|System: PS3, X360, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Electronic Arts||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 4, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-12 (Multiplayer)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
Medal of Honor has recaptured former glory with incredibly open gameplay and amazing attention to detail. This game exudes realism and puts you in the heart of the action. Dropping in behind enemy lines to take on your foes is an exhilarating experience. The graphics are fantastic, the sounds are phenomenal, and the level design is amazing. The team at EA has revitalized the World War II shooter.
MOH: Airborne has you play the role of Pfc. Boyd Travers, an Airborne initiate. Your first mission with the 82nd Airborne is to take out the anti-aircraft guns in the Italian village of Adanti. You and your Airborne brethren will have to choose the best landing sites in order to strategically eliminate the Axis force. Gameplay is rich and wide open. The parachute drop is not just a gimmick. It is imperative to land in the appropriate spots in order to be successful. Should you land in the wrong area, you might find yourself surrounded immediately by the enemy. If this happens you'll be dead in seconds. Additionally, using the skills you picked up in training will allow you to land and fight immediately. If you forget to flare your chute, you'll end up botching the landing. This will cost you a few seconds while you shake out the dizziness and struggle to your feet. Flared landings allow you to fight without being hindered. If you can approach the drop zone at the perfect angle you'll achieve what's known as a "Greased Landing." Greased Landings have you hit the ground running, setting you up for battle.
More than enough health is strategically placed throughout the levels. If you do pick up a few nicks, find cover or back up for a couple of seconds in order to recover what's left of your "bead of health." There are four beads in total to keep you alive. However, if you die you'll find yourself back at the last save point. Sometimes this means parachuting to the initial drop zone, other times you'll be starting on foot; in all cases, you'll do the same things over and over again. This can become pretty tiresome and frustrating after a while, especially in the most difficult parts of the game. At least the objectives that you achieved will still be complete; simply advance to the next mission goal. Moreover, every restart of the level feels somewhat new, thanks to the open level design. This allows for better replayability.
Before each drop, you'll be able to select your weaponry; this is known as "Weapon Loadout." Choose between rifles, submachine guns, shotguns, and pistols. You then need your primary, secondary, and tertiary weapons. Typically, this would be a selection such as a rifle, a submachine gun, and a sidearm, or you could mix it up a bit and select a close quarter weapon such as a shotgun. As you progress through the game you will pick up commendations for exceptional marksmanship. These commendations come with upgrades that are automatically applied to the weapon. These upgrades are permanent as long as you reach the next checkpoint; it doesn't matter if you die or advance to the next level. In addition to weapon upgrades you can also unlock new weapons to be used in upcoming missions.
The compass tool provided is an integral element of the game, as we're used to seeing in first person shooters. You'll quickly get your bearings and identify who your allies and enemies are at a glance. Stars on the compass indicate your objectives; fellow infantry will appear as green dots, and enemy units will appear as red crosses. I can't tell you how important it is to glance at your compass before entering a room or an alleyway. Enemy A.I. is very good but not perfect. If enemy troops see a grenade that was not properly cooked they'll run away from it. They'll also seek cover whenever possible. However, their flanking abilities are not nearly as good as they are in similar games of this genre, and often times they won't react quickly enough to your presence.
You can consider this game a pick-up-and-play title because the controls are so intuitive. The controller feels like an extension of yourself, as you run through the battlefield feeling like a superhero. Some of the more interesting and advanced controls this time around include pressure-sensitive triggers (called True Trigger) for scoped weapons and the lobbing of grenades. This makes for very realistic gameplay and pinpoint accuracy. I really liked the Ironsights feature; this allows you to use cover effectively. By zooming in with your weapon you can actually tilt, duck, peek, and move while crouched, all the while keeping a precise alignment on your target: it's very useful in sticky situations. If you consider yourself even remotely skilled at FPSs you'll be able to master the control scheme in a matter of seconds.