Medal of Honor: Airborne – Xbox 360

While Medal of Honor’s fellow WWII-based shooting-based series, Call of Duty, may be looking to modern conflicts for inspiration, MoH is still firmly dug in to WWII.

Those brave paratroopers who plummeted deep behind enemy lines are the focus this time around. Each mission will see you jump out of your huge metal carrier, and hopefully hit the ground running to complete your given objective.

With the series on a bit of a downturn, let’s hope these high flying adventures are enough to invigorate one of the founding fathers of a massively populated genre.

Let’s focus right on to Airborne’s unique factor – the parachute jumps. Billed as an addition to give you the ability to take on every mission exactly as you want, the truth is about as disappointing as an England sporting performance.

Each mission begins atmospherically enough, with a run down of your various objectives shouted by your standard bullish military commander. Not that Airborne packs in any kind of story outside of the standard "evil Nazi’s need to be killed". The majority of your tasks suit that perfectly, being of either the kill hundreds of enemies, or blow up Nazi controlled battlefield equipment variety.

Once you’re clued up on what’s ahead of you, it’s only then that you get to test out your parachuting skills. Once you’re out of the plane and rapidly descending to the ground, you’ll spot a few plumes of green smoke indicating a "safe zone". Get to one of those spots, and you’ll find not only a huge bundle of ammo, but a few compatriots to join you for the ride.

Miss one of these Nazi free areas, and you’ll be dead in a matter of seconds. Though this parachuting start to each mission works in theory, in practice things go one of two ways. Either hit a green spot and work your way from there, or jump right into the middle of the enemy, and get slaughtered. Not the most difficult choice ever made.

Outside this fresh addition to the genre, things on the ground are much the same as ever. As mentioned earlier, most tasks are of the standard kill or blow up variety that we’ve all completed a thousand times before.

Your weaponry doesn’t make things too easy mind. Whether or not it’s a hint towards the age old weaponry involved or not, you’ll frequent find yourself seemingly hitting an enemy a half dozen times before even one shot registers. Pretty blooming frustrating when you’re on your last rung on health.

Not that your enemies seem to suffer from the same kind of hold-up. They’ll happily blast away chunks of your health from hundreds of yards away with incredible ease, even on the easiest difficulty modes. The upgrade system – which rewards you with bonuses to your weapons as you become more skilled – luckily evens things out a little later on when things get even more hectic.

Thankfully, death doesn’t put you right back to the beginning. All objectives you’ve already completed will remain finished, and you’ll be right on with ploughing your way on to the next task straight away.

The Nazi’s, however, seem to possess some kind of magic elixir since each time you die, the level will be completely repopulated all over again. Might not sound too bad, but it does force you to blast away a few dozen more enemies just to get back to the same point you perished last time. Not much fun when you just want to push on to the next objective.

Your Allied chums aren’t too sharp either. When they tag along, they’ll spend most of their time either standing in your line of fire, or casually wandering towards the enemy without a care in the world. Half the time they’ll not even bother, leaving you taking on the enemy all on your lonesome. And that’s just not nice now is it?

Verdict

We’ve all heard that war is an ugly occupation, and Airborne doesn’t do too much to dispel that theory. Though most characters are lavished in detail, and the levels are large enough to get lost in, it’s nothing when compared to the likes of Bioshock or even Call of Duty 3.

There’s only 6 – admittedly huge – levels too, meaning you’ll get through this in a weekend. Multiplayer wise there’s nothing new either, and with Halo 3 just around the corner, we can’t see it catching on.

A worthy conflict it may have been, but this WWII shooter is lagging behind Call of Duty in every way possible.