Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30
A bullet nearly hits me. The image gets blurry, I can’t move anymore. A high monotone beep makes me slightly deaf. I look around and see how my men are having a hard time defending my life from the “Krauts”. Slowly I regenerate my powers. The image gets clearer and the monotone beeping is replaced for gunshots, yelling and huge flying bombers. Dropped back into the compelling war atmosphere…
BIA is a first person World War Two shooter with a huge level of realism. The game will grab and drop you into the typical war life your old grandpa keeps talking about, much to your dislike. Aside from this realistic setting it also gives you a feeling of commitment. In the beginning of the game you’ll still have to follow the orders of your chief but later on you’ll get the control of a full team of three soldiers and believe me: you’ll do anything to keep them alive. BIA mostly revolves around these emotions. Before you start a mission it’s always fun to just stare at your team mates. They’ll often be very confident about themselves and start bragging about how many Germans they’ll be killing later on. But when times get tough they get all “wussy” on you and you’ll see the fear in their faces. It’s of course your responsibility to keep those men alive.
To keep those poor souls alive you get a number of commands. In the beginning you’ll only have one team under your command. This assault team is mostly used to suppress the enemy while you flank the bastards. The system that Gearbox has developed is really ideal. By moving your right stick you’ll see an arrow that indicates where your squadmembers should go. By aiming the arrow at the German troops, your team mates will start suppressing them by pumping out all the ammo they’ve got. A small circle indicates how well they’re doing. If the circle is totally grey this means your men are doing well since the Germans don’t have the time to answer to the firing giving you the time to flank that enemy. Later on you’ll also get the control of a flanking team making it possible for you to just order your troops and watch them fulfil your commands. This however isn’t nearly as fun as joining the action yourself. It’s the most fun when you know you’ve got the Krauts heavily outnumbered. One simple command will make your whole team rush the enemy, running and shooting until the enemy drops to the floor.
In more hectic situations you can choose for the situational overview. The game will pause and you’ll have all time planning the right strategy by looking at the location of the Germans and finding the right side for flanking. If you think you can simply run at your enemies like in most FPS, your dead wrong. Aiming isn’t easy in BIA so you’ll have to plan your strategy thoroughly. Satisfaction guaranteed if the strategy works. The balance between strategy and action is really well done in Brothers in Arms.
This is mainly due to the incredible AI of the enemies as well as your team mates. Your soldiers will always seek cover, no matter where you force them to go and once a German troop will start firing, they’ll immediately respond by firing back. The enemy does also have a nice pair of artificial brains. They will keep cover until you get nearer. When the time is right they’ll start shooting. If they do know your outnumbered, they’ll start rushing to and the only thing that works is running and seeking save cover because those enemies are really crafty with their guns.
When you’re tired of the single player, which I can hardly imagine, you can go online with Xbox Live. The difference with other online FPS is that the stress in BIA is definitely more on the strategy part than in other FPS. You can set up games from two to four players. These will mainly consist of planting a bomb and dismantle one, depending on your team choice. If you don’t have Xbox Live you can always try battling your friend in the two player split screen mode. The strategy part however is a lot less apparent as you’ll exactly see where your friend is hiding. Personally I think BIA is best in single player. It’s just much more of an experience with the compelling storyline that you’ll have to miss in the multiplayer.
Great gameplay like this has to be supported by a great engine and Gearbox doesn’t disappoint at all. From the rippling rivers to the little French houses; everything breaths that typical war atmosphere. The game also boasts some really memorable gameplay moments that, thanks to the lush graphics, tend to be remembered for days. The sound is even better. Everything sounds incredibly realistic and the lack of a musical score makes the atmosphere even more compelling. Add this up with the believable German that’s often shouted throughout the killing fields and you’re sure your ears will get what they deserve.
Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 is without a doubt the best WWII shooter on any gaming platform. The combination of strategic and more action driven gameplay is very breathtaking and the images and sounds really get you in the proper war mood. This is a big recommendation for any Xbox gamer, if only you want to test my introduction in the game.