For Fans Of: Masicism, Monotony, WWII
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The Good: Decent graphics, different level design approach, fast paced, it doesn’t last very long
The Bad: Botched paratrooping mechanic, ridiculously difficult, monotonous level progression, dead multiplayer, brings nothing new to the tired genre
Medal of Honor started the first person shooter World War II experience back on the original PlayStation. As time went on they redefined the genre on PC with Allied Assault. It helped put WWII shooter’s feet on cinematic ground. Frontline was the series last good game, and slowly after that the series fell flat on its face with mediocrity, with EA only caring about money. Airborne continues this trend and it’s dead obvious how little effort they put into the game.
You play as a soldier named Travers (like we care at this point) and you go through various WWII scenarios that you have probably gone through dozens of times before. The first thing you will notice about Airborne is how repetitive it feels in comparison to other WWII shooters. It doesn’t do anything new and re-treads the same ground that we are sick and tired of. EA tried to make us feel different about this with a new approach to level design. You play as paratroopers that jump out of planes at the start of every level onto green flares. These are safe zones and contain crates of health, ammo, and grenades. Once you hit the ground you will notice that your mini-map is pointing to various objectives. No longer do you follow a linear routine and take it one at a time. Pick a direction and run, but that’s when things start going bad.
Every map plays out the same, shoot some enemies, push forward, rinse and repeat ad nauseam. The enemies will keep coming in different pockets of the maps until you advance and take them out. This isn’t a new trick, and just gets old quick because that is all you do. Place a charge on this AA gun, blow up this equipment, blow up these thanks. No thanks. I have done this countless times already so why do I want to do it here? The whole “non-linear” map idea doesn’t really work because it makes the game ridiculously difficult and you will die dozens of times every level. Every time you die you jump back out of the plane loosing not objective progress, but advancement progress. If you just pushed back a huge group of enemies and die you have to do it again. Your objectives are just checkpoints, and this gets frustrating beyond anything you can imagine. The game throws way too many enemies at you, but there are even problems with weapons.
The game has a nice upgrade system for doing so many kills. For example, the MP40 will upgrade with a double clip, reduced recoil, and a knife melee attack. This is the most interesting thing in the entire game, but EA for some reason made the guns inaccurate to accommodate for upgrades. Guns jump around more than you are used to and no matter how well your aim is you always miss about 60% of the time. Once you hit the less recoil upgrade it isn’t so bad. All the same WWII era weapons are here (except the Sten) and it is yawn worthy.
Thankfully the game is short with only 6 levels, so you can beat the game in about 6 hours. No matter how you slice it the game is just extremely hard, repetitive, boring, and unoriginal on every level. They even went back to the health pack system which is just archaic in design. You would think at least jumping out of planes is fun? Not really because if you don’t grease or flare your landing you botch it and it involves a nauseating and disorienting animation of your character wobbling around while getting up and pulling the weapon out in a weird way. While this is happening guys are shooting you and you will recover with one health bar left. Nice job EA for screwing every single thing in a game up that you possibly could. Even the graphics are pretty bland and aren’t anything special.
Overall, Airborne is probably the worst Medal of Honor game I have ever played. Monotonous shooting, ridiculous difficulty, screwed up paratrooping mechanic, failed level design, and a retread of a genre everyone is tired of. Do yourself a favor and skip this unless you really need a WWII shooter fix. Forget about multiplayer as well because there are only 6 maps and no one is playing online anyways.