The Medal of Honor series started on the Playstation One in 1999 but since then there have been many sequels on a variety of platforms including the PC. The series is based upon World War 2 and different games in the series have had you play in many different scenarios. In Airborne, your role is as a paratrooper. To make the paratrooper aspect of the game more realistic you parachute down at the start of each mission, this means that you can start the mission where you think is best and it attempts to make the game less linear. This has worked to some extent but levels are still a breeze to navigate due to the map pointing you in the right direction. In the game you will play through some intense real life battles such as Operation Market Garden in Nijmegen.
The story line is pretty bog standard for a WW2 game – you play the role of a young paratrooper who is basically doing all he can to survive. It doesn’t really have a huge amount of substance but that’s not what WW2 games are about. It manages to create a fairly nice atmosphere but it is sometimes ruined by annoying graphics and AI glitches.
Graphically the game is just about OK for a next generation game but really it would have been nice for them to push it a bit more as it isn’t any better than Call of Duty 2, which was a launch game. There are also some slightly dodgy textures here and there but generally they create a nice enough atmosphere along with some nice sound effects.
Like many of the Medal of Honor games, this one is fairly tough and you can expect to die a good few times (the hardest difficulty will be no match for people that have beat Call of Duty on veteran, though). However, whilst it is tough there are not many missions at all and there isn’t a lot of reason to replay the single player campaign unless you want to do it on every difficulty in order to get more achievements.
My biggest gripe with the game is the controls. I find the defaults to be very awkward and fairly un-standard. This can make the game a little frustrating at times as you will end up ducking instead of jumping and get in to all sorts of confusing problems – some of which will end up with you getting hit by a load of bullets or a grenade. The system for throwing a grenade also takes too long – you have to press a button to get the grenade out, press another button to throw it and finally press to get your gun back. When you bring up your gun to aim more accurately moving left or right will simply make you lean – to actually move you need to click in the left analogue stick. This is very awkward and can again lead to some highly frustrating moments.
The weaponry in the game is just what you would expect from a WW2 game but it does have a nice upgrade system – as you get better with a specific gun you will get more upgrades which can make your accuracy better, or even add totally new features such as a grenade launcher which can come in handy when trying to take down more than one enemy at a time. Upgrading your guns also unlocks a few achievements which are always welcomed.
Of course, no first person shooter would be complete without multiplayer but unfortunately even though this is included in Medal of Honor it really is extremely poor. At the time of writing there are many bugs such as people being able to get passed invisible walls and shoot through them and it is common for games to be quite laggy. The game types are just what you would expect – nothing new or innovative but not a great shortage either. What makes this worse is that many of the achievements are multiplayer so if you want to get the full 1000 gamer score you’re going to need to play online. In a few months time though I would doubt many people would play it at all and of course you do get idiots in the game that are just out to get the achievements and nothing else.
If you are in desperate need of a WW2 game then Airborne may be your answer – yes it is fairly short but it does manage to engage you well through the intense battles and realistic scenarios. Unfortunately it doesn’t manage to beat either of the Call of Duty games which are all round more polished and much more fun to play. A good choice for a rental game as the campaign could be done in just a few hours on the easier difficulties.
Originally Written By: Joe