Medal of Honor: Airborne

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Medal of Honor: Airborne
MoH Airborne cover PC DVD.jpg
Developer(s) EA Los Angeles
Publisher(s) Electronic Arts
Director(s) Jon Paquette
Producer(s) Patrick Gilmore
Designer(s) Rex Dickson
Programmer(s) Simon Myszko
Artist(s) Justin Thomas
Composer(s) Michael Giacchino
Series Medal of Honor
Engine Unreal Engine 3
Platform(s) Mobile phone
Microsoft Windows
Xbox 360
PlayStation 3
Genre(s) First-person shooter
Mode(s) Single player

Medal of Honor: Airborne is a World War II first-person shooter video game and the 11th installment of the Medal of Honor series. It was developed by EA Los Angeles and was released worldwide on Mobile phones in August 2007,[1] and on Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360 in September 2007. Versions for the PlayStation 2, Wii, and Xbox were planned but they were cancelled in 2007.[5] Instead, Medal of Honor: Vanguard was released exclusively for the first two consoles. A PlayStation 3 version was released November 2007.[6] The game takes place in the European theater of World War II, and is the first in the series to focus only on paratrooper activities.[7]

In the single-player mode, the player takes on the role of PFC/CPL Boyd Travers, a fictional paratrooper in the US 82nd Airborne Division.[8] Missions include various insertions into Italy, northern France, the Netherlands and Germany, each one beginning with a jump behind enemy lines. Airborne also features a multiplayer mode available for online play, where users have the choice of fighting for the Allies and parachuting down to the battlefield, or fighting for the Axis and starting on the ground, defending the position from enemy paratroopers.

The game uses a heavily modified version of Unreal Engine 3.[9] Airborne employs a nonlinear gameplay style whereby the player can start the game anywhere in the map by directing where they land, as opposed to previous linear FPS games where the start point and direction is already laid out, such as Allied Assault.[10]


The protagonist is Pfc. Boyd Travers in the 82nd Airborne Division. The story begins with a brief training level, set in North Africa, but then takes the player to the first mission: Operation Husky, set in the Italian village of Adanti. Travers' task is to neutralize anti-aircraft nests in the town. After completing that, Travers and a small group of soldiers is sent deeper in the town to find a missing sniper team. Travers finds only one badly wounded survivor, who gives him his sniper rifle which Travers uses to kill the German sniper who killed the team. German forces then launch a counterattack on the village, which is successfully repelled by the Airborne division.

The next mission is Operation Avalanche, set in Paestum, an abandoned archaeological dig near Naples. Objectives here include destroying radio equipment, fuel tanks, and an ammunition dump. The final fight is fought in Hera's Temple on a hilltop, until Allied dive bombers arrive and destroy the site.

The third is Operation Neptune, set on Utah Beach, with Travers inserting behind German lines to take out key objectives to prevent them being used against the Operation Overlord invasion force. Travers destroys a Tiger tank and infiltrates series of bunkers. At the end of the mission, the division returns to Utah and infiltrates pillboxes on the beach, securing it.

The fourth is Operation Market Garden, in The Netherlands. Travers inserts into Nijmegen and must battle his way through the destroyed town, full of Tiger tanks and machinegun nests. He fights off Tiger tanks with sticky Gammon grenades. The Germans plan to destroy the bridge to prevent Allied forces from taking over it. Travers shoots the bomb device and saves the bridge. American forces soon capture the bridge along with Sherman tanks. American tanks try to cross the bridge, but elite German soldiers armed with Panzerschreck rocket launchers defend it. Travers fights them off and destroys the final Tiger tank, liberating the bridge and letting American forces to cross it.

After Market Garden operation ends with defeat of Allies, Travers is transferred to the 17th Airborne Division. Soon, Allied attack on Germany, Operation Varsity, begins. Travers is sent to a huge German industrial complex and a weapon factory in Essen, Germany, to destroy various targets, including tanks, a railway gun, and an armored train. After landing in the factory, Travers and other soldiers find themselves under heavy fire of snipers. Travers breaks into a weapon cache facility and destroys it with an explosive, completely burning all German ammunition in the factory. As the division finally moves on to destroy their final target (an ammunition transport armored train), they are attacked by the Storm Elite, a group of heavily armored German machine gunners. They soon realize that those gunners can't be killed easily as they wear protective armor. Most of Travers' squadmates die in the attack, but he survives and destroys the train engine.

The final mission, Der Flakturm, has the player landing atop a partially destroyed flak tower (flakturm), in the middle of the city of Essen. The name of the specific flak tower is not mentioned in the game. He and his men must battle their way down, encountering heavy resistance, to place demolition charges and destroy it. After infiltrating the most secret facilities in the tower, Travers realizes that he is the only one left from his squadron. He then gets deep below the tower where he meets with an engineer who places massive amount of explosives on the foundations of the tower, ready to destroy it. Travers enters into sewers to follow the wire that leads to "Hellbox", a device used to detonate the explosive stock. On his way through sewers, he fights many Storm Elite members, alone. When he finally reaches the surface, he sees a badly wounded American soldier trying to activate the Hellbox. Before he is able to reach it, he dies, so Travers takes and activates it. The tower explodes, along with all the German soldiers in it along with their ammunition. The final scene shows a fleet of C-47 Skytrains flying over the tower engulfed in flames.


Each mission is introduced by a briefing cutscene at the beginning, and another cutscene takes place inside the aircraft, preparing to jump. Notable also is that each weapon in the game (including grenades) can be upgraded by killing enemies. More points are awarded for headshots, melee and multiple kills. These upgrades are mostly scopes, double magazines and better grips that reduce recoil.

Instead of facing standard enemies with randomized appearances and weapons, the player faces predetermined enemy types, ranging from the Italian Blackshirt to the SS Storm Elite. Harder enemy types are encountered as the game progresses.

When the player lands on the ground, several objectives are given, located on different points of the map. They can be completed at any order. If the player gets killed in this part of the mission, another paratrooper will be sent, with ability to land at any point of the map again. When the player completes all primary objectives, the mission becomes more scripted and linear, without more objectives available at once. Instead of sending another paratrooper, in the second part of any mission there is a checkpoint system. Each mission ends with Travers' report to commanding officer Scott Webb.


Development of Airborne started in late 2004[11] when the game designers wanted a new game that would "really revolutionize the Medal of Honor scene".[12] The idea of a paratrooper-based gameplay came up and as such a free-roaming environment was needed, which became the key focus of the game. Each mission starts with a jump and the developers wanted to make the experience as nonlinear as possible, with no starting points and as such the scenario unfolding in a different way each time, as opposed to previous World War II FPS games where there is a set starting and end point.

The lead designer was Rex Dickson, and the executive producer was Patrick Gilmore, who previously worked on Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. The development team even had an actual historical advisor, who is an enthusiast on the Airborne forces and weapons of World War II, attempting to ensure historical accuracy and authenticity. Each sound was recorded from hundreds of real World War II-era artifacts including real weapons, tanks, and one of the last remaining airworthy C-47s.[13]

Originally, the game was going to include pathfinder missions done by soldier Eddie LaPointe that would include more stealth. They would come before Travers' drop. This was later cut as EA wanted to simplify the action and focus on large scale fights with Travers instead. EA signed partnership with Jeep to feature drivable vehicles in the game. This was taken out of the final version as well, because levels were made with cramped spaces and short roads and alleys, so there was no room left to drive.[14]

Allies about to advance on an Italian position in Operation Husky

Airborne was developed in close consultation with the Medal of Honor community, via forums and summits.[15] Certain community leaders who run Airborne fan-sites were invited to a multiplayer preview summit in July 2007, and many problems were identified that would hamper the game's popularity within the MOH community, the most important ones being lack of a dedicated server and issues with mouse lag and low frame rate. As a result of the summit, the most critical issues were able to be fixed in time for the game's release, and the other issues in time for the first patch.[16]

A single-player demo was released on August 23, 2007, featuring the first half of Operation Husky.[17]

Game engine[edit]

Airborne uses a heavily modified Unreal 3 engine. The game's core development was started with EA's acquired Renderware engine, but it made the switch to the Unreal 3 engine in early 2006 which delayed the game by over a year.[18] The engine was specifically designed for DirectX 9 and 10 PCs, PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, and supports many rendering techniques utilized within the graphics capabilities of Airborne, including HDRR, per-pixel lighting and dynamic shadows.

AI awareness[edit]

Because of the non-linear gameplay style of Airborne, the developers had to build an entirely new artificial intelligence system to deal with the many ways the player can interact with or approach the computer-controlled allied and enemy soldiers (NPCs), and for them to react to the situation accordingly.[19] With "Affordance A.I.", the characters have an awareness of enemy approach patterns, and also features of the terrain and urban infrastructure that provide a tactical advantage, such as cover, high ground and open doorways. This allows AI characters to take intelligent combat actions based on their surroundings, as opposed to the scripted movements of previous linear FPS games. However, as players played through the levels, many[who?] said that the A.I began a scripted sequence of reactions; e.g., being in the same positions every time and/or using the same advantages even when the player takes the enemy on from a completely different angle. These scripted reactions left many gamers somewhat unimpressed by the supposed "Human A.I".[19]

Airborne uses two systems to guide the physical and emotional reactions of the AI characters to what is happening around them. "E-cap" (emotion capture) is used to create more human-like emotions on the characters' faces by blending an awareness of their surroundings and other NPCs, for example an AI soldier that started to move forward would jump back for cover if an ally next to him was shot.[20]


Medal of Honor: Airborne Original Soundtrack
Medal of Honor, Airborne soundtrack cover.png
Soundtrack album by Michael Giacchino
Released July 31, 2007 (2007-07-31)
Recorded 2006-2007
Genre Orchestral
Length 63:23
Label E.A.R.S.
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Game Music Online 7/10[21]

Medal of Honor: Airborne Original Soundtrack was released on July 31, 2007. It features the in-game tracks and musical scores of the game, all of which were composed by the award-winning Michael Giacchino, who also composed scores for some of the previous Medal of Honor games, including the main theme for the whole series.[22]

The first scoring session was held at the Paramount Scoring Stage in Hollywood on April 20, 2006 to score the teaser trailer that would premiere at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in the summer of 2006.[23] A 75-piece orchestra, conducted by Marshall Bowen, performed the music. Eight months later, Giacchino was wrangling a few projects, including Lost and Ratatouille, and it was decided that instead of trying to blast through the writing process and compose all of the music for 2-days of recording, it would be best to focus on one day of recording, and then record the rest of the music in the spring when the game's development had progressed sufficiently.

On December 11, 2006, Giacchino recorded the first round of cues for the game with the Hollywood Studio Symphony at the Eastwood Scoring Stage at Warner Bros.[24] Four months after that, on March 28, 2007, the final round of music was recorded.

The Airborne soundtrack has been said to be based on the Medal of Honor themes of the past, but "brings a dark uncertainty that communicates the ominous journey of the first US Airborne combat troops".[25]


Review scores
Publication Score
mobile PC PS3 Xbox 360
Eurogamer 8/10[26]
Game Informer 7.25/10[27] 7.25/10[27]
Game Revolution D+[28]
GameSpot 7/10[29] 7/10[30] 7/10[29]
GameSpy 3.5/5 stars[31] 3.5/5 stars[32]
IGN 7.9/10[1] 7.9/10[33] 7.9/10[34] 7.9/10[33]
OXM (US) 7.5/10[35]
PC Gamer (US) 88%[36]
PSM 3.5/5 stars[7]
Aggregate score
Metacritic 78/100[37] 75/100[38] 73/100[39]

The PC and PlayStation 3 versions received "favorable" reviews, while the Xbox 360 version received "average" reviews, according to video game review aggregator Metacritic.[37][38][39]

GameSpot was pretty average on the game, saying, "The single-player campaign doesn't get cooking until the last two levels, but those two levels combined with solid multiplayer make it worth enlisting in Airborne."[29] IGN fared a bit better on the game in its review, saying that, "Airborne, while not perfect, is definitely the best game in the franchise to come along in quite a while."[33] Press Start Online stated that Airborne was "a Medal of Honor game that's not only good, it demonstrates a level of imagination and innovation that's becoming increasingly rare in the genre."[40] Most reviewers praised the music from the games of Medal of Honor, with IGN stating in particular that the title music was said to bring back some classic memories from Allied Assault and the starting music for Operation Market Garden for Campaign.[41]


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  2. ^ "Medal of Honor: Airborne Release Information for PC". GameFAQs. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Medal of Honor: Airborne Release Information for Xbox 360". GameFAQs. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "Medal of Honor: Airborne Release Information for PlayStation 3". GameFAQs. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 
  5. ^ [1] Archived October 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Medal of Honor: Airborne - PlayStation 3". IGN. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 
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  8. ^ [2] Archived December 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
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  10. ^ Grbavcic, Dejan "Dex" (February 8, 2002). "Medal of Honor: Allied Assault Review". ActionTrip. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 
  11. ^ Jack The Ripper (June 16, 2005). "Medal of Honor Airborne - but not on PC". Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Medal of Honor: Airborne E3 2007 Battlefield Interview". GameTrailers. July 12, 2007. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Medal of Honor: Airborne C-47 Audio Capture Trailer". GameTrailers. March 27, 2007. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 
  14. ^ Miller, By Jonathan. "Medal of Honor: Airborne Hands-On". IGN. Retrieved 2016-02-14. 
  15. ^ [3][dead link]
  16. ^ "Medal Of Honor Airborne - Multiplayer Review". After-Hourz Gaming Network. August 1, 2007. Archived from the original on October 27, 2007. 
  17. ^ [4] Archived December 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ Carless, Simon (November 25, 2006). "Medal Of Honor, From Renderware To Unreal Engine". GameSetWatch. Retrieved November 1, 2007. 
  19. ^ a b "Executive Producer Interview". July 20, 2007. Archived from the original on October 27, 2007. Retrieved November 1, 2007. 
  20. ^ Rudedog (April 26, 2007). "Trailer Analysis - Part 4: Man down". FPS Game Forums. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved November 1, 2007. 
  21. ^ Elchlepp, Simon (2007). "Medal of Honor Airborne Original Soundtrack". Game Music Online. Archived from the original on January 11, 2016. Retrieved December 6, 2014. 
  22. ^ [5] Archived December 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ [6][dead link]
  24. ^ Goldwasser, Dan (July 10, 2007). "Michael Giacchino scores Medal of Honor: Airborne". Scoring Sessions. Retrieved December 6, 2014. 
  25. ^ [7] Archived December 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
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  27. ^ a b Bertz, Matt (October 2007). "Medal of Honor: Airborne (PC, X360)". Game Informer (174). Archived from the original on October 19, 2007. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  28. ^ Hurh, JP (September 17, 2007). "Medal of Honor: Airborne Review (X360)". Game Revolution. Net Revolution Inc. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  29. ^ a b c Thomas, Aaron (September 4, 2007). "Medal of Honor: Airborne Review (PC, X360)". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  30. ^ Thomas, Aaron (December 5, 2007). "Medal of Honor: Airborne Review (PS3)". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  31. ^ Accardo, Sal "Sluggo" (September 14, 2007). "GameSpy: Medal of Honor: Airborne (PC)". GameSpy. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  32. ^ Vasconcellos, Eduardo (September 5, 2007). "GameSpy: Medal of Honor: Airborne (X360)". GameSpy. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  33. ^ a b c Adams, Dan (September 4, 2007). "Medal of Honor: Airborne Review (PC, X360)". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  34. ^ Adams, Dan (November 27, 2007). "Medal of Honor: Airborne Review (PS3)". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  35. ^ "Medal of Honor: Airborne". Official Xbox Magazine: 72. October 2007. 
  36. ^ "Medal of Honor: Airborne". PC Gamer: 68. November 2007. 
  37. ^ a b "Medal of Honor: Airborne for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 2, 2012. 
  38. ^ a b "Medal of Honor: Airborne for PlayStation 3 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 2, 2012. 
  39. ^ a b "Medal of Honor: Airborne for Xbox 360 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 2, 2012. 
  40. ^ Moss, Jevan (September 22, 2007). "Medal of Honor: Airborne". Press Start Online. Archived from the original on October 27, 2007. Retrieved November 1, 2007. 
  41. ^ Miller, Jonathan (May 16, 2007). "Medal of Honor: Airborne Interview". IGN. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 

External links[edit]