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E3 2007: 'Medal of Honor: Airborne'

'Medal of Honor: Airborne' offers a fresh take.


The WWII shooter genre is about as overworked as a game meme can be, with virtually identical games having suspiciously similar names, such as Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, or Hour of Victory. The Medal of Honor series, which dates all the way back the original PlayStation, breaks away from the pack with a surprisingly refreshing take on the theme.

Instead of planting you, as a well-armed soldier, at point A in some generic European town and forcing you to fight through waves of Axis soldiers on your way to point B, MoH: Airborne sets up the map, shows you a series of objectives, and then leaves it up to the player to figure out how to get the job done.

The levels each start with a parachute jump, and you can aim yourself to land practically anywhere (although only a few areas, marked by green smoke grenades, are considered safe). Computer-controlled comrades generally follow you around, but the different objectives (blow up a munitions dump, knock off a high-ranking officer, etc.) are usually at opposite ends of the map and can be tackled in any order. Meet a grisly end, and you parachute back in and can choose a new landing location to continue the fight from another angle.


Playing through a few levels of this work-in-progress, we decided to leave the street-level gunfight to the AI soldiers and instead found a walkway we could use to jump onto a rooftop. Scrambling along the rooftops of the town, we were able to avoid most of the enemies and crawl in through a second-story window of the building we were trying to infiltrate--an option we never would have seen from the ground.

Other than the open-ended maps, this is still a pretty standard WWII first-person shooter, and won't turn you onto the genre if you're allergic to History Channel fare. But EA at least gets points for not just turning out another rote sequel.