A PS2 and Wii version was set to be released but was cancelled in 2007. A PlayStation 3 version was released late November 2007.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.
In the single-player mode, the player takes on the role of PFC Boyd Travers, a fictional paratrooper in the US 82nd Airborne Division.Missions include various insertions into Italy, northern France, the Netherlands and Germany, each one beginning with a jump behind enemy lines, and success requiring completion of given objectives.
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 Unreal Engine 3. 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.
In Airborne, the player assumes the role of Private First Class (later promoted to Corporal) Boyd Travers, a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division and later the 17th Airborne Division of the United States Army during World War II. Travers's insertion is into major engagements in Italy, northern France, the Netherlands, and Germany.
The game begins with a training mission, where the player learns how to jump from the plane, among other basic controls.
After the tutorial mission, the player is sent to Sicily in 1943, with a drop into a small walled village called Adanti as part of Operation Husky, the costly Allied invasion of Sicily. It is followed by Operation Avalanche, the invasion of mainland Italy, where Travers is inserted into an operation near the Greek ruins of Paestum.
These ruins were used by the Axis as a staging area to counterattack the advancing Allies from the beaches of Salerno. The 82nd Airborne is then airdropped into France during the morning hours of June 6, 1944 as part of Operation Neptune.
During this, Travers is part of the paratrooper force dropped inland the night to take and hold the 82nd Airborne's goal of Sainte-Mère-Église. Before the Normandy beach invasion to clear the infantry's path into Vichy France. The player is able to see the Utah Beach landings of Operation Overlord while in the air.
Travers then drops into the Netherlands as part of Operation Market Garden, General Montgomery's failed plan to secure routes through the Netherlands enabling a push into Germany. Largely featured is the partly destroyed city of Nijmegen and the attempt to secure the bridge over the Waal River for the Allies.
The game's 2nd to last level takes place during Operation Varsity, which sees Travers parachuting alongside 17,000 soldiers into Germany in the single largest Allied airdrop in history, as the final level depicts a combat jump over a Flak tower,named Der Flakturm in Essen, Germany.
The main gameplay element, which was introduced in Vanguard,and improvised in Airborne, is the paratroop jump. At the start of each mission, the player begins in a C-47 along with fellow soldiers preparing to drop.
The team then jumps out of the plane and parachutes down to the ground, marking the beginning of the mission. During the drop the player is able to freely control where in the field of battle they land; pre-determined drop zones are marked with a green flare, where the player will find their allies and supplies, however they can also choose to land elsewhere,within a small to medium sized map, which affects the way the game is played.
For example, the player could land near the enemy stronghold and come up against heavy opposing firepower, or land on the rooftops with a sniper rifle and choose a stealthy approach to the mission. This free-roaming experience based on unlimited choice of landing spots offers infinite ways of gameplay, ensuring no two matches are alike.
For Playstation 3, the SIXAXIS controller can be used to also determine which way the player leans, being accomplished by tilting the controller forward or backward.[Additionally, unlike previous scripted first-person shooters, the missions in Airborne have no specific start or end point. As the player can land anywhere in the map, beginning the mission where they choose, they can complete the given objectives in any order they wish. The rate at which players become ready for battle depends on their skill at hitting the ground; a poor landing results in notification of a "botched landing", with the player having to spare a few seconds to regain composure.
The other two landings include "Flared Landing" and a "Greased Landing." In addition to this, players can instantly kill an enemy soldier if they land on top of them. The objectives in the missions usually have the player taking down 20 mm Flakvierlings, high-ranked officers, or placing Composition B charges on many different supplies (i.e. ammo caches, a railway gun, Tanks, pressure valves, and cannon cars) for mass destruction.
The player also has to survive many ambush groups and heavy infantry like Panzergrenadiers and Nazi Storm Elite, which are very resilient soldiers in gas masks that carry MG42s. These heavy infantrymen appear in the final two levels of the game.
The first and most critical part of the mission, the jump. Players can choose where in the map they land by steering their parachute.
Airborne uses a health regeneration system similar to one used in Pariah where the health status bar is split into four quarters. If a whole quarter of health is lost, a health pack is needed to replenish it, although if the quarter is not entirely lost it will slowly refill if the player finds cover and rests for a few seconds.
The game also has an unlimited sprinting ability where the player can speed up, however they will not be able to shoot while sprinting. Like other more recent FPS games, Airborne makes use of iron sights, where the player can improve their accuracy by looking down the sights of the weapon. The game's crosshair is dynamic where it will grow larger while the player is running, indicating that firing is less accurate while on the move.
Weapons A wide range of weapons is available in Airborne, such as the Thompson submachine gun and the M1 Garand rifle, which have defined previous Medal of Honor titles.
Grenades can be kicked away, and if one explodes too close, the player experiences blurred vision and shock effects. Players are able to carry two primary weapons(up to 780 rounds), a side-arm, (which are the German Mauser pistol (only after Operation Varsity), and the M1911) and from 21 to 36 grenades (12 frag, 12 stick grenades, 19 Gammon when fully upgraded).
Airborne uses a weapon upgrade system, whereby the player is awarded with add-ons to their selected weapon as they become proficient with it. This feature is based on the idea that not every weapon in World War II was the same as every other one, soldiers had a wide variety of field modifications and upgrades that they could apply to them.
Every weapon in the game can achieve three upgrades e.g. the Thompson SMG evolves to resemble the infamous 1920's gangster weapon of choice "The Tommy Gun" after the addition of a forward pistol grip (for stability), a "Cutts Compensator" to divert the muzzle gas upwards (eliminating muzzle rise during rapid fire) and a drum magazine, increasing ammo holding capacity from 30 to 50. Some upgrades can increase accuracy (by replacing the barrel), increase ammo (by using a Satchel (bag), or even increase the melee effect. When wielding an MP40, the player will pull a dagger for the melee, and for the M12 Shotgun, a bayonet is attached.
Travers will be able to tape magazines together or install a special polished bolt (like on a Karabiner 98k or Springfield 1903) to increase rate of fire. Also less well known weapons are available as upgrades, such as the rifle grenade. A notification appears each time a headshot is performed, the player gains a number of kills in rapid succession, or performs a melee kill, all of which earns the player reward points. Even if the player drops their weapon, any others they pick up of the same type retain the upgrades.
Airborne features a multiplayer mode for online play. Users can play as either the Allies or the Axis on six multiplayer maps, three of which have been adapted from the single player aspect of the game: Operation Husky, Operation Avalanche, and Operation Neptune. The remaining three maps are all adaptations of multiplayer maps from a previous Medal of Honor title, Allied Assault. While the basic design and layout of the maps are the same, they have been decreased in size, to further balance the two teams. These maps are Destroyed Village, Remagen and The Hunt.
Currently there are three gamemodes in Airborne. The first is "airborne deathmatch" where the Axis must defend against the Allies who are dropping in from the sky. The second is "team deathmatch", in which the Allies spawn on the ground instead of jumping from a C-47. In both teammatch modes, the side that gains the most kills after a specified time or frag limit wins. The third gametype is an objective-based mode where players must capture three neutral flags, similar to the main gamemode of Battlefield 2. The middle flag requires two soldiers to be near it, in order to capture it.
The winning team is the one who manages to control the most flags the longest, after a set period of time. There has been some criticism in the MOH community for the lack of a classic non-respawning "objective" gametype, of which many clans and competitive ladders of Allied Assault are based around.While EA has not commented specifically on this gametype, it has been said that all concerns within the community are noticed and those issues will be addressed with future patches.
Registration of an EA account is required in order to play online. Server admins will have the ability to set their servers as ranked or unranked in the future, however only unranked is currently available.The maximum number of players per server is 12 for the Xbox 360 and for PC listen servers, for dedicated servers the number is expected to be much higher, however has not yet been determined. More maps and gametypes have been slated for addition via downloadable content, although a date is unknown.
In an attempt to curb cheating in the multiplayer mode of the game, EA has included Punkbuster with Airborne, and said that they were investigating providing hooks for DMW as well.