Medal of Honor: Airborne Review

It’s been eight years since the first Medal of Honor game. The series has waned a little bit over time, but Medal of Honor: Airborne successfully saves the franchise from an early grave and introduces a few new concepts into the FPS genre. The action is furious, the presentation is excellent and production is spot-on. Yet there are still some lingering annoyances that hold the game back from being a true gem to the genre.

Jumping out of airplanes is pretty wild, right? This addition is a great opener and showcases the extra attention EA put into making the maps larger. Just take a moment during your jump to soak in the entire map. The level may look rather puny high-in-the-sky, but once you’ve landed and bullets are whizzing by, the level design really hits you.

Like most Medal of Honor games one of the highlights of Airborne is its presentation. One example is the persistent use of first-person only views, which is evident during in-game cutscenes. There’s no swirling third-person view camera; in-fact, the view never leaves your sight, much like Half-Life 2. This, in turn, not only allows for tighter game presentation but also for little FPS touches like the game’s covers system.

To date, I don’t really recall many FPS that handled cover like Airborne. While Call of Duty: United Offensive had an automatic lean-over when you aimed behind cover, Airborne takes that step to other levels. Any time you’re behind cover, just hold down right-click to aim and use the directional keys to lean or peer behind cover. One awesome addition is while crouching and running, the game shifts into this frantic, roadie cam-like camera view, which enhances the hellish feeling of war.

Like most FPS games, you’ll be collecting plenty of weapons. In the end, most of them are used for a brief purpose and then tossed. But in Airborne, you’ll be able to upgrade your weapons as you shoot enemies, therefore personalizing your very own load of weapons. Some of them turn the very seemingly weak, such as the Colt 45, to a rather formidable weapon. Each weapon gets three different upgrades during a dramatic, slow-mo moment where you’re presented with a medal and the upgrade.

For some weapons, it’s better to max their upgrades out early in order to reap their full benefits later on. With the Colt 45, for example, if you decide to upgrade it quickly you’ll spend the good first level just whacking people, because that’s the quickest way to fill the upgrade bar. So, yes, in a sense it seems silly to be in a huge gun fight and just run around and hit people with your pistol instead. But hey, you play how you want.

The audio is a mixed bag. The music is, of course, very excellent, thanks to the return of composer Michael Giacchino. But there are some shaky sound effects; every time I play a WWII FPS, I always try to get the Thompson submachine gun first just to hear its sound. The sound is supposed to be punchy, jawing and aggressive. Airborne, I have to say, has the worst Thompson submachine gun sound ever. It sounds so puny and weak. Other weapons like the MP40 and BAR, on the other hand, sound very deafening and powerful.

The AI is a mix bag as well. While EA beefed up the AI system in Airborne, there were some noticeable holes too. Touting its new "Affordance AI" capabilities, enemies are always eyeing the environment for tactical advantages. They’re constantly seeking higher ground, taking aggressive cover or using open doorways as machine gun cover. So yes, there are some exciting firefights to be had, but up close, the AI is sometimes a little whacky. I’ve seen enemy soldiers staring straight into space even though I’m right there, enemies clipping into objects or just weird path finding.

One of the major downfalls is gameplay time. A regular gamer could easily breeze through in 6-8 hours. There are only 6 missions and unless you decide to spend some time looking around, like I did, then the game hours will dry out rather quickly. The game also suffers from several console-influenced ideas, including readily available med kits, ammo boxes and checkpoint saves. People did mention about enemies being too hard or just having weird hit-detection issues, but other than some silly AI at times, I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary, like having to take numerous headshots to fell one guy.

Airborne is an exciting but short shooter. The additions of airdrops, the ‘choose your starting point’ advantage, visuals and presentation certainly take the cake, but the game still suffers from a few things, including inconsistent AI, some level repetition and escalating difficulty. Little touches like motion blur, focal point blur and tighter cutscenes really add to the game’s overall feel. In the end, Medal of Honor: Airborne is a short but sweet FPS romp through semi-familiar WWII territory.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.