Genre: First Person Shooter Developer: Gearbox Software Publisher: Ubisoft Classification: MA15+ Release Date: 31st Dec 2007 Platforms:PS3
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The Good bits
Tactical gameplay works – most of the time.
The Bad stuff
The AI falls down pretty hard sometimes – and at some of the worst times.
Unlearning habits from other console First Person Shooters and learning brand new controls is tough. Perhaps too tough.
The parallels between Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway and the blockbuster Metal Gear Solid 4 are clear. Both games have amazing stories (well, in my opinion at least), both games have outstanding graphics and both MGS4 and the third title in the Brothers in Arms series share the same fatal flaw - the controls are really difficult to get used to.
It's not specifically BiA's fault that the controls are a hurdle however. Gearbox Software has only 16 buttons to give the player with a method for controlling the tactical environment around them - and this includes managing multiple squads. Meanwhile your average first person shooter player - say someone who has played Call of Duty 4 on their PlayStation 3 - will be accustomed to these buttons being used to control just one thing. The player character.
Getting used to the "Left Trigger issues squad commands" style of gameplay can take some getting used to as a result. Especially on the PlayStation 3, where the trigger is easy to knock - until I deliberately concentrated on not leaving my hands near the LT I sent my currently selected squad onto the enemy a dozen times. Unfortunately for BiA holding the control pad without touching the LT can get tiresome.
Even before you're over this learning curve you will find yourself enthralled with the visuals and the way the story is told. As the third instalment in a series based on its story and squad combat, Brothers in Arms places high emphasis on the characters you play with.
The game even begins with an amazing "Previously on Brothers in Arms" video reel, where scenes from the previous game take place using the games new graphics. The game is geared towards developing a connection between you and the soldiers you fight with - they have names and back stories, and you’ll find yourself wanting your men to live for reasons other than retaining tactical superiority.
The game is probably the best use of the Unreal Engine 3 I’ve ever seen – the graphics are absolutely stunning. Cut-scenes are beautiful, with wonderfully rendered faces and animations. In-game the maps are atmospheric and lifelike – not half because they’re based on the actual locations they represent.
They're not the only ones who are blown away.
The real draw in the looks department for BiA: HH is the eye-opening gore system. The first time you watch an enemy literally rip apart after being at ground zero of an explosive round is jaw dropping – and it never lets up. The game knows you want to see this too – it zooms right in on these kills to give you the visceral details.
There’s a reason this game isn’t getting quite the same acclaim as Metal Gear Solid 4. Apart from the fact that BiA lacks a rabid fan-base, it also encounters a few other issues. The AI in the game is somewhat stupid. Your teammates will occasionally make tactically poor decisions – when moving to a corner they might cover the wrong side, or they might cover a doorway by pressing hard against an open window… while enemies are clearly inside.
The opposition isn’t always that much better. While it’s satisfying to see a bunch of Nazis cut down while taking cover three metres from a concrete wall, it’s not as realistic as the event strives for.
Squad AI and enemy AI are huge issues in a game like BiA: HH. Nevertheless, any World War II nut would be insane not to get this. If you’ve ever watched the Band of Brothers series, Brothers in Arms Hell’s Highway is a must play – if only to draw the parallels between the two.
The last thing I really would have liked to see is some squad-based multi-player. The mode the game comes with is sort of a basic First-Person Shooter mode, but I think an excellent addition to the game could have been a smaller, four player tactical mode where you control squads – like you do in the single player game.
You could take your squad into a zone, set up firing lines, suppress the enemy and attempt to flank them – all while controlling the squad leader. Still, BiA is largely a single-player experience, and the multiplayer the game does have you choose a server – none of that annoying game matching.
The game has two main targets in sight – people who like hardcore, realistic tactical shooters and people who like World War II. While the latter group will get more out of the game than the former, there’s still enough intelligent design, still enough realism to appeal to both equally.
If you fall into either aforementioned group and you can give the game more than just a cursory play, you will adapt to the controls and find yourself mesmerised by World War II shooters all over again. If having to relearn how you play a console shooter isn’t worth the time for you, skip Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway – but be warned… You’re missing out on one of the more atmospheric shooters of the year.
Overall a great single player game with awesome graphics and story line, but multi player lets it down due to the stratigic side of the multi player game it is a very slow paced game and due to the fact u cant respawn untill the end of the round and if u get killed within the first couple of minutes u could be waiting up to 5 minutes for the round to end before u get to play again also in multi there is no option to change the map for the next game so this can be annoying 2 overall great WW2 single player game multi player might need a few patch's for it to match up 7 out of 10