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Not awful, but not the leap forward we were expecting
on 19 December 2007
Although it would be unfair to label this game as awful, its certainly not what we were expecting. The original MOH games defined the genre, yet the franchise is now looking stagnant.
The most infuriating feature (or missing feature) is a player controlled save. The game saves automatically once you achieve certain small aims, but you can't save the game yourself. This makes it difficult to progress, as you have to complete the whole goal in one go, which means you battle your way up the same hill, kill the same enemies only to have to restart at the bottom every time (or parachute to the top and die instantly).
Although the levels are large and well constructed, the game is still quite short. As an average gamer, it took me around 10 hours to complete. Whilst there is an element of replayability, in order to find the secret drops and improve your weapons, it feels more like a chore than a pleasure. Certain games in various genres have you looking for a reason to replay them (Metal Gear Solid, Gran Turismo, Elder Scrolls, all previous games in the MOH franchise) yet the reasons for replaying Airbourne just aren't there.
As far as positive points go, there are some intense moments of fierce combat. the first mission is probably my favourite, with street fighting in an Italian city. Leaning round corners to pick off machine gunners with headshots is quite fulfilling. The weapon enhancement system is good too; the more you use certain weapons, the more unlocks you open for it such as increased accuracy and larger magazines. The parachuting element is a brave idea and does add an extra dimension to gameplay. The parachuting alone doesn't make up for the game's shortcomings and frankly, only really affects a small time in each level. You tend to land where you're supposed to land as that's where the support is and where the game is designed from. Trying to be clever and drop behind enemy lines or in a slightly different place just gets you killed, or you have to battle your way through the enemy just to get back to your own troops to start the level 'properly'.
The bottom line? It's not bad, and I wouldn't be upset if someone gave me a copy. The developers probably believe the parachuting is their 'killer feature' or 'USP' but it doesn't really cut it. Fans of the MOH series will be disappointed as will fans of FPSs. If it were released a year or so ago, it would have been seen as much better, but now the competition is too stiff; there are too many other games which are better.