First Impressions: Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway

Filed under: , , by: Grundy the Man

Once again I venture into the tired genre known as World War II shooters. If you count my time in the Call of Duty: World at War Beta, my entire weeks worth of gaming has consisted of World War II and plastic guitars. I am sure you can take a guess at which I am enjoying more... Irregardless, Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway has been receiving some pretty favorable reviews, so I figured I might as well check out what all the fuss was about.

For the third installment in the Brothers in Arms series, you are once again placed in the shoes of Staff Sargent, Matt Baker. This time around, you are in control of more members of the 101st Airborne Division, surging toward victory in Operation Market Garden. Complete with flashbacks and hallucinations, you will be forced to relive some Baker's most painful memories from the war, while still acting as a strong leader to the rest of your team.

So far, the story of the game has been told through cinematic cutscenes that bookend the beginning and end of each mission. This establishes a very linear mission structure, that thus far has driven the game towards mediocrity, instead of the promise that it has shown in the past. Baker's strong bond with his men, also seems to have suffered in this installment. The development time was instead focused on adding a tangible destructibility to the environments.

Sure, maybe one of my regiments are pinned down from an opposing force. What motivation do I have to save those characters? When these men are left to die, I feel nothing, because I know at the end of the mission that they will respawn and be right back to normal. Personally I believe that this was definitely the wrong decision to make. Instead, the focus should have been on making you want to save these people, because they are your brothers... your brothers in arms. Yes, that screeching sound you're hearing is a rambling paragraph, coming full circle.

Though most things have stayed the same in the Brothers in Arms universe, the most recent installment pushes for a level of violence and realism that had been nonexistent in the past. Under most circumstances, it would not be odd to see a decapitation, loss of a limb and ridiculous splatter effect, all from the same cutscene. I can only assume that the developer went over the top in an effort to drive home the realities of the cost of war.

If you are still interested in the game, stay tunes for the full review coming soon.

In the meantime, check out the trailer for Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway below: