Published by Ubisoft
Developed by Gearbox Software
Release Date: Out Now
Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30, an introduction.
World War II FPS games have become phenomenally popular
over the last few years. Games such as Medal of Honor:
Allied Assault, Call of Duty and Battlefield 1942 are just
three games that have proved to be big successes. Brothers
in Arms: Road to Hill 30 is the latest World War II shooter
to be released. Of course it's difficult for any FPS to
stand out with the wealth of titles in the genre on the
PC but when the FPS is a World War II based one it's even
more difficult. Does Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30
have what it takes to make an impression on the genre?
What's the game about?
Brothers in Arms puts you in the shoes of Sergeant Mat
Baker who is part of The 101 st Airborne Division. Baker
and his men have been dropped into France just before D-Day.
The game includes a single-player campaign and a multiplayer
mode (LAN and Internet) that allows for 2 to 4 players.
The single player campaign is very enjoyable and isn't
your typical FPS experience. The emphasis is on flanking
and suppressing your enemies rather than just an outright
assault. The game also gives you a few new concepts to
deal with (which we will mention in a moment). The multiplayer
game is object based with one team attempting to defend
a target whilst the other team attempt to destroy it by
various methods. In short Brothers in Arms should be a
big hit with fans of World War II FPS games.
What's good about the game?
Brother in Arms isn't just a straight forward FPS. Games
such as Call of Duty and Medal of Honor are in many ways
an 'on the rails' experience in that you follow one linear
path from the beginning to the end. There's very little
room for actually using thought in these games, although
they are both excellent in their own way. Brothers in Arms
attempts to makes you stop and think. Go in all guns blazing
and you're likely to get shot to a bloody pulp in no time.
To survive in this game you'll have to make use of your
surroundings and use a strategy. Seemingly impossible sections
of the game can be made very manageable if you take the
time to plan before your assault the enemy. To this end
you have the Situational Awareness View (activated by pressing
the V key). The SAV will automatically pause the game (it
doesn't pause the game in multiplayer games though) and
allow you to formulate a plan by giving you a raised viewpoint
that enables you to see your immediate surroundings more
We said earlier that the key to Brothers in Arms is to
flank your enemies and suppress them. The SAV allows you
to see the immediate terrain around you as well as the
locations of your men and those of the enemies you've already
spotted. From this view you can usually pick out a less
hazardous route, avoiding machine guns and such like, and
effectively suppress your enemy. It's not often that new
features in a FPS make such a difference but the SAV is
a great inclusion and really makes the game feel different.
Controlling your men is also straightforward thanks to
a well thought out control scheme. You can control different
teams with a combination of a few keys and the mouse buttons
and it's a method that works surprisingly well.
What's not so good about the game?
What will probably irk PC gamers is the checkpoint save
system. PC gamers are used to tapping a quicksave button
every so often so if they come unstuck there's never too
much to replay. Brothers in Arms does not allow this and
instead you have a console style checkpoint system. To
be fair though the checkpoints are never too far apart
but if you are playing on the higher difficulty settings
(particularly the authentic mode) there are moments when
the gaps between checkpoints can seem huge. Load times
between missions can also be a bit on the lengthy side
but this isn't really a problem as such.
How does it look?
Brothers in Arms is probably the finest looking World
War II based FPS to date. The character and terrain graphics
are both impressive and will test even the strongest of
PC configurations. Running the game at 1280x1024 we were
surprised to the game averaged around 32fps. I say surprised
because despite this seemingly low frame rate the game
remained smooth with only the odd stutter during the big
explosions. It is obvious that the developers spent a lot
of time in trying to make the game as realistic as the
current PC hardware will allow. Everything from the lush
tall grass to the massive explosions and battles looks
great and it's not often that a PC game that is also released
on the consoles looks this good.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
Subtitles can be enabled for Brothers in Arms and once
they are you shouldn't have any problems. The tutorial
is subtitled so you'll be able to get an idea of how to
play the game. All the dialogue that carries the story
forward is subtitled (apart from in the tutorials the subtitles
are displayed in white text on top of a dark overlay for
maximum clarity) so you'll be able to follow the story
too which is great. Conversations between Baker and his
comrades are also shown in text. Objectives are shown in
text and on the SAV and can be recalled at any time. Occasionally
you'll encounter enemies and their comments aren't subtitled
but this isn't really much of a problem. The game uses
a nice amount of icons, such as the command ring and the
suppression indicators, to convey information and the game
manual explains what the icons mean (as does the tutorial)
so you'll have no problems understanding them.
With the amount of World War II shooters we have seen
over the past few years it's easy to become blasé about
other titles stepping into the genre. Brothers in Arms: Road
to Hill 30 is sufficiently different to warrant your attention
though and it has a unique feel to it which is impressive
given the amount of titles covering this period. The SAV
and command ring control system really work well and let
you feel like you're issuing the orders instead of simply
attempting to run through countless enemies. We should also
mention that the AI of your team-mates in carrying out these
orders is also impressive and they also know when to use
their initiative which is something you don't see that often.
Gearbox Software have created a great game in Brothers in
Arms: Road to Hill 30 and it's one that we hope spawns a
Overall Game Rating:
Deaf Gamers Classification
(Click here for
It was always going to be
difficult for a World War II based FPS to stand out on
the PC. Brothers in Arms has enough innovation and quality
to do just that though and thankfully it's also a game
that deaf gamers can enjoy.