Also available on PlayStation 3 and Windows
Review written by Stephen Deck; originally published 12/29/2021 on Teacher by Day, Gamer by Night
I am and always have been a huge Medal of Honor fan (at least while it stayed World War II; the modern set ones were crap), but the series definitely started to stumble once the HD era rolled in. Medal of Honor: Airborne is one of those HD games in the series, and while it’s certainly not a bad game, it’s clear from the start that this is no Rising Sun or Allied Assault.
You play as Boyd Travers, a fictional paratrooper in the US Army 82nd Airborne, ready to leap from a plane boldly into battle anywhere Nazis needed killing. Throughout the course of the game, you’ll fight in Italy, France, and Germany as you help to push back the Nazi war machine. So basically the basic core plot of every Medal of Honor game worth mentioning. It’s your standard first-person shooter affair, although being from the mid-2000s, the controls are a bit awkward at first as the industry was still trying to settle on what “standard” was for the genre. The controls, while awkward by today’s standards, aren’t bad at all. Rather, they just take some getting used to. What’s bad is the hit detection. You’d think I was hip firing a shotgun at range with how bad my accuracy was aiming down the signs with a Garand or a 1911. I’d have a guy square in my sights and miss four of my five shots. Meanwhile, if I so much as poke my head out from behind cover for a moment, it’s being turned into Swiss cheese, and that’s on the default difficulty. I ended up spending most of the game not even aiming, and while my accuracy was a little worse, it wasn’t that much worse, and at least that, I didn’t feel like the inaccuracy was BS.
Visually, the game looks fine for 2007. It’s not as impressive as Call of Duty 4 was which was released the same year, but it certainly doesn’t look “bad.” Aurally, it’s about the same – good but not great. The voice acting is acceptable, although it’s clear this cast isn’t doing any work for Pixar. I quite liked the music, but it sounded like pretty standard World War II game music. The big letdown in the audio department is the weapon sound effects. They’re certainly not the worst that I’ve ever heard, but they just sound weak and hollow compared to some more recent World War II shooters. They don’t have as much “oomph” as I’d like. If you’re not a gun enthusiast, then you’ll probably be like me and think “That’s disappointing. Oh well,” but if you are into guns and know exactly how these guns should sound, it will probably be a bit more jarring.
Medal of Honor: Airborne is a good time if you just want an excuse to massacre Nazis (and really, who doesn’t?), but it’s a pretty mediocre game even by the standards of 2007. It is absolutely not a bad game once you figure out the wonky aiming, but it just doesn’t stand out from the crowd. Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, Call of Duty 2, and Call of Duty: World at War are all better choices if you just want a World War II shooter. Still, if you have Game Pass Ultimate, it’s included thanks to EA Play, and while I haven’t checked to confirm, I can’t imagine it’s all that expensive to buy used physically on Xbox 360, so it’s worth giving a play.