Review by whisperingmute
"The Last Foray of WW2 Games"
The Medal of Honor series has been around in gaming for quite some time now since it's first appearance on the Playstation in 1999. Since than, it has crossed over on the PC, Playstation 2, Xbox, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360. With a few hit misses from a couple of titles, Medal of Honor has always stuck it's guns into the history of WWII. Medal of Honor: Airborne represents the last foray into WWII and while it may be old and seen before, the element of parachuting from a plane into anywhere on the battlefield, the RPG elements, and online battles help keep things entertaining til the short end.
There isn't much to be said for a story about World War II. You'll be fighting Germans who are trying to take over Europe, push them out of France and into Germany itself, and take down the regime and save the day. Anyone who was at least able to listen to their History Teacher for one class knows the story. While perhaps it's not persay new or original, the events and elements of the story are greatly portrayed as you join the 82nd Airborne Division.
One of the main selling points for MOH: Airborne was that you are able to jump off an airplane, parachute down, and land where ever you want to land on the battlefield. As you reach the ground you see green smoke, safe zones for ammo and health, and areas with a parachute on them where you can land for a strategic advantage. There are only five of these strategic places in each map and takes time into locating them. While the parachuting is fun and that you can land anywhere, the levels themselves are not really big which loses some of that epicness in the game.
A neat feature I didn't know about til I received the game was it's RPG elements. Each time you kill a person, a bar which represents experience points for that gun will fill up. Once you reach a certain point, you will gain an upgrade like more ammo storage, faster reloading, less recoil, scope, grenade launcher, and faster shooting. This customization to your guns help add an extra taste to the gameplay. The guns themselves are your typical arsenal in a WWII shooter; Stag 41, Bar, M1 Grand, MP40, MAK Grenades, Stick Grenades, Springfield(sniper rifle), and a few others. While used before, they are good enough to take out the German regime.
I don't usually talk about A.I. in this game but I felt it was important because the makers did a great job with it. In games, you usually progress in a semi-linear path. Because you can jump towards anywhere in the level and there are multiple paths to reach your goals in what ever order you want, the A.I. needs to be able to adapt to this while still trying to keep the balance of being tough and reasonable. While there were a lot of moments I questioned the A.I., there were many I wished I could throw my controller at. There a plenty that will give you a hard time and a type of enemy that is kind of notorious(and kind of unrealistic) is some guy carrying like a heavy machine gun in some battle armor that can take you out in a second of two. He will make your life hell and I didn't see a reason to create such a weird enemy to mess with you. Luckily, your teammates aren't totally stupid. They'll take over, actually kill, and advise you what to do. Though there were times they got into my sights and was aggrivated when they didn't move. Either way, with an A.I. that has to adapt to such type of gameplay, I'm throughly impressed by it. Not amazed but impressed.
My first Medal of Honor was Frontline for the Playstation 2. One of the things I loved about that game was how moving the music was. The series has always had an amazing soundtrack that artisticaly changes depending whether there is action or wandering around the level. Though the tracks aren't entirely new actually, but uses past music(great in my opinion) and tweaks them so they sound fimiliar but aren't rehashes. Kind of like an ode to the past Medal of Honor games.
The Unreal 3 Engine is very capable of pulling off some great graphics. While Medal of Honor: Airborne is great none the less, there are definitely games who pull off better graphics with the engine than this. Don't ge me wrong though, it's much better than others also in a lot of respects and is really neat to see the beautiful background in the sky and in the distance.
Very rarely do I play online in multiplayer matches, but for some odd reason I was hooked into playing this game. There are four types of matches. You have your regular deathmatch and team deathmatch, capture the flag, and last but not least Airborne. Airborne is probabally my favorite because it really requires teamwork. You have to take over certain points of a map while still maintaining other points that are under your control. The team that takes all of the points or the majority wins. While you think this could only last so long, the RPG elements kick in. Yes, you can kill people online and gain experience to help upgrade your guns. For some odd reason, I was addicted to the whole thing and leveled up all of my guns and had a blast. Though, a few things were missing. When you join a match, you don't have a choice which one you join. The customization when hosting a game is limited and lacking. When people left a game, no one joins to replace them so some games can lead up to 5 versus 2. Really unfair, cheap, and very aggrivating when someone leaves. There can be some lagging(EA servers after all) and overall just isn't much of a variety in gametypes. While it's probably not for everyone, I enjoyed it. Though, you'll probablly will not find many people online playing the game anymore.
Medal of Honor: Airborne is the last into the foray of World War II shooters and marks the final game of the series. It has the makings of a great World War II shooter but the gameplay has been done so many times from a zillion other WWII games. Thankfully, the RPG elements, decent online matches, lovable music, and nonlinear progression help lend the game a good pair of legs to stand up on. It may not be able to compete to the like of Call of Duty anymore, but it still can give a compelling experience.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 04/14/08
Game Release: Medal of Honor: Airborne (US, 09/04/07)
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