|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: Nov. 19, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-12 (Multiplayer)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|SRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
Medal of Honor: Airborne does the franchise proud. But don't be fooled by the title, this game has little to do with the Air Force. It's your standard, on-the-ground, WWII shooter, although you do start every mission getting ejected from a plane. The action is fun, well balanced, and realistic. Technically the game is very solid, but the weapons feel a bit skittish. It will take a bit of compromising to get them to perform the way you want, but that period of adjustment is relatively short.
Each mission begins with you and your unit inside a plane ready to parachute into enemy territory. You'll receive your briefing amidst the chaos of your unit as they talk, shout, laugh, and scream while taking on enemy fire. You're always reminded of just how explosive of a situation you're in. The scene can change at any time, which is illustrated to good effect with the dramatic cutscenes. A huge list of objectives will be thrown on your lap before you deplane, and I do mean huge. Each mission can take more than an hour to complete, and there is a lot to do in that time frame. Fortunately, you'll be able to access the objectives on your radar.
What's interesting is that you can actually choose where you will land, which can have a different effect on your mission. By manipulating the controls, you can get your parachute to land virtually anywhere on the map. Areas with green smoke are regarded as safe areas, and that's where you'll want to land. If you land elsewhere, you're likely to find yourself overwhelmed by enemies. So you'll learn to avoid that area at all cost on your next landing. Eventually you'll have to make your way to that location on foot, but hopefully you'll be better prepared to deal with the enemy on the ground.
While in the air, you're given a good look of your surroundings, and while it may be tempting to head for higher ground, it can also make you an easier target. Enemies will continue to respawn even as you pick them off from the air. You have to reach the ground and take care of them at that point, while attempting to advance. This ability to choose your drop off point adds some depth and freedom, but the game still progresses in a linear fashion, even though you can perform the objectives in different orders.
Missions range from capturing territories to detonating explosives. They progress nicely, and I might add, realistically. The changes are gradual. The enemies become more numerous and intelligent later in the level. The environments don't change drastically. You'll move from rubble-strewn urban areas to open fields and forest. It all seems natural, and even the linear nature of the gameplay seems like the only logical progression. The only real complaint is that the environments aren't totally destructible. This can be especially disconcerting when an enemy is taking cover and all the firepower in the world won't erode the little wall he's hiding behind.
Experience points are obtained by killing enemies and completing objectives. Weapons get upgraded through experience points, and you can actually notice the improvements immediately. Upgrades include larger magazine clips, stabilizers, better scopes, faster reloads, and extra attachments which turns one weapon into two. Some of the more powerful guns will actually display a realistic recoil. This looks and feels cool, although it makes the weapon more difficult to control. Grenades are always fun and useful, but they aren't plentiful. You have to make sure your friendly A.I. doesn't get in the way when you throw one, otherwise it will hit him in the back of the head and roll back into your midst. But even with all this firepower, you can't blow up tanks. You can only stop them in their tracks by taking out the gunner.