Medal of Honor: Airborne - multiplayer hands-on

You'll also find that sticking to roofs and indoor areas is a lot safer than running around unprotected in the streets, considering that just a few lucky hits - or a single headshot from a sniper on a roof - can do you in. Unfortunately, you'll need to venture out in the open to capture control points, although there are plenty of cover points to crouch behind on the way.

When each match begins, you'll be able to choose from one of five basic weapons packages, each containing one big gun (rifle, submachine gun, automatic rifle, sniper rifle or anti-tank gun) in addition to a pistol (a Colt .45 for the Allies or a Mauser for the Axis) and a handful of grenades. Of course, you won't be completely confined to your initial choice; you can change weapons mid-match (you'll switch after the next time you die), and you'll be able to pick up whatever cool weapons your dead opponents drop - as well as a few hidden ones, like shotguns, that lie scattered around certain levels.

Each gun seems to have some advantage over its enemy counterpart; the Allies' M1 Garand rifle, for example, is semi-automatic and capable of quick, successive shots, while the German bolt-action K98 rifle has a slight edge in accuracy. Those differences become more pronounced as you earn upgrades for your guns, which include improvements like an accuracy-boosting pistol grip for the Thompson submachine gun, or taped-together magazines for faster reloading on the Browning Automatic Rifle. More interestingly, the basic rifles can be outfitted with screw-on grenade attachments (which tend to bounce around a lot once fired), and the German MP40 submachine gun can be tricked out with a sniper scope. Hot.

With smallish levels, 12-player limit and complete lack of vehicles, Airborne's multiplayer might seem confining. Even with its limitations, though, it's a hell of a lot of fun, and the paratrooping gives the game a level of chaos that's a cut above what most games offer. As an Axis soldier, you'll constantly be unsure of whether to watch your back or the skies, and as one of the Allies, picking the right landing spot can mean the difference between victory or an early midair death. Airborne has enough potential to get us a little excited about playing a World War II shooter again, and that's an impressive feat.


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