It was not long ago that Medal of Honor took its first stab on the extremely crowded WWII genre that has been one of the most over developed genres out there. There is no doubt that Medal of Honor made its own unique mark onto the WWII genre, but the last few outings haven’t been as strong. This is really one of those franchises that people adore but have had a lot of difficulty following on its transition from a point A to point B. In other words a linear experience to what EA has been trying to create a more open environment style shooter, and the transition has been nothing short of difficult. Now EA wants to go to the air in the first real paratrooper shooter. But can this concept translate to a great game? Read our full review to find out!
In the past Medal of Honor has really had difficulty adding a pure open environment experience, and I believe they felt the only way to really capture that overall experience they needed to open up the environment. They achieved this by dropping you in via airplane in each level. This concept seemed like a gimmick to me and for the most part its implementation isn’t all that exciting either. But let’s get into the review now starting with the single player portion of the game where really the meat and potatoes are in this game.
So let’s get into the single player action, which starts every mission off with a short cut-scene that then tells you what your main objectives and landing points are going to be for the mission. Then you’re immediately taken the aircraft where nine times out of ten the plane comes under enemy fire and you have to jump out of the plane in a hurry. Your main objective in each jump is to get into a flared landing zone these are considered the safe zones, although that doesn’t always mean they are deserted. So you have to be careful when you make your jump you don’t want to jump into a firefight. However for the most part the jumps lose their charm after the second or third level.
From the landing point you then are given a list of objectives that you must go and complete in any order, although for the most part you are having to go hit the objectives in a specific order. One of the small snippets that the game does offer up is the weapon upgrade system. At the beginning of each mission you choose three weapons and you will want to upgrade these weapons for quicker load times, higher capacity, and the like. In general, it is not a big deal and like for example I preferred the sniper rifle for 99% of the game so upgrading other weapons didn’t make it as one of my goals in the game.
What I really enjoyed about this game was the variety, there are a lot of different objectives that you will take place in whether it be to infiltrate a certain building, taking out AA guns, or taking out tanks, the game tries to keep things as fresh as possible. To keep things difficult in the game the developers have implemented a pretty straightforward checkpoint system, and although the game saves you completing objectives it usually amounts to you still having to jump out of the plane after dying and this can mean a lot of backtracking. The checkpoint system makes things unnecessarily difficult and also makes the games a bit longer then it probably would have been to. Another issue is hit detection, as mentioned earlier I used the sniper rifle quite a bit and you can see when you’re going to hit an enemy and many times there was some great opportunities for kills and they would somehow miss. This wasn’t a huge issue but did cause some headaches and once again some unneeded deaths.
In the end though, what Medal of Honor Airborne succeeds in is being a very intense shooter. After playing so many FPS in my life time the Medal of Honor franchise is one that always caught your attention and this game has some extremely intense and enjoyable firefights. The last three missions were fantastic, and really made for some memorable moments. I have to say that I really got into this game and it made me even more impressed with the single player experience. The more you stick with the single player, the more it grows on you, and I have to say it would be hard to put this single player down if you let it develop.
On the other side of the game there is the Xbox Live support which has some pretty basic multiplayer that works but I never felt that the game took it to the next level. Everything is what you would expect and it all works, but it really pales into comparison to the level of intensity that is in the multiplayer. I would spend more time on the multiplayer but it takes a good amount of time to get into a game, and there was a little bit of lag but not too bad. All in all it’s a good alternative to the single player, but I think if you’re going to pick up this game, you’re not going to fall in love with the online play.
Visually the game really impresses with its really slick environments, which is really apparent when you’re are jumping from the plane. I have to say that it is just such a treat to be able to see such beautiful environments from a distance and then to be able to go into them and just see a lot of great detail. There are some weird clipping issues at times, a few weird moments where the physics seem slightly off, but mostly this is a game that looks gorgeous. Overall the game holds up well, during heavy firefights the frame rate stays smooth and for the most part this is a solid looking game.
Even with the problems with Medal of Honor Airborne, I still feel as though the single player experience is a very smooth and enjoyable experience. There were a few missions in particular that really offer up an extremely good experience and some of the more intense shoot outs I have experienced in quite sometime. Medal of Honor Airborne is one title that I really enjoyed the single player and was disappointed by the multiplayer, but felt that the single player was enjoyable enough to make for a great experience and an extremely fun one at that.
I would have liked to have given this game a stronger score, but the game has a few problems that hold it back from being truly fantastic. I would have liked to have seen some of the rough edges smoothed out, but I am not going to complain as the overall experience really manages to make one of the more enjoyable WWII shooters of recent time. If you’re a fan of the franchise or just WWII shooters I would still give a strong recommendation to check this game out.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.