At first it's familiar territory; the clumsy clang of your M1 Garand rifle, somber trumpet music wafting gently over low-key menus and men in tin hats bellowing at each other over the sound of cracking gunfire. But then you play it and realize that, finally, Medal of Honor has evolved and is now better than Call of Duty. Duty's problem is that it's too stiff. You feel yourself shuttling through a defined, predictable path, which is the complete opposite of what war actually is - an incalculable, ruthlessly unforgiving mess where nothing ever goes as planned.
And that's what defines MoH: Airborne - unpredictability. The game is completely non-linear. You don't just appear in the level at the edge of the map. You have to leap from a plane into it, choosing where to land, guiding you and your parachute down to the raging battle below. Safe landing zones are marked by a plume of green smoke, but these are merely suggestions because you can land wherever you like, depending on which tactics you want to use. So if you want to land on the rooftops and surprise the enemy below with a few well-placed grenades, you can. Or if you want to play it safe, land next to your squad and work with them to take enemy positions strategically. You even get a rating for your landing (extra points for landing between buildings) and have to cut your parachute off when you land before you can equip your rifle.