For Medal of Honor fans the most recent entries in the WWII series have failed to live up to the full potential they possess. Airborne steps above previous games and seeks to reclaim the glory of the once great franchise. Airborne takes place in the European theatre of war as fans of the series will come to expect, but for the first time the series will focus on paratroopers as you step into the shoes of Boyd Travers of the 82nd and later the 17th Airborne Division. Will these new roles in Medal of Honor’s first next-gen outing be enough to revive this diminishing series?
As previously mentioned the story revolves around the escapades of Private First Class Boyd Travers, paratrooper with the 82nd and 17th Airborne Divisions. Throughout the game you’ll fight your way through Italy, France and the Netherlands with a grand finale set of course in Germany.
EA has really added a new dimension to game play with parachuting. Gone is the linear game play of going from A to B; instead as every mission starts with entry from the sky, you choose where you land and where your mission begins. This allows players the options to covertly plant themselves behind enemy lines, or if preferred right at the front gate ready to Rambo their way through. What makes it slightly more interesting again is that there are five “Skill Drop” points across each mission, where players try to skilfully land for better position and complete some Achievements.
With the addition of parachuting adding a new element of fun, it’s terribly disappointing to discover that in-game play is so weak. The hit detection is a major issue, as head shots simply don’t work. Body shots are required, and plenty of them to kill any enemies. The AI is downright stupid as well; many times you’ll encounter enemies running straight past you to get to cover when shooting is a blatantly obvious option.
EA has put a lot of time into using the Unreal 3 engine for graphics and the results are quite nice. Each level of the extremely short campaign is very detailed; the player models look good and the environments even better. The downside is that at times the frame rate gets bogged down under the graphics, but not to the extent that the game becomes unplayable.
Medal of Honor: Airborne really shines with its fantastic multiplayer segment. Up to 12 people can play together in both ranked and unranked matches. There’s a decent selection of maps and game types, providing fast paced action. Parachuting into levels is very rewarding by securing strategic points and sneaking up on enemies.
EA has certainly put a lot of time and effort into Medal of Honor: Airborne. The game looks good and the parachuting aspect adds another level to the game. Unfortunately the poor hit detection, unstable frame rate and the short single player campaign weigh down what could have been a great game. If WWII shooters are still your thing then Medal of Honor: Airborne isn’t a bad choice, but the range of quality shooters for the Xbox 360 make it tough to recommend.