STAFF REVIEW of Brothers In Arms Road To Hill 30 (Xbox)

Tuesday, March 8, 2005.

Brothers In Arms Road To Hill 30 Box art ?Brothers in Arms: World War II Evolved.? Sounds catchier than ?Road to Hill 30,? doesn?t it? If not, at least the title is very appropriate. Brothers in Arms is one in a handful of quality squad-based tactical shooters that Xbox gamers are well aware of. Only now, Gearbox uses the ?grab ?em by the nose and kick ?em in the ass? maneuver on the rest of the World War II genre. In layman?s terms: Brothers in Arms isn?t just the World War II game of the year, but it is quite possibly the best World War II game ever.

You begin your extremely authentic adventure as one of the many 101st and 82nd airborne soldiers. You are Sergeant Matt Baker, one who apparently ?didn?t ask to be squad leader.? Too bad (for Baker) the role of squad leader is so much fun! Your duty entails that you and your squad complete a series of objectives that span from the Normandy invasion ?D-Day? to the aforementioned Hill 30, or Carentan. Gearbox definitely achieved their goal of not only historical authenticity, but battle authenticity as well. Everything from accurate landscapes to genuine World War II military tactics are masterly crafted.

Now let?s not get carried away; Brothers in Arms is a First Person Shooter. The shooter aspect of this game is spot on. To those of you who have played Activision?s Call of Duty, Brothers in Arms will be somewhat similar, especially in the adopted iron sight usage. An ?iron sight? is used when one looks down a gun?s built-in aiming peripherals, instead of relying on the imaginary crosshairs common in other games. Crosshairs can be toggled on or off, but keep in mind, your fire won?t be as accurate when you?re not looking down your sight. Unlike Rainbow Six 3, Brothers in Arms has realistic firearm mechanics. Well? mostly. The only inaccuracy in the firearm aspect is the ability to swap out rounds in a magazine so freely. The M1 Garand can only be reloaded when the pin snaps off (which is when the magazine is empty), but that?s not the case in Brothers in Arms. In contrast, the recoil is very realistic (instead of randomly hitting anywhere ala RS3), therefore players will quickly learn that shooting in short bursts or in a semi-automatic fashion will increase your chances of survival. Your stances also play a large part in whether or not your bullet hits home. While running, one cannot switch to his iron sight for accurate aiming. Doing so will cancel the player?s run and shift him into a steady walk. After movement the iron sight continues to waver for a few seconds, but even afterward the gun will continue to slowly shake. When crouched, accuracy is obviously maximized. This is a feature that is partially apparent in games like Counter-Strike.

To continue a certain trend- Brothers in Arms is also squad-based. Although I?d like to argue, in order to fulfill World War II authenticity, this feature is required (rather than being ripped off from games like Full Spectrum Warrior or Rainbow Six). In any case, you command two squads: a fire team- armed to the teeth with a BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) and an M1 Garand rifle, and an assault team- equipped with a Thompson sub-machine gun and a Colt .45 pistol. Your fire team is used to establish a ?base of fire,? which suppresses the enemy and allows for your assault team to maneuver with relative ease. As in World War II, this ?movement under a base of fire? is vital for survival and greatly pays off when emulated in Brothers in Arms. You can give a series of orders to your squad: fall back/find cover, regroup/follow, move, suppress/attack, and charge. However, do not assume that you must give an order to your team to make them move intelligently. When engaged, your team?s AI is smart enough to find cover and return fire. However, it is usually up to you to maneuver and flank (find an exposed area in the enemy?s cover and exploit it) the enemy.

In Gearbox?s pursuit for authenticity, they got down to the nitty-gritty aspects of being a soldier. War is not fun, only when it?s in a video game, but soldiers generally do not like war. \"Friends and family kill or get killed\" in battle, and sometimes in the most gruesome ways imaginable. In Brothers in Arms, nothing is censored. Teammates openly drop F-bombs and other curses to show they are stressed. When explosives go off, like in real life, body parts may not stay intact. Dismemberment is very well present in this game; anything from an arm, a leg, or both legs can be blasted off. When a bullet hits dirt, mud can splash up on your face. When you?re hit, blood sprays onto your screen. Unlike Halo, it only takes a few shots to put you, or the enemy, down. A nice addition Gearbox invented is the ability to be hit, but not really. A bullet may whiz by your head, but the screen blurs, the controller vibrates, and a puff of smoke appears where the bullet came from. I?d like to see more of this feature because it?s a nice way to be realistically shot at and get hit without really getting hit (like in action movies).

The multiplayer portion of Brothers in Arms is fun, to say the least. The game allows 2 to 4 players to engage in an Axis vs. Allies match. A certain amount of time is allotted for one team to fulfill its objective. When time runs out, or a team?s reinforcements are depleted, a victor is declared. A few major gripes: Xbox Live/multiplayer lacks variety, players can literally run around the map and be impossible to hit (may be a glitch?), and the load times to get back to the lobby are excruciating. After every game, the lobby has to reload, why isn?t there a ?rematch? option? Xbox Live can be really fun when playing with people you know, especially if lag is not an issue.

Graphically, I?m hardly impressed. Textures look awful and there are infrequent framerate drops. I?m assuming the PS2 port is the culprit (as for the framerate drop, no idea). The character models are superb, however, as well as the weapon models (they?re better than those of Call of Duty). Particle effects get a thumbs up. If this is what it looked like on PC, I\'d rate it much lower, but in comparison to other Xbox games, not bad at all.

A neat aspect, one that I haven?t seen since the days of Doom 2, is that when your teammates are hit a portrait of their face appears showing their health. As they worsen in condition, the portrait gets bloodier and bloodier. It?s a neat little feature, but in real life, you do not see how much health Billy lost when he got his wisdom teeth pulled. Another neat - but unrealistic- feature is the suppression meter (which can also be toggled on or off). When an enemy appears, a red circle appears over their head. As you or your squad fires at the enemy, the meter will diminish. When it is completely depleted, it will begin to recharge, in a sense, and when fully charged, the enemy is ready to return fire. Not only does this let the player know exactly where the enemy is at all times, but soldiers don?t have the luxury of knowing if the enemy is suppressed or not in the first place.

The soundtrack induces a ?Band of Brothers? like feel. Emotional or hopeful orchestrated music is very appropriate. Voice acting is better than text boxes, so I?m not about to complain. The sound of the weapons is very nice, but a few are unrealistic (the mp40, for example, is extremely unconvincing).

The controls are basically like Halo?s, which means many people will be able to pick this up pretty quickly. But, just because you can pick up 200lbs doesn?t mean you can walk around with it (some may find the aiming scheme difficult). You can issue orders with the L-trigger, and the D-pad is used to issue follow, and find cover orders as well as switch between squads. The white button also switches between squads, and the black button throws a grenade. One new very welcomed feature is ?situational awareness,? which can be called up using the ?back? button. During situational awareness, the player?s view is pulled out of the body of Matt Baker enabling him to observe his surroundings. Gearbox explains this as their way of you knowing the terrain without studying aerial reconnaissance, like the 101st and 82nd airborne did.

All in all, Brothers in Arms is a step up from normal World War II games. The first I?ve seen to break the traditional WWII game cast. Flaws aside, Brothers in Arms is the best darn WWII game I?ve ever had the pleasure to experience. Now get out there soldier and pick this one up, that?s an order.

- Enable both \"rematch\" and \"disable cross-hair\" options for online play.

- When trying to be authentic, go the whole nine yards, not eight and a half. I\'m just picky.

Overall: 9.6 / 10
Gameplay: 9.8 / 10
Visuals: 9.2 / 10
Sound: 9.6 / 10


Site Statistics

Registered Members: 43,988
Forum Posts: 725,150
Xbox One Titles: 657
Xbox 360 Titles: 1,084
Xbox 360 Kinect Titles: 95
Xbox 360 Arcade Titles: 583
Xbox Titles: 847
Staff Reviews: 1,449
Member Reviews: 10,339
News Articles: 13,093
Screenshots: 28,876
Xbox 360 Achievements: 45,112
Xbox 360 Faceplates: 2,016
Cheat Codes: 1,706

Latest News

See News Archives

Community Forum Activity

Post by oryanphine
0 Replies, 25 Views

Games with Gold for November - Count me in
Post by TheOutcast-XBA
3 Replies, 83 Views

Xbox One Edition Limitee Borderlands The Handsome Collection
Post by oryanphine
1 Replies, 56 Views

Xbox One Edition Limitee et controllers
Post by oryanphine
3 Replies, 85 Views

GOW 4 Horde Credit and XP Earn Rate Updates
Post by Nato King
1 Replies, 89 Views

Post by Nato King
1 Replies, 80 Views

Red Dead Redemption 2 releasing Fall 2017
Post by Nato King
5 Replies, 141 Views

Xbox One S Protoype Zebra
Post by oryanphine
3 Replies, 182 Views

Xbox One South Korea Edition Limitee Mother Pearl
Post by oryanphine
1 Replies, 124 Views

Xbox One Official China Edition limitee Lunar New Year Monkey 2016
Post by oryanphine
2 Replies, 135 Views

Xbox Play Anywhere Set up.
Post by Nato King
6 Replies, 196 Views

CONTEST! Win a copy of Worms W.M.D.!
Post by Variation-XBA
9 Replies, 392 Views

The Gears of War 4 Live Broadcast Airs Today
Post by Nato King
7 Replies, 228 Views

Post by Nato King
9 Replies, 275 Views

Spoiler: First 12mintues of Battlefield 1
Post by Nato King
9 Replies, 268 Views

© 2000-2016 - All rights reserved. All trademarks are properties of their respective owners.
Xbox is a registered trademark of Microsoft. is not affiliated with Microsoft.

Made in Canada
Site Design by Cameron Graphics