Wednesday, September 12, 2007
The Review: Medal of Honor Airborne
So close and yet so far - To be perfectly honest, I was looking forward to Airborne. Someone had to step in the WWII FPS shoes left behind by the Call of Duty juggernaut now that its moving into the present day. Who better than the series that helped revive our hatred of Nazis? Besides that, we've been promised some good stuff this time - a sandbox environment with alternate routes to achieve objectives, smarter AI and a wide variety of new procedural deaths (bad guys die more realistically). This game has great potential, unfortunately none of it is realized. While the Airborne does deliver on most of its new features, its weaknesses in the most basic of FPS elements prevents it from being a solid title.
In Airborne gamers play as Boyd Travers, a new recruit for the U.S. Airborne. You'll start off with a brief training mission and are soon sitting in a briefing. It gets your blood pumping and is a great way to introduce you to the game. Too bad the wind gets blown out of your parachute right af the start of your first mission.
As you jump out of the plane, you encounter the games first problem, trying to hit the ground without landing on your face. There are different ways of landing and if you hit it just right you can hit the ground running and gunning. If not, you're fumbling around and become an easy target. This may not sound like a big deal but if you don't land in the right place, your dead. This brings up the sandbox aspects of the game. Gamers can land anywhere you want on the battlefield but this turns out to be useless. Unless you land in a safety zone, you're surrounded without any support and are (again) an easy target.
But wait! More frustrating death awaits you! Gamers can duck but they can't lay flat, leaving them exposed on most walls that, for some odd reason, aren't high enough to protect your head. The AI is smarter and now come with x-ray vision. Forget about sneaking up on these guys, they know you're coming and can see you through trees and walls. Getting shot through trees is infuriating as hell. To make things worse your character dies way too easily and the checkpoints are waaay too far apart. When you've played 20 minutes and die (surprise!), you have to go all the way back to either the last checkpoint or even the very beginning of the level. Gaah!!!
Good thing Airborne has a saving grace, a very enjoyable online feature. Up to 12 gamers can play a variety of game types in ranked or unranked matches. Not only was it lag free but gamers can parachute into different positions instead of spawning at the same place every time. This can really come in handy when your trying to get the drop on your enemy.
Sadly Airborne's solid online feature doesn't make up for its hair pulling single player. If you're a fan of the series, are in desperate need of a WWII shooter, or need an online break from Halo 2 or Gears of War there might be something for you in Medal of Honor Airborne. But for anyone else, this game has 'Rental' written all over it.
Medal of Honor: Airborne
Price: $49.99 - $59.99
Formats: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Players: One (Up to 12 online)
Rating: T (Teen)
You take the good: Fun online play
You take the bad: Quick deaths, checkpoints too spread out, unrealized potential
And then you have - The Grade: C-
And finally - So I got my computers back, that's the good news. The bad news? They had to get wiped out and I've lost everything I had on them. I had most of my articles saved on flash drives so that's no big deal but everything I had on iTunes...gone. Apple was nice enough to let me download all of my purchases, too bad that's going to take about 4 days. I've bought so much on iTunes that they send me a Christmas card and a fruit cake every December. Or at least they should. Even more time consuming than waiting for all of my purchases to download is taking the hundreds of CD's I have and burning them back onto my laptop. Its even more frustrating than Airborne's single player. At least I can now update the site more regularly.