E3 '07: Medal of Honor Airborne Updated Hands-On

We see the last level in this World War II shooter, and it looks incredible.

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EA has shown Medal of Honor Airborne a number of times at this point, but it used E3 to show off a never-before-seen level in the game. In fact, it was the beginning of the last level, and it looked absolutely incredible.

Airborne covers all the major Allied airborne drops of World War II, starting with Operation Husky (the invasion of Sicily) to Operation Varsity, which was a drop on Nazi Germany itself. The last level is actually the second of two levels that cover Varsity, and it's pretty insane. You start off in the belly of a US transport along with the rest of your "stick" of paratroopers when intense antiaircraft fire literally saws the plane in two. The cockpit is sawed off, and suddenly you're staring at your objective, a huge flak tower. The Germans built a number of these towering concrete fortresses to defend key cities against aerial bombardment, and it's your job to parachute atop one and neutralize it.

Click to enlarge!
Click to enlarge!

As soon as you jump out of the remains of your aircraft, you have control over where you land. Our first attempt dropped us in the middle of a squad of angry Germans and we didn't live much longer after that. That's a reminder to aim for the green smoke markers that indicate safe drop zones. Our second attempt managed to land atop one of those, so we were able to get our bearings and start taking the fight to the enemy.

The visuals in the game have vastly improved since we last saw it just a month ago, and the game looked really good back then. Now it simply looks amazing, and this may sound like hyperbole, but it looks like some of the prerendered cutscenes used for other games. Since you can select your loadout going into a mission, we went with an M1 Garand, a shotgun, and a pistol, and all were put to good use against some tough enemies. As this is the last level in the game, you'll encounter the most difficult opponents yet, including black uniformed SS troopers armed with MG42 machine guns and wearing gas masks. When you see them, find some cover and start sweating.

As the Call of Duty series is moving away from World War II, this could very well be Medal of Honor's moment to shine. Airborne looks incredibly polished, fun, and highly replayable. You'll be able to get your hands on it around the end of August, when it ships for the Xbox 360. It's also coming out for the PlayStation 3 and PC.

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