Medal of Honor Airborne Review
Medal of Honor: Airborne drops you into some of the biggest campaigns of World War II, literally. As a paratrooper, you begin each level in a C-47 bounced around by flak and must parachute your way down to the action. You're free to guide your chute down to anywhere on the battlefield, but if you want to survive for very long after you touch down you should aim for the safe zones marked by green smoke grenades. If you should be killed, the game will respawn you into the C-47, and it's once again out the door and down to return to the action.
The freedom you're afforded in starting the missions (and in returning to them after death) is a result of the open nature of the game's missions. You'll often be tasked with multiple objectives but will be free to pursue them in any order. There are also almost always multiple ways to get from Point A to Point B, which goes a long way towards giving you the feeling that you're at least somewhat in control of your destiny rather than "riding a rail" from one canned event to the next. In fact it pays to think "outside the rail" as sometimes the best way to assault a heavily defended objective is to look for an alternate way in.
The game also does a good job of making you feel that you're part of a larger battle rather than the center of the universe. Your fellow paratroopers will be battling the enemy at many different locations on the battlefield as they try to push their way towards the objectives. In fact, you can often use the sound of gunfire to lead you to the nearest objective without having to check your onscreen compass. Of course, this is all mostly illusion as none of the objectives will be accomplished without your direct interaction, but it's cool to imagine that they could be.
You'll have the standard World War II era weapons at your disposal, but Medal of Honor: Airborne does add a couple of new twists in this aspect of the game. The first is that you can "cook" your grenades, i.e. hold onto them for a few seconds before tossing them. This gives the enemy less time to react when they see a grenade landing in their midst. The other new feature is that you gain experience with each weapon type as you use it. Once you obtain a certain amount of experience with a weapon it will level-up, giving you an upgrade to the weapon that can range from an expanded magazine to improved accuracy. Both are pretty nifty little features and hopefully they will become a staple of the Medal of Honor franchise.