It's safe to say that World War II shooters have been in a rut these last few years. Let's face it: Even in that most expansive conflict, there are only so many battles you can re-create in video game form before you start treading the same ground over again. That's why Medal of Honor: Airborne's designers stopped looking for new battles and started looking at the old ones from a new angle--namely, an overhead angle. Airborne will place you in the role of a US Army paratrooper and give you the choice to control where you land on the battlefield, and in what manner you approach your objectives. It's an attempt to remove the stifling linearity of most "cinematic" first-person shooters, and creative director Jon Paquette is here to explain more about the freedom this new system will give you to operate on your own terms.
By Jon Paquette, Creative Director/Writer
In the last diary, producer Chris Busse explained all of the choices you'll have once you jump out of the plane. Well, the choices don't end there. Once you land, you must decide how to tackle the many objectives you and your fellow paratroopers must complete. In the war, the Airborne usually had a series of "seize, clear, and secure" objectives--sometimes they had to take an enemy strongpoint, sometimes open up a road, sometimes hold a strategic position until armored reinforcements could arrive. When you hit the ground in Medal of Honor: Airborne, you will know exactly what your mission is--usually a collection of four to six primary objectives--but it is up to you to figure out how to attack, and you'll have many different choices.
Your drop zone objectives can be accomplished in any order. Try landing on a high point to survey the battlefield. From the rooftops you'll be able to see where the battles are forming, and you'll be able to develop a plan of attack. Don't just look at the ground, look at the routes above the battle. Yes, you can access the rooftops from the ground, too. Verticality is your best weapon...there's nothing like sneaking onto the roof above an unsuspecting group of enemies then dropping a cooked grenade at their feet. Now that's fun!
One of the more unique aspects of our design is that you can decide to leave a fight in progress and go to a different part of the map. Let's say you dropped outside the enemy headquarters and tried a frontal assault, only to find that the enemies inside were too tough for you. No problem--just pull back and find an easier battle to join. Since you get weapon upgrades based on your experience, you might earn an upgrade in the smaller battle that will give you just enough of an edge to go back and finish off the HQ fight.
To break it down further, let's take an example from one of the later operations, Market Garden. One of the drop objectives is to clear an enemy machine gun nest. This one is located on the second floor of a bombed-out building overlooking the streets of Nijmegen. Let's say I chose a Springfield sniper rifle and a M12 shotgun as my two weapons for this mission (I chose from a variety of weapons before I entered the mission...different weapons give me different options in the mission, especially if I have earned some upgrades like the grenade launcher).
I could land halfway across the map, on a rooftop, and snipe the enemy gunner from afar. But I better hit him on the first shot, because if I miss, he'll see me and I will become his primary target. I could land on a rooftop right above him, then drop a grenade onto his position. This may clear the objective, but now I'm on a rooftop deep in enemy territory...and they know I'm here. Good luck getting down without getting shot. Alternatively, I could land on the street just below the MG nest and lob a grenade up over the sandbags. But there's a Panzer tank roaming the streets--if it sees me, I'm toast.
If I'm a patient player, I will land near the green smoke (this indicates a safe Allied landing zone) and fight with my allies into the building, using peek and lean tactics to clear it room by room. I can come at the MG gunner from behind, or I could let my allies take the rear while I surprise him on his right flank.
If I'm brave, or stupid, or both, I could pull off the ultimate pro move and steer right for this MG nest from above. If I time it right, I can drop-kick this enemy right before I land, effectively clearing the nest without firing a shot; but now I realize there are a dozen other enemies protecting this building, and they're all coming at me. Guess I better get that shotgun out, and quick.
Those are just a few of the different ways to attack this one objective, but I'm sure there are several other options that I have yet to discover. That's the real power of Medal of Honor: Airborne...there are many, many ways to play this game, and it's up to you. There are no limits, except for your own ingenuity and skill.