Brothers In Arms Hell's Highway User Review
- Just Right
- Time Spent:
- 10 to 20 Hours
- The Bottom Line:
- "Instant classic"
Whatever happens, WWII was, is & will always be one of the most exploited times in videogames...strategy, shooters...whatever. It wouldn't surprise me if there would be a racing game taking place during WWII. Anyways, that's not the point. Even though there are a hell lot of first pirson shooters taking place in WWII, the tactical ones are few, the most remarkable being the Brothers in Arms & Hidden & Dangerous series. The newest addition to the series is Brothers in Arms- Hell's Highway, the much anticipated sequel, which impressed me so deeply to say that it's the best WWII shooter ever made. But let's find out how I reached that conclusion.
Brothers in Arms Hell's Highway is set into just one WWII operation, & that's Operation Market Garden in Holland, by '44. It's nice that there is only one operation cause this way the producers managed to stay more focused on it. As we know from the history books, Operation Market Garden was the largest airborne invasion & also a great failure for the Allies. And that's what I totally like about it:it's not the typical "Americans fight hard & win by the end" kind of game. Americans die, British die, Nazis finally win. It's a vision with no compromises, & they also say it is inspired from real events, characters & locations. I can't verify that but it might be true. To make it short, it's the story of an airborne division, lead by Matt Baker, your character (also your caracter in the first game, Brothers in Arms-Road to Hill 30), Red Hartsock (the main character in the second game, Brothers in Arms-Earned in Blood), & also some other old characters like Paddock, Corrion or new guys such as Franky. The one thing that separated the Brothers in Arms series from all the other war shooters is the characters. They have their life which is sweet for them, they all have their own way of thinking & acting, their own feelings. They're people with personality, not just the random soldiers who shoot nazis & eventually die. Some really great cinematics between chapters present the soldiers' lifes when they're not fighting: they tell jokes, laugh, think of back home & their loved ones, smoke a cigar, make fun of someone, have their own thoughts & worries...& that makes it seem so real. The storyline is related with the previous Brothers in Arms games, so you would have a better experience if you've played the before. But there are flashbacks presenting those certain moments, so don't worry about it. All in all the story in Brothers in Arms Hell's Highway is easily one of the best in the genre, only beaten by the masterful scenery from Bioshock.
As I said before, Brothers in Arms Hell's Highway is a tactical FPS. It's very similar to its predecesors but you could easily compare its sistem with Rainbow Six Vegas or even Gears of War. Starting with the guns, you have three cathegories you can carry: an automatic rifle (tommy gun, mp40, you say them...), a rifle or sniper rifle & the faithful pistol (it really is a story behind that damned gun, you'll find it out). While automatics rifles work well when fighting in interiors, short distance or when flanking supressed enemies, the rifle or the sniper rifle is always the option for a precise long-distance shot. I also love to use the pistol when I have to finish off one or two supressed enemies...it's great fun. Now to tell you about how the tactics work in Hell's Highway...it's simple enough to master it in no time. You'll almost always have two squads of the four types: assault, MG, main squad & bazooka team. When encountering enemies you'll need to send them to cover: you cycle between them by presing the TAB button, you point them where to go with a right click, releasing it to send them there. Then you go yourself to cover by pressin "Q" when behind any solid object. Yep, exacly as in Gears of War, but here the physics also come into play, so a cover like a wooden fence won't be a cover anymore after exposed to fire. Now the MG team is great for supressing the germans, maybe killing some of them in the process. What is this supressing thing? From time to time ,they pop out of cover & fire a few rounds. Now if exposed to constant fire, they won't dare to do that anymore. So now you can easily send your assault team sideways to flank them & finish them off, or you can choose to go yourself. If you've played the previous game you'll know the indicators: a red circle above each opponent, which turns white if he gets supressed. So see it's very simple...you'll get trough most of the confrontations by applying this strategy. However there are moments when the enemies totally have the tactical advantage & if you'll immediatly try to flank you'll be taken out by other squads, an emplaced MG or even a flak cannon or a tank. The game also provides you with a tactical map which you can study & plan your attack. Let's say you keep an assault squad supressed while your assault team keeps the emplacement under fire. You then order your bazooka team to take a shot at the emplaced MG, & without getting hurt you dispose of them. Then with the help of the assault team you dispose of the enemy teams, & finally use them to lure the flak cannon, while you flank them with the bazooka team & destroy it. There are of course more ways of doing all this, you just need to be inventive. The tanks are a really dumb cathegory unfortunatelly. They just move on the same route & try to shoot you. You can try to lure them & use the bazooka team to flank them or shoot their rear side, but I say don't bother, there is a much easier way. You just blindly run to them, place a C4 & run like hell back. Job done, enjoy the fireworks. Most of the time, the AI is embarassing. I really don't know why today, with the total exception of FEAR & Bioshock, the AI in FPS games is totally embarasing (see the fresh FarCry 2 for another extreme example of "intelligence"). The germans are totally stupid, they sometimes stand in line & just look at you before realising that they have to shoot you. There are some few moments when they get a little smarter but that doesn't happen too often. Your guys know to get to cover even if you don't tell them & that's nice. They also act more intelligently then the enemies, but they sometimes have dumb moments as well. For instance, my bazooka team just stood near a wall while jerry was shooting at them, they responded to my orders but just wouldn't move. Oh well... I almost forgot to tell you about the sections where you get to drive a tank. It's totally awesome & simple alike, you just have to fire the main cannon with the LMB & the machine gun with RMB. And you can also blow the hell out of buildings...hell yeah! The solo sections mainly take place indoors, it will be just you, your guns & the germans. Use cover & it will be a peace of cake...fun cake, that is!
For the visual side of Brothers in Arms Hell's Highway, Unreal Engine 3 is the hero. I'd say it's the best implemented in this game. The exteriors really look fantastic. That Holland landscape, with those fields with tall grass, flowers & windmills, with the specific arhitecture...all buil up in the finest of details. I really can't decribe how awesome everything looks, you'll have to see it for yourself. The apparent visual problem would be the interiors, which don't look that nice at all. Quite low-res textures, lack of fine details...mayne this part was a bit rushed,who knows? Fortunatelly it's not that much of a problem, because you mainly fight outside. And also, the deserted hospital interior by the end of the game looks fantastic & also quite depressing & scary, managing to remind me of FEAR, with its long, deserted corridors, with a broken wheelchair in the middle... One other bad thing about Hell's Highway is that the fire looks...horrible. Really. What a pity... Anyways, saving the best for last, it's the GORE!!! Most of the WWII games barely had blood, what to say about gore? Which is totally stupid, because war is horrible thing & should be illustrated accordingly in order to really describe it. And that's what Brothers in Arms Hell's Highway does, & it does it with style. Sometimes, when you manage to get a headshot, a killcam interfeers, showing in slow motion how the nazi is hit, blood flows from his head & part of his skull dismembers. Or with a well placed grenade you can see body parts flying all over...a hand here, a leg there, half a body there. This feature really contributes to the overall atmosphere.
The audio in Hell's Highway is also high quality. The environmental sounds, gunshots, explosions sound incredibly realistic & really make you feel there, in the middle of the battlefield. The music is also remarkably well chosen & greatly boosts the war feeling. But maybe the best thing about this game's sound is the voice acting: clearly done by proffesionals, they really manage to express their feelings trough their tonality. Matt's speeches are profond & great, Corrion's bad language & yells always add a bit of fun into everything...it's awesome. If I try to find a bad part into all this, it's amybe just the germans voices, which are a bit annoying, cause some lines are clearly repeated for too many times. But it's no big deal, trust me, you'll surely ignore that.
All in all, Brothers in Arms Hell's Highway is an excellent game, & you can't call yourself a FPS addict if you don't play it. Not only is it the best game in the series...it is also quite clearly the best tactical shooter ever released ,the best WWII shooter ever made & one of the best shooters of all time. It managed to get in my FPS Hall of Fame, alongside STALKER-Shadow of Chernobyl, Bioshock, Call of Juarez & Half Life 2. To make it clear: buy this game, it's totally worth it!
More User Reviews
- Player Reviews: 129
- Game Universe:
- Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 (PC, XBOX, PS2, MAC),
- Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway (PS3, X360, PC),
- Brothers in Arms: Double Time (WII, MAC),
- Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 (X360, PS3, PC),
- Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood (PC, XBOX, PS2, MOBILE, MAC),
- Brothers in Arms: Complete Collection (PC),
- Brothers In Arms DS (DS),
- Brothers in Arms: D-Day (PSP)
- Number of Players:
- Number of Online Players:
24 Players Online
Brothers In Arms Hell's Navigation