Brothers In Arms: Hell’s Highway
- Moving story
- Squads are very easy to manage
- If you haven’t played the other BiA games the story is all but lost on you on the first play-through
- Sometimes squads don’t do what you tell them to
For some reason WWII has always been my favorite genre for first-person shooters. Although, if they made a WWI or Revolutionary War FPS I would probably give it a try. As you get closer to, say, Battlefield 2142 I start to lose interest. Don’t get me wrong, games like Crysis are still great fun, I’d much rather play Battlefield 1942 than Battlefield 2142. So, imagine my happiness when I discovered two WWII-based games coming out this fall. The first being Call of Duty: World At War and this second being Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway. I haven’t played the previous installments but I have the miniseries on DVD. (If you’ve never seen it, I suggest you pick it up because its one of the best shows about WWII I’ve ever seen.) After a few days with BiA I’ve discovered that its an excellent squad-based shooter but experience with the previous games is required to feel anything for the story until the very end.
The game takes place during the disastrous Operation Market Garden in which the allies, led by General Montgomery, attempted a quick liberation of Holland from the Germans on September 17, 1944. The goal of the operation was to open up a pathway into Germany. The push did not go as planned resulting in the creation of another front in the war with the allies mired there through the long cold winter. The Allies suffered between fifteen and seventeen thousand casualties and subsequent German reprisals took a heavy toll on the civilian population. With the historic background and the propensity to make the main characters suffer through the inevitable loss of one another it quickly becomes apparent that this will not be a walk in the park.
You are introduced to the basic controls of the game in the first mission...which actually takes place near the end of the operation (the majority of the game is a flashback...if you miss that fact you are definitely going to be confused). Subsequent missions introduce new game elements in easy-to-digest chunks. You are eventually given control over a number of squads. So far I’ve seen a machine gun squad, an assault squad and a bazooka team. I *think* I will be getting a tank squad in my next mission. Squad control is as simple as cycling through your available teams with the “B” button and ordering them around with the left trigger. Want them to take cover behind that wall? Hold down the left trigger and move the cursor to it then let go. Want them to take out that sniper? Do the same and when the cursor is over the sniper it will turn into a fire command. Its surprisingly easy. your squads will also naturally take cover which cuts down on the micromanagement.
The squad element allows for a lot of strategy. There is a “suppression” mechanic in the game. Enemy squads will have a colored circle over their heads representing how dangerous they are. If the circle is red, you probably should be hiding behind cover. As your squads fire on them, the circle will turn grey representing how suppressed they are. If you can keep them behind cover it will allow you to circle around and flank them. The combination of your machine gun squad (for suppression) and your assault squad (for flanking) is particularly.devastating.
At certain points the game treats you to an Action Cam shot where time slows down and you will get to see your enemies expire in very detailed ways. Score a headshot and you’ll see it in all its glory, throw a grenade into a nest of Germans and watch the body parts fly in all directions. Overall the graphics are very nice though the cutscenes aren’t as smooth as I would like. The sound is excellent.
I have completed the story mode but I have not yet evaluated the multiplayer due to recent stability/connectivity issues with XBOX Live. I trolled the Gearbox forums and looked for comments about it and a good number of people say its fun. At the moment apparently there is only ‘capture the flag’ and some have said that they wish for more modes as in previous titles. Others have mentioned that they’ve experienced a lot of lag. Despite being lost in the cutscenes when they reference events that occurred in previous games, I would give this game a 4 out of 5. Right now I would say this is a solid rental and possibly a good purchase as well because of the potential for quality multiplayer.
Now, because we are friends, I wanted to share one of the game’s secrets with you. There is a way to replace your squad with a squad of sheep! Here is a link that details how to do it: Sheep Squad
What do you think of Brothers In Arms: Hell’s Highway?
Post a review below!
Popular Brothers In Arms: Hell’s Highway Videos
Videos courtesy of GameTrailers.com