When I first read of EA’s latest Medal Of Honor instalment, Airborne, I thought it seemed like a blast of fresh air, simply due to its basic approach of ditching the scripted tunnel you run through in most first person shooters, and opting for a freedom for the player to choose how he wants to approach the level. That is, by airdropping wherever he wants to in the level.
Watch the “Land anywhere” trailer on the Airborne site, it really brings it home. I imagine the replay value will be huge.
The idea is not new at all. But it’s been so long since Microprose’s Airborne Ranger – twenty years, in fact – that I had all but forgotten about it, probably because I don’t know of any game since that had taken the same approach. Airborne Ranger was really something else. It crated levels randomly, let you make equipment drops into them, and then have the player parachute in, deep behind enemy lines. At the time, it felt like a soldier simulator. I remember it being perhaps the first game with a core mechanic much like the modern military stealth titles. I played it far too much.
Well, it’s due time the parachuting soldier was revisited. I have never been interested in a Medal Of Honor title, but this does sound good. In Edge’s preview it sounds like they aren’t restricting the player’s approach in any way, although of course it will be easier to drop into a hidden corner and not right into the German strongholds.
Are videogames worryingly samey if removing a single restriction from a game can make the experience seem very fresh? I’m not sure, but let’s just say Airborne sounds more interesting than the last few Clancy titles put together, and I consider myself a Ghost Recon fan.