Top positive review
42 people found this helpful
on 27 January 2008
Airborne is different from the other Medal of honor games in at least 3 ways, and this is the reason why there is a massive variance in the other reviews you see for this title. The three issues are
> hardware requirements,
> the fact that Airborne gameplay just feels different, and
> Airborne levels are open ended.
Firstly, Airborne requires a pretty beefy computer with a stable and up to date software system.
It is not for casual, non-technical game players; if you don't know whether your DirectX and video drivers are up to date, then don't bother. If your computer isn't fast, try Call of Duty 4 or Quake Wars (both run much better on slower systems).
This point is pretty critical; if you do not have a fast frame rate (above 30-40fps), the game will be essentially unplayable. I guess this is the main reason a lot of people give the game a bad review. It is also worth noting that the Unreal 3 engine (that Airborne uses) is CPU hungry as well as requiring a fast graphics card. I use Windows XP, a Quad core Q6600, 2GB memory and a heavily overclocked R1950Pro, and it runs smooth as silk at 1280x1024, all effects on max.
Secondly, Airborne feels different.
The sounds are unlike many other shooters; all the weapons were sampled from real World War 2 items (including the aircraft noises, which are from one of the last flying C-47 troop carriers). The gun sounds are much harsher (high pitched) and contain much less bass. They take an hour of so to get used to, but once you do (and particularly once you realize the sounds are actually much closer to what real soldiers would have heard), it feels natural.
The game allows you to drop in anywhere on a map (more on this later), and that means no two games are ever the same. It also means that the AI is a bit better at moving around, mainly because it does not know what direction you will come from. The better AI has the side effect of making the game pretty hard; you can't just run and gun. That's not a bad thing, but it takes a while to work the game out on medium/high skill levels; the key is to know that the enemy AI DO NOT spawn; there is a limited number of enemy. This means you can (and often must) play a strategic game and clear a level from a distance using stealth/cover, and sharpshooting (it should be noted, however, that if you die, some of the enemy DO re-appear, and that friendly AI always re-spawn).
Thirdly, the missions are open ended.
I know some people say it all feels linear, but it really is not; the whole point of the game is that you are a paratrooper, and can jump into the levels anywhere. The more dangerous your entry point, the harder the game. If you play the game by just jumping in at the designated safe areas, then, yes, it is linear, but you can actually also jump in at the end of the map.
You then end up cut off from your squad, and meet much more resistance (and usually have to clear a path back to your squad if you want to use them). Also, jumping in to a `hot area' is hard because the enemy AI is harder to beat that way (you have to use the `attack from a distance' way if you want an easy life).
Here's the sort of effect this has; In one of the missions, the end target is a radio mast on top of a hill, surrounded by fortified pillboxes and trenches. The first time I played this, I jumped in at the designated start points (denoted by green smoke). The second time, I jumped in just outside the radio mast, towards the end of the map. In both cases, the game played different, and the AI handled it all beautifully.
I can see that the AI has to be perfect for this sort of thing to be possible. Call of Duty 4 gets better reviews, but is totally unplayable after the first attempt because EVERYTHING IS SCRIPTED. Airborne levels are totally dynamic, and that adds to the game immensely.
The downside is that the muliplayer isnt that hot at the moment; the responsive AI is the big deal with this game.
Personally, I had a lot of fun with this game. I also had a lot of fun with Call of duty 4, the main competitor to Airborne. Both are different. Call of duty has a lot more variation and uses tried and tested gameplay (and that makes it fun).
Medal of Honor: Airborne tries new ideas and demands newer hardware, and that makes it different (and perhaps, an acquired - or expensive - taste).