Brothers in Arms: Hells Highway

2010-08-11 19:39:21

One thing I must say, out of all the WWII rehashes we have had to experience over the years of video game existance, this is one of my favorites. The Brothers in Arms series has provided us with a great mix of visceral gameplay, strategic NPC command and control, along with a storyline that makes sense and is almost on par with Band of Brothers. If you aren't familiar with Band of Brothers you must be either an alien or someone who hates WWII dramatic retellings, because that show kicked so much ass, course it helped that the actual people they were recreating were there helping them along the way.

Anyway we got the story of Matt and Red as well as their associated troops, marching through WWII from D-Day on to the final victory. This edition takes us through Holland. The same basic rules apply as has applied in the series throughout. You have 2 squads of men(or 1 squad and a tank), and you have to position them behind cover, and order them to fire on those damn dirty germans.

If you have played the first few games you've got all the skills you need to play this game. There is some added items such as some scenes where you control a tank, or snipe from a tower while people are mortaring your position. but otherwise it all feels very similar to the rest. You will grow extremely tired of the repeatly barked orders of "give em hell, hit it with everything you got! Red! Over There!"

The main reason to slug through the game is the story, which has been rich and vibrant throughout the series, if this is your first leap into the fray, you might as well skip it, because there really isn't enough action nor enough detail in the story presented to really carry itself without knowledge of the prior games. You will be in the dark, and you will be bored halfway in of all the generic WWII action.

Graphically the game has definitely gotten a facelift, as moving to a new platform often will. Unfortunately along with this new graphic capability comes some lag in the action, which is unacceptable in this generation of consoles, especially for a title this late in the cycle.

Also a disgrace to the series is the lack of Split Screen action. I fondly remember the days spent after beating the campaign, where I would come home, hang with my brother-in-law, and pop on some split screen. Split screen was a battle of wits, pitting one man and his 2 squads vs another man's 2 squads. Setting up ambushes along important strategic points and retreating when outmanned or outclassed was crucial. It was a FPS, but it was more about logic and tactics. Simply brilliant, was the poor mans FPS Chess. I'm sure you are still able to do these kinds of things online. But once again this game suffers from the drought that is the Xbox 360's array of multiplayer splitscreen support. 

What makes Xbox 360 so inferior compared to its original Xbox older brother? In those days it was a sin to not have split screen support, and now it's shunned unless it is Halo or Gears? I know Xbox Live is the center of the show and has been since Halo 2, but that is no reason to neglect the potential of having a group of friends over to enjoy some same screen content.

Once again corporate greed becomes filtered through a sea of bullshit excuses as to why split-screen was just not doable. Why is it not doable? because Splitscreen doesn't make money. being able to split screen turns a group of 4 potential customers into 1 solid unit playing on 1 console with 1 copy of the game. as opposed to 4 xbox, xbox live, and game sales. the math is simple, but bullshit. If I am able to split screen with my friends I will love the shit of of the game, I won't release the game back into the wild for someone to buy used, and if my friends get a taste and happen to be xbox players(as both of my brother in laws are[thanks to me I'll add]) then they too will buy the games to enjoy when they can't make it by, and hell they might even buy xbox live and play with me online when they are sick or occupied and can't make it into my house.

Apparently I'm a one off scenario compared to the drooling masses. so goodbye splitscreen. you will be missed. Time to grind this game into a fine powder for you all:

Start 10
Great story well told in chapter format +6
Unless you play all the chapters you'll not appreciate it -6
Next iteration of a game that had splitscreen now without it, killing local replayability. -5
Lag due to the enhanced graphics in some scenes in a late tier release. -2
Finish 3/10

I'll say 3/10, a game that isn't total garbage if you've been following along, but if you are just jumping in this game really can't stand apart from generic vanilla shooter on it's own. If you are just now starting on the series, pick up the first of the series, not this game, you'll thank me later.