Blah, blah, blah… there are too many WWII shooters on the market and the genre is just plain boring now. If you have played one WWII shooter, you have played them all. These are common complaints that are raised each time a new WWII shooter hits store shelves. This year EA has attempted to break the mold with Medal of Honor Airborne, but after the smoke clears we are left with just another decent first person shooter.
First, let’s talk game modes real quick. You pop Medal of Honor Airborne into your Xbox 360 and you arrive at the title screen. You now have two options. You can either play the single player campaign or head over to the online multiplayer side of things.
The campaign mode in Medal of Honor Airborne is a little short, but it does have its moments. The big selling point for this title over others in the genre is that instead of starting a level in a set position you get to pick your starting point by parachuting into the battlefield. This idea seems pretty cool on paper, but in reality it doesn’t offer as much variety as one would be led to believe. You can choose to land anywhere, but if you choose to land outside of the suggested landing zones, it is instant death as a shower of bullets greets you on the ground. EA drives this point home by shading the landing zones for the player. Green smoke signifies a good place to land and red smoke is bad. It’s far from the freedom that is advertised on the back of the box.
Medal of Honor Airborne also boasts a number of choices after you hit the ground. Once you drop into the fight you will have a series of objectives. You are given the choice of how to go about completing these objectives and also in what order you will do so. Again, this sounds like complete freedom, but it doesn’t exactly turn out that way in the game. During the missions you have initial objectives, such as taking out key targets or blowing up strategic locations. Once you complete the initial objectives you are then given follow up objectives to complete. This specific order is a key to making the game play flow, but again, not the decision making we were promised.
While the advertised freedom elements of the game may be missing slightly, most of the game play in Medal of Honor Airborne is enjoyable. Blasting away endless lines of Nazi’s can still be fun, but it does wear thin after long sittings with the game. A little more variety in the missions and locations would have been a welcome addition.
Most of the controls in Medal of Honor Airborne are familiar to anyone who has played a Medal of Honor game in the past, but a few tweaks have been made. By holding the left trigger you are now able to plant your feet and move from side to side or up and down. The left trigger also helps you aim more precisely and becomes the key to accurate shooting when ducking in and out of cover. These added features of the control system take some time to get the hang of, but they are useful and a big key to staying alive.
The guns in Medal of Honor have a realistic sense of weight and power to them. They also seem to aim very realistically as well. Some may see this as a good thing, but I find it rather frustrating. The guns have so much kick that you can unload entire clips without coming close to your mark. After further inspection it was hard for me to tell if the collision detection was crummy, or if the guns were out of control. Either way, it makes for a tough time in the trenches. I like realism in games, but when it takes away from the fun factor and goes from difficult to frustrating, I draw the line.
Another interesting aspect about the weapons in Medal of Honor Airborne is that they upgrade as you progress throughout the single player campaign. Each time you use a weapon you gain experience, which then leads to upgrades. The upgrades make the weapons perform better by adding things like larger clips and improved handles. I found this to be one of the coolest aspects of the game as it happens automatically and gives you incentive for mowing down the endless swarms of Nazi soldiers.
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