It seems you can't read a preview or review of a World War II-based FPS without hearing about how many games there are in the genre. With good reason, too--it's a crowded one. But just because there are a lot of them doesn't mean there can't be some good ones. Medal of Honor: Airborne is one such game. It starts off really slow, and the whole parachuting hook is little more than a gimmick; but later on the game realizes its potential and gets good.
There's not much of a story to Airborne. It's WWII; Nazis need killing and the world needs saving. You're in the Airborne division, so you'll be jumping out of planes and doing your part to swing the war in the Allies' favor. Before each mission you're given a brief rundown on what's going on and list of objectives to accomplish. Rather than spawning on the battlefield you'll arrive in style by parachuting out of a plane. As you fall to the ground you'll want to maneuver toward green smoke, which indicates a safe landing zone. In theory, parachuting into the level is supposed to open up a whole new style of play. You're free to land wherever you want, but invisible walls prevent you from getting too clever, and nine times out of 10, when you do land somewhere other than the safe zone you'll end up dead in a matter of seconds. There are some special landing zones to discover and sometimes these areas will provide you with an advantageous starting point, but because you find most of these locations when you're already on the ground, they're of little use.
Once on the ground you'll take on waves of Axis soldiers over the course of the game's six levels. Six levels might not sound like a lot, but each generally takes an hour or more to complete, so it'll probably take most people around eight hours to finish the game. Your objectives are shown on your radar and you're free to tackle them in whatever order you choose. Between choosing your starting location and being able to pick what to take on first it might sound like there's a lot of freedom here, but there's really not--you can't start from many different places, and you have to do the same tasks regardless of the order you start them. Mission objectives range from blowing up AA guns to clearing buildings of enemy soldiers, taking out tanks, and detonating lots of explosives. On their own these tasks aren't anything unique, but because the levels are so long and feature so many objectives you often feel as though you're performing monumental feats rather than routine tasks.
The first three levels aren't very interesting. They're fairly linear, take place in unexciting settings, and don't play to the game's strengths. Starting with the fourth level the game picks up since you're given more freedom as to how you want to tackle the levels. You might decide to climb towers to take out snipers (their position is given away by a reflection off their scope), clear the area of ground troops, and then make your way into a building, while a different player might head to the building first, clear the ground troups second, and hide from the snipers rather than kill them. The game's artificial intelligence isn't very good, but at least it's aggressive. You can pick off guys as they peek around corners, but they won't just take it lying down. They'll spray bullets in your direction without looking, and they're rather fond of blindly tossing grenades over their backs. If you get too close or they get some reinforcements, enemy soldiers will charge right at you and inflict serious damage until you can fend them off with your weak melee attacks.