Medal of Honor: Airborne - first look

A sharp about-face for the tired genre of WWII shooters

Forget the linear event-based gameplay of passed shooters: player pops through doorway "A" and it cues airplane "B" to crash into building "C." Medal of Honor: Airborne generates each battle totally organically, with every soldier (again, both friend and foe) reacting and adapting to your play style by interpreting what you've accomplished, how you've accomplished it and in what order. Essentially, the game should never play the same twice and every run-through should bring surprises from either your squad-mates or the enemies you face.

This replayable festival of freedom follows the entirety of the careers of WWII Airborne soldiers through each of the five historical operations that they actually participated in. Along the way, you'll find a new feature for the Medal of Honor franchise: weapon upgrades. As you work through each of the five operations, you'll be able to obtain special military commendations that will unlock weapon abilities - like a muzzle-rise suppressor for the Thompson submachine gun that keeps the barrel steady while you fire or a grenade attachment for the Garand rifle that launches the explosive pineapples like a rocket-propelled grenade launcher would.

The path of the Airborne is fraught with peril, so to provide you with a bit of a roadmap of what's ahead, we'll list the operations featured in the game right here, right now:

Operation Husky: The first major op that the Airborne were involved in, Operation Husky took our boys into Sicily. This was to be the stage of the Allied offensive in Italy. Unfortunately, the Airborne met with significant challenges simply because it was their pioneering drop - the Navy, unfamiliar with the Airborne C-47 transports, hurled flack at their own men resulting in heavy casualties from friendly fire. Get ready for a real morale booster of a level.

Operation Avalanche: Following the disturbing events of Operation Husky (where many Airborne suffered from friendly fire), the Airborne Division was considered by most of the armed forces to be a hopeless failure. However, the precarious cliffs bordering the coast near Salerno provided a perfect opportunity for the Airborne, so they entered the fray with a bare two hours of preparation.

Operation Neptune: The infamous storming of the beaches at Normandy played out slightly different for the Airborne Division. Taking advantage of their penchant for parachuting, the Airborne were dropped further inland in an effort to flank the German forces protecting the coastline.

Operation Market Garden: Though ultimately doomed to failure, Operation Market Garden saw a few successes for the Airborne. In a bold move to take several key bridges in an effort to cross the Rhine river (the last obstacle to moving full force into Germany), this massive operation involved mostly Airborne forces supported by armored units. While numerous bridges (including the Waal bridge at Nijmegen - where this level takes place) were captured, the elusive Rhine bridge remained out of Allied control.

Operation Varsity: The spearhead across the Rhine river, this was the largest airdrop in history and involved some 30,000 men. The infamous German quote (that leads the E3 trailer for Medal of Honor: Airborne ) indicating their complete lack of surprise at the attack, comes from Operation Varsity. "We know you're coming. You won't need parachutes because you can walk down on our flack."

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