Medal of Honor: Airborne

Moby ID: 30102
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Boyd Travers is part of the 82d Airborne Division. As a small part of a greater operation he needs to complete several missions in Italy, France, the Netherlands and Germany. He fights alongside AI colleagues in order to free Europe.

All missions begin with a jump out of an airplane after a short briefing and the chance for you to change your initial weapon loadout. The parachute-jump allows you a little freedom in the selection of your starting point. There's also always a certain area, where you get a bonus if you successfully land there. During these missions anti-aircraft weapons need to be blown up, fellow soldiers have to be rescued and enemy tanks need to be taking out using bazookas. In order to give you more choices in your loadout, you are not only given access to enemy weapons but you can also benefit from the upgrades you have gained. You get an upgrade when you are performing extraordinary feats of valour and marksmanship. This means for example that you earn an upgrade when you kill three enemies in a short order. These upgrades include a bigger magazine for the German K98 or a handle for the Thompson machine gun to make it more accurate.

Also notable is the health-system. Boyd has four beads of health. If an enemy hits you but doesn't empty a whole bead, your health will regenerate until the bead is full again. If you loose a bead, you need to pick up a health pack in order to regain it.

Alongside the single-player campaign there are also three multiplayer-modes called Team Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch Airborne and Objective for up to 12 players available which all feature the teams Axis against Allied. While Team Deathmatch is pretty standard, Team Deathmatch Airborne features a new twist. In this mode the Allied jump from an airdrop onto the map while the Axis begin on the ground. In objective the goal is to capture all three flags on the map.

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Average score: 75% (based on 66 ratings)

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Average score: 3.1 out of 5 (based on 57 ratings with 3 reviews)

It’s not fun to shoot Nazis anymore.

The Good
However, I should confess that for me the last time it was fun, was in Wolf 3D, back in 1993. Since those times the number of quasi-realistic WWII shooters grew in exponential proportion. Each one bringing new meaning to the words: cliché, copy/paste and ultimate boredom.

So, where does the new Electronic Arts offering in the long-run Medal Of Honor series fit in? Prior to its release in September, 2007, it was marketed as the title which will reboot the series by pumping into its heart fresh ideas and unusual approach. The core feature of the upcoming title was stated to be the non-linear level design.

That was a good move. Since the biggest criticism MoH series received in press, it’s that the whole experience was completely linear with player not being allowed to move a step to the left or right. Only forward, killing hordes Nazis conjuring out of thin air by smart triggers.

This time it’s different. Being an airborne trooper, player is free to overview the whole level and choose an appropriate landing site. That should have left every part of the map open for the initial starting point. The possibilities that became open for the player are mind-boggling. How about dropping in the heart of the enemy, quickly ducking behind the nearby crate and methodically assaulting a dozen of enemies in 10 meters before you? Or landing on the building roof with a sniper rifle? Or setting foot on the water tower? Or flying in the window? Or, maybe…

Well, the fact is that the system works. Not in the way you’re expected, though. There are stills areas that are off limits for you when you’re guiding your parachute down. And given a short drop (40 seconds) and a horrible control scheme it really doesn’t matter that much when you’ve landed.

The gameplay of the game, however, remained unchanged. That will of course please some people, who are looking for an evening of relaxation, shooting Germans and Italians wearing Nazi uniform and feel good about it. I admit that I also had a bit of that guilty pleasure while playing MoH series and its twin brothers, members of Call Of Duty series. The soothing quality of Nazi soldaten jerking in pain after your astounding shot always was the key reason for the high demand on WWII themed games. People fear, people buy. I too fear Nazis, I am happy that I wasn’t alive in 1942 during the Nazi’s occupation of my hometown. And I am glad that now, each year, I have the opportunity to shoot the bastards to hell in the complete safety of my computer room.

Unfortunately, Electronic Arts Los Angeles (the developer of MoH:A) hardly has anything to do with helping me with my psychological problems.

To be done with the Good section, just imagine what a generic AAA class title is, which was developed with enough money to buy a small town in Africa. High-quality motion-capture, realistic booming sounds, pompous orchestrated music with nearly a thousand musicians playing at the same time and grand explosions witnessed from the cinematic angles. If you fancy all that, you’ll get a pretty clear idea of what the positive side of MoH:A essentially is.

And now brace yourself, ‘cause we entering…

The Bad
First and foremost, the game is boring. Yep. No amount of the false innovations (the novelty wears off after a half an hour into the game) will be able to change the fact that rushing through the generic levels (some village, some bunker, some town, you name it) kicking the Nazis butt for 8 hours will become deviously tiresome after the first one. WWII themed games are not suited for a fast-paced action. Period. Check the Hidden & Dangerous series or Operation Flashpoint to see what I mean.

They don’t send legions of evil demons… er… Nazis your way, but make your carefully think about what is that you’re doing if you’re going to survive that war hell. The war is about survival, not about being a Rambo.

The simple human war drama could’ve improved things a lot. If EALA has taken a bit more from Saving Private Ryan movie, which style it’s desperately trying to mimc for a fifth time straight, I would’ve loved it. But as it is, even Company Of Heroes, which is a strategy game, has more tear-inducing moments than this. I don’t even remember what the main protagonist name is, and I’m writing this an hour since completing the game.

The war is pain and suffering. It’s not fun.

Next. Visuals. Bleak and uninspiring. As I mentioned before, Steven Spielberg movie’s color scheme of dark shades of grey and brown remains the working palette for MoH:A as well. In the movie it underlined the despair and lifeless image of war. In MoH:A it underlines the grayness and lack of creative thinking in the minds of art directors behind the title. Even Unreal Engine 3 added to the game as an afterthought is not enough to bring this game to its graphical senses.

So, while technically on the frontline, the art direction the game takes is right from the 1999 when the original Medal Of Honor was released. If you do want some style in a realistic war-themed shooter, play Vietcong.

I could’ve talk more and more about how gameplay system is limited, how stupid the AI remained, how unresponsive the controls are, how videogamish all those kits with red crosses on them look, how American developer once again prefers to forget who has actually contributed the most to the victory of 1945. I could, but I won’t, since all that could’ve been forgiven this game, have it been not so shallow and inexpressibly stupid.

The Bottom Line
If you think of video games as of nothing more than a way to relieve your stress and pet your ego, than go ahead and buy Airborne. It’s more of the same stuff you came to appreciate in the series with a cool parachute thingy twist. There will be enough Nazis to keep you busy for a week, granted you play it only at evenings. The next generation graphics, and full surround audio support never hurt any game either.

But, if you’re looking for intelligent gameplay, unexpected stylistic and artistic decisions and appealing war drama, you won’t find any of that in MoH:A. Why? ‘Cause it’s not the way the WWII games are meant to be played in 2007. That’s what the guys at EA think.

What do you think?

Windows · by St. Martyne (3644) · 2007

Whow, can MoH do it too...

The Good
Ever since Call of Duty came on the scene, Medal of Honor franchise lost bigtime and was nowhere near its fierce and unforgiving competitor. CoD had everything better, from graphic, interface, controls, simplicity, and helluva dynamic ambient filled with action and realism. And so Airborne showed up and said "I too can do it, and well." and thus it left me quite shocked at that revelation.

Only MoH game so far that had a good propelling force that could lead the player until the end in quite a satisfactory mood was Frontline... could be because they were the first to successfully put the player in D-day beach fight FPS, but even the rest of the missions as well as enemy movements were pretty impressive. After that, CoD came and took the throne all the way. So, what's so great about the Airborne that put it up as a competitor to Call of Duty 3, currently the last CoD with the WWII setting.

First, graphic was impressive and levels were really designed pretty well. But the thing about the levels is that they're quite huge, so to say, and not so linear. Sure, jumping off the plane is an interesting idea no doubt, but that alone would be highly insufficient to make this game as great. There are six missions altogether, short one might say, but you'd be surprised how each of these missions can take time to finish. Italian village, ancient ruins, trenches and bunkers, cities, it's all nicely wrapped up in those six missions, and what's best of all, there is no silly knights to fight like in Underground, or ending enhanced boss battle like in European Assault, there are missions and there are objectives... and objectives are but half of the mission 'cos once you finish them, new ones will appear while enhancing the map you're on to areas you didn't know were there in the first place.

Controls are fine (got me scared for a while by the unexpectedly unuseful default setting), aiming seems better than in prequels, and you can select weapon to start each mission with. What's better, is that each of the weapons can upgrade, thus providing you with more steady aim, extra clip, scope and other useful gadgets. Enemies are pretty cool too, they're defined by skill levels which basically mean they'll be tougher to deal with, and sometimes are strikingly deadly with their aim.

Okay, maybe it was the PS3 graphic, but still, it was something to be admired, yeah, CoD3 was nothing less, if not better, but gotta give them props for delivering such a worthy MoH title on the field, well done.

The Bad
As silly as it may seem, it's always hard to figure if there are infinite enemies or not, as sometimes they just pop in a bunch almost like out of nowhere, at least nowhere in your visual range. And sometimes you can see individuals guarding certain spot, especially those elite troopers, they seem to come in a defined number alright.

But both AI or your allies and enemy soldiers can sometimes seem out of boundaries, as your troops can proceed forward leaving half of the enemy along the way, and enemies sometimes come to your side and hide behind the cover as if they're running in front of their own guys. Yeah, silly things like that still happen in the games, but can be forgiven due to circumstances.

The Bottom Line
My expectations were low, which may explain why my amazement was so high... it's addictive game, and can be finished quickly... well, at least 45min per mission if you're very fast and not too thorough, but it simply doesn't get repetitive as each of the level is carefully designed and eye-candy for certain. This is a step in the right direction, what will come next... well, let's hope something on par at least.

PlayStation 3 · by MAT (238621) · 2012

Throw me out without a Parachute

The Good
It is difficult to find anything likable about this game especially if you are so utterly disappointed.

Maybe we can talk about the good surround sounds and the fact you control your descent when parachuting into the game. Yes you can run around in a"non linear" manner, however the difference is that you just get the choice to choose which sub-mission you want to do.

The only interesting and "unrealistic" part is the ability automatically upgrade your weapons with the more Nazis you blow away. I think this is supposed to keep you interested in replaying the game over and over again....

The Bad
Everything is just bad. So much emphasis is put on parachuting in, which takes like a few seconds in the game. So what if you land on your enemies, near your enemies or far from them.

The Unreal engine 3 is inappropriate for this genre of game, the game reminds me of unreal tournament but with Germans, Italians and Americans running around shooting each other up. With first aid boxes and ammo lying around

I got bored playing the game just 10 minutes into it. The targeting methods and controls are irritating and the little red cross when firing on opponents is like being in an arcade game.

If you die during the round you parachute back in again and all your enemies are back where they were before.

I founds Pacific Assault way more enjoyable where at least the AI of the Japanese was intelligent and they would advance and retreat in localized movements in an otherwise linear game. In this game the fighting is so boring that you literally want to run forward to get to your goal with minimal combat effort.

In short EA Bring Back the Linear type game or invent a game like Stalker or Far Cry 2 with its true "Non Linear" Characteristics

The Bottom Line
If you have all the previous medal of honors games then buy this one as a collectors item, don't play it, just put it on the shelf. If not then don't waste your money on this game, rather buy Brother in Arms or the Call of Duty Series

Windows · by Thekwane Black (30) · 2009

Trivia

Cancelled version

A PlayStation 2 version was announced, but was cancelled.

German version

In the German version, all swastikas and SS runes (along with other symbols on uniforms) were removed or, in the case of banners, replaced with the national identification cross. Also the word "Nazi" is not used in the German localization. This censorship was later brought to the Steam version in all regions.

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Game added by Sicarius.

PlayStation 3 added by Sciere.

Additional contributors: Sciere, Big John WV, Patrick Bregger, Starbuck the Third, Plok, firefang9212.

Game added September 10th, 2007. Last modified October 10th, 2023.