Medal of Honor: Airborne Xbox 360 Review
Medal of Honor: Airborne is the latest instalment of the popular World War 2 franchise. In this latest edition you take on the role of WW2 Para-military troops and begin each mission by parachuting straight into the action. The innovation continues with a very unconventional level system that allows you to upgrade your guns by killing Axis soldiers, marry both of these points to Medal Of Honor’s heritage that encompasses good graphics, great audio and a solid shooting experience and you are in for a fight you won’t forget.
But oh dear it’s actually one of the worst shooters I’ve had the displeasure of playing since the Jurassic Park section of Universal Studios The Game (yes I played it and yes I am ashamed). After the most brief training mission ever that consisted of a very angry man in a plane shouting “jump or I’ll push you” you’re unceremoniously dropped into your first mission onto the glorious island of Sicily to show the Italians that they’re on the wrong side and they should change sides as quickly as possible before we start getting very angry with them. The first mission is very deceptive in that when you land you are free to choose what objective you head to first, giving you the impression that you can tackle the missions as you see fit. This however is not true for the rest of the game, sadly, where you land and whether or not you clear the area of flesh hungry Nazi’s doesn’t actually make a lick of difference as you have to perform missions in a certain order. It doesn’t allow you to do them as you choose because each objective is activated by the completion of the one before it thus negating the whole point of dropping into the level wherever you want as you will always have to fight your way back to the first objective. You’ll also find that any areas you cleared will be flooded with Nazis the next time you return because the game wants you to feel overwhelmed but unfortunately this just makes you feel like you have no actual influence on the battle what-so-ever and that your team mates are a bunch of idiots incapable of holding a cleared area.
But hey at least it’s a tight shooting experience right? Wrong, the game has horrible, horrible controls that feel like some sort of illegitimate amalgamation of Call Of Duty and a dead horse. Turning speed is slow and throwing grenades difficult due to the excessive amount of camera shake. I’m sure this is to help immerse the player and make them feel like they are throwing the grenade but I’d rather be pretending to be someone who can throw thank you very much. The shooting is jarred further by the horrendously terrible super bad AI. Too many times in this game have I seen either an Allied or Axis soldier run across an area full of flying lead just so he can run up to the nearest enemy and knock him for six. This shouldn’t happen in any war game ever! However I can understand why it happens because the AI was quicker to figure out something than I was, the guns in this game don’t work for love or money. They are terribly inaccurate and when they do hit they are about as strong as recently paralysed kitten. At first I thought this was so that when you level up they become more accurate and powerful so that you will feel the difference but really the upgrades you are given go unnoticed, I don’t need a quicker draw speed on my pistol or an increased clip in my sub machine gun, I just want a gun that shoots people and kills them! When you snipe an enemy in the chest and he continues running you do have to question if this is all really worth the forty quid you spent on it. The sad truth is that ultimately it’s not; the game only has six levels with little incentive to replay them other than to get a few medals that require you to meet a few small criteria.
The online mode takes a terribly long time to get going and then when you when you finally get a game you are forced to wait even longer in the lobby and then again when the game loads up. All this waiting is rewarded by the one of the laggiest (new word) online games this side of The Darkness. It has three modes: one is death match where the allies land in from and airdrop, one is death match where all players spawn on the ground and one is the capture the flag mode from Battlefield 2. The online mode only has six maps, three of which are taken from the single player and another three are modified maps from Allied Assault. Cheap or what?
What Is It Good For?
After all this you would at least think that the game carries over the excellent music we were subject to in previous Medal of Honor games, more specifically European Assault, unfortunately this is also with nothing more than a small, repetitive piece of generic drama in the background. Gone are the moments when you lean out of cover and blow away a few Nazis while the music swoops to the front of the fray grabbing your attention and empowering you like some sort of war god. Graphically the game isn’t up to scratch either, while it doesn’t look bad, it doesn’t look particularly good either. The environments are fairly bland and uninspiring while the character models look slightly more caricatured than your typical war game.
As mentioned before, Medal Of Honor: Airborne is one of the worst shooters I’ve played in a long time; shoddy controls, crap guns, terrible AI, gimmicky premise, poor online mode, standard graphics and ho-hum music all round off to a sub-par package that fails to deliver on the innovative experience promised. It comes as no surprise that after the massive influx of WW2 games even one of its biggest names has failed to evolve. There are plenty of decent shooters out on the 360 with better story modes and better multi player modes, unfortunately War obsessed Britons will buy this until it sky rockets to number one and EA can make back all the money they spent buying the rights to the Unreal 3 engine and justify a repeat performance next year. Oh and developers, for the love of Christ, America were only in the sodding war at the end if you’re going to insist on continuing to make these games lets have a fair showing of who was there at the beginning as well as the end!
A sign that maybe one day soon world war 2 games will be so bad they won’t be made ever again…