to get better. He doesn't. Cue white-out...
  • The Dragon: Sad al-Din for the Cleric.
  • Dramatic Irony: From the intro of the 2010 game, you can overhear a radio broadcaster saying "It's another quiet Tuesday morning in the Big Apple..." The next thing you hear is another news broadcast talking about a plane crash in Lower Manhattan, and how this must be a terrible accident...
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: In the last battle of the reboot it finally dawns on the protagonists that the Predator drone that had been watching them for the entire game has missiles to take out the final bunker. Truth in Television: This was how the real-life Battle of Takur Ghar came to involve the first known use of a drone for close air support in history.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Whooo boy.
    • In the 2010 game, we have DEVGRU SEALs and their Army counterparts, Delta Force, as well as Army Rangers, and an Air Force TACP/Combat Controller. In the Novelization, there's a SAS operator.
    • Warfighter contains a whole party of elites from all over the world. To whit:
      • SEAL (USA)
      • GROM (Poland)
      • SFOD-D (USA)
      • SAS (UK)
      • JTF-2 (Canada)
      • OGA (USA)
      • FSK/HJK (Norway)
      • S SOG (Sweden)
      • SASR (Australia)
      • ROKN UDT (South Korea)
      • KSK (Germany)
      • Spetsgruppa Alfa (Russia)
    • Specifically, the developers worked with ultra top secret Tier 1 operatives who were so closely guarded they had to wear hoods and be given assumed names for speaking with the press, and so dangerous that, when EA was going to have a scene in the game where one of them dies, without a hint of threat or menace, these real life Rambos simply said, "That's our story and ours alone to tell", and the scene was immediately removed.
  • Elite Mooks: The Chechen militants compared to the AQ and Taliban forces are better equipped, armed and trained; giving them a more paramilitary appearance. Some of them are probably veterans of recent conflict with Russia in the North Caucasus.
  • The Faceless: In Warfighter, Dusty is only shown from the neck down, until the last couple missions of the game.
  • Fake Static: Late in the game, General Flagg is about to order Colonel Drucker to leave AFO Neptune to die rather than sending in a rescue team. The technician, Jimmy, hits a button and disconnects the General.
  • General Failure: General Flagg isn't a very competent leader and has no faith in his leaders on the ground in Afghanistan, such as Colonel Drucker.
  • General Ripper: General Flagg is way too eager to send US forces to attack the Taliban despite Colonel Drucker trying to tell him that they're already working on a plan with the Afghan army led by US Special Forces.
  • Genre Savvy: A Ranger is sitting right next to the ramp in the Chinook as they're about run out into combat.
    "Oh fuck this, I've seen this movie. Private, switch with me!"
  • Glasses Pull: Dusty removes his trademark shades just once in Warfighter. Yes, the scene is suitably dramatic.
  • Gunship Rescue In Dantes first mission after holding off against Taliban, they run out of ammo and even call of the other Rangers heading towards them realizing they aren't going to make it two Apache gunships appear and save them.
  • Handicapped Badass: In Warfighter, it is revealed that Dusty had lost a leg during his time in Delta. Doesn't stop him from HALOing in with the SEALs and providing sniper support.
  • Hellish Copter: The 2010 reboot takes this to such an extreme that half-way through the game, you start cringing every time a helicopter shows up, knowing it's about to be shot down. In fact, the game starts with your helicopter going down, leading to a How We Got Here.
  • Heavily Armored Mook/Giant Mook: Warfighter has a handful of Heavy Gunners, terrorists wearing body armor and equipped with PKP machine guns, who are resistant to headshots and can take about half a mag of assault rifle fire before falling. The Demolitions class in multiplayer has a special ability that lets them turn into one of these, at the cost of reduced vision and movement speed.
  • Iconic Item: Rabbit's Lucky Rabbit's Foot, which we get to see him pull out just before making any Leap of Faith and when Preacher is mourning his death.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Downplayed; to make the game feel more authentic, you're not constantly taking hits whenever you peek your head out of cover (as tends to happen in Call of Duty). In fact, if you use cover, move intelligently, and engage enemies with reasonably good reflexes, you can move through most of the levels without getting shot. If you are getting shot, it's likely because you're playing carelessly. It's not so much that the enemies have bad aim, but rather that they don't magically target you the moment your hitbox is exposed.
  • Interservice Rivalry: A mild, playful variation in Warfighter. Stump gets flak for being a Marine before he transferred to the U.S. Navy SEALs, and then there's this exchange with Delta operator Dusty among the SEALs:
    Dusty: This OP's too important to leave up to a bunch of frogmen.
    Dingo: Yeah, well, last time I checked, there's no handicapped parking at the DZ.
  • Justified Tutorial: The second mission of Warfighter has the player as a double agent infiltrating the main enemy terrorist network, and has the player run through a training course as part of their terrorist training.
  • Last Stand: Attempted near the end of the "Belly of the Beast" mission. Air support is unavailable, and reinforcements are too far to reach your squad in time. Ammo is running low, and the Taliban aggressively attack in large numbers. So the squad attempts to call off a rescue, as they don't think it'll arrive in time and will probably walk right into an ambush. Then two Apache helicopters show up and start blowing the bad guys away.
  • Mission Control: Dusty in Warfighter.
  • Moral Guardians: Caused quite a flap that nearly kept the reboot from being released when it was revealed that in multiplayer you'd get to play as the Taliban. The military went as far as to ban its sale in any military compounds, and eventually the developers chickened out and just copied Modern Warfare by changing the name to "OpFor" (short for 'opposition force').
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: General Flagg orders an airstrike on a convoy of unmarked vehicles with armed men and aren't responding to messages being sent to them. Colonel Drucker wants to hold off until they can verify who the unidentified forces are. However, Flagg overrules him, and orders the convoy attacked. US Special Forces on the ground immediately warn them that they are taking fire, and that the Afghan Army is bugging out (running away). As soon as Drucker realizes it's friendly forces they fired on, he orders a ceasefire, but the damage has already been done.
  • No Escape but Down
    Mother: "Bullets or broken bones? Bones heal."
  • Nom de Guerre: The Tier 1 operators all go by callsigns, even when introducing themselves to other American soldiers.
    • Which they are required to do. Currently active SpecOps soldiers are not allowed to tell people what they do, and so have two personas: civilian and military.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: A big theme in the 2010 reboot. After two seals get left behind, the other two attempt a rescue, but in the end get captured themselves. The Ranger QRF also comes under heavy attack but fortunately they're able to rescue everyone, although Rabbit succumbs to his injuries shortly before the helicopters arrive.
  • Not Quite Saved Enough: Rabbit; who dies just before the CASEVAC chopper lands.
  • One-Man Army: The 2010 game is somewhat more realistic. You still rack up hundreds of enemy kills, but you're in a squad, against mooks with little practical training, and when the time comes for more explosions, you have to call in other assets. In the end, all that happened in a two day period is that some of your soldiers died, and a lot of theirs died.
  • Product Placement: Warfighter made a big deal of featuring real products that used by actual operators in the field. The game even included links that players could follow to buy those products for themselves.
  • Railroading: In Warfighter the player's Regenerating Health is on the fast side, which conflicts with level scripts. As pointed out by TotalBiscuit in this very video, the protagonist is totally capable of glomping as many shots from high-caliber sniper rifles as they want without dying, but then will get instantly killed if they dare cross a certain level trigger ten feet away from them without doing what the game tells them to do.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Preacher has one in Warfighter after the death of Mother, and proceeds to single-handedly lay waste to an entire ship full of terrorists. The game even drives the point home by giving the screen a tunnel vision effect at the beginning, and the first few unarmed kills are brutal and accompanied with discordant screeching that wouldn't sound out of place in a horror game, showing Preacher's furious state of mind.
  • Scenery Porn: It's a shame that Afghanistan has been torn up by war for so long, because the place looks absolutely gorgeous.
  • Shout-Out: Tier 1 remarks that seizing Bagram Air Base was pretty fucking ninja.
    • The ending to Warfighter with Mother's military funeral is very much like the ending to the film Act of Valor, which also ended with a funeral.
    • In Warfighter's multiplayer soldier selection, the little information blurb about the British SAS starts out with the question "what's the color of the Boathouse at Hereford?"
  • Sniping Mission: Any mission where you're playing as Deuce of AFO Wolfpack, you're going to be equipped with TWO Sniper Rifles- a man-portable one, and a .50 caliber you WILL use. At least the .50 cal has thermal sights.
  • The Sociopath: Warfighter's Sad al-Din, who shoots one of his own men for stepping out of line, one that was trying to calm him down at that.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Voodoo is a very self-restrained Sociopathic Soldier. Mother and Preacher seem to take some joy in teasing him about this.
    Mother: Way to keep your head, Panther.
    Voodoo: Well, he was about a pound of trigger pressure from losing his.note 
  • South Asian Terrorists: The main antagonists in the game are the Afghan OPFOR, an obvious expy of the Taliban who were actually suppose to be the Taliban before the Moral Guardians complained (they actually are referred to as the Taliban in the campaign, just not in multiplayer). Warfighter also has Pakistani jihadists.
  • Stereotype Flip: One of the game's first cutscenes is a passenger-eye-view from the interior of a pickup truck driving into a villiage in Afghanistan. The driver has a turban and a beard, and the stereo is blasting out appropriately ethnic-sounding music. Then the driver turns off the stereo and complains about your choice in music. Both characters are revealed to be American military personnel.
  • The Hero Dies: Rabbit subcums to his wounds and dies.
  • To Absent Friends: The final cutscene when Preacher mourns Rabbit's death.
  • Truth in Television: Most of the campaign takes place during Operation Anaconda. In particular, the events of the final two missions are similar to the real life death of Navy SEAL Neil Roberts.
  • Unique Enemy:
    • In the 2010 game, "Breaking Bagram" is the only level to feature enemy armor.
    • Also, in 2010, the level "Dorothy's a Bitch" contains an al-Qaeda militant that uses a pistol, who is encountered in the cave.
    • The Heavily Armored Mook enemies in Warfighter. They only appear in 3 levels, and there are only about 7 or 8 of them in the entire game.
  • Unreliable Narrator: In one of the trailers for the 2010 Medal Of Honor, Sergeant James Patterson is leaving a voicemail for his wife back home, reassuring her that he's in no danger, and that all of the action is happening far away from him and his troops. Cue Sgt Patterson leading his men down the ramp of a Chinook into battle in the Shah-i-Kot Valley during one of the biggest American offensives in the early part of the war.
  • We Have Reserves: General Flagg, who insists on committing the Rangers and the 10th Mountain Division to fight in a heavily contested region rather than letting the Tier 1 troops do their job first.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Argyrus, the undercover operative inside the Cleric's terrorist organization in Warfighter, is playable for one mission (where he runs through a terrorist training course), then disappears for the rest of the game and is never mentioned again.

Alternative Title(s): Medal Of Honor Warfighter