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Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30

"I've spent 8 days here. 8 days commanding a squad I wasn't ready to lead. 8 days watching my men, my family, kill, be killed. 8 days wishing it would stop." -Sgt. Matt Baker, 101st Airborne, 502nd PIR

Through the years we've seen a lot of World War 2 First Person Shooters like the good (Call of Duty) and the bad (Medal of Honor), but Brothers in Arms is possibly the most engaging WW2 game I have ever played. Its really different from the others because its combines useful and easy squad based elements with the fun of a FPS.

In the main story you play in the role of Sgt. Matt Baker in the 101st Airborne experiencing the 8 days after D-Day from the parachute drop in June 6th to the battle at Hill 30 in June 13th. As you progress you will command up to 6 men in 2 sub squads taking down any German defenses in Normandy, France.

The Gameplay in this game is more amazing and rewarding than any other squad-based shooter in the market I've played. It can feel like Full Spectrum Warrior but you are able to shoot and feels really intense. Since you command 2 squads or tanks you will have lots of enemy contact. As you indentify any Krauts (Nazis) you will most likely have to get your Fire Team to do some supressing fire on the enemy by just holding the Left Trigger and releasing it while you are aiming it at the enemy, then you need to flank the enemy by getting your Assault Team and finishing him off using the Left Trigger as you did with the supression from your fire team. It shows that the AI in your allies are truley identical and authentic to what happened 61 years ago. It doesn't mean the enemy AI is stupid, it does similar things you do like supression and flanking, and if you are not careful of you and your teammantes you can get killed in 2 or 3 shots depending on the difficulty are you playing on. One innovative thing thats a first in a WW2 FPS is a thing called Situational Awareness view which will pause the game and shows mostly everything in the battlefield like enemies, objectives, flanking spots, and your squad. Even the most skilled players will get continuously killed and that might turn off some Rambo like action gamers. One thing that I identified was there was no crosshair in the middle of the screen to make it realistic as default, you would mostly use the ironsight of the gun to take down any enemy, and it feels exilerating because you dont know where the bullet is going without the ironsight.The Multiplayer aspect is really well done because its not like a regular multiplayer mode with a regular 16 player game, you get a 2 on 2 objective match that uses the squad mechanics from the single player camapign through split screen, system link, or Xbox Live.

The visuals in the game aren't really amazing but looks great in a interesting way. Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory this game is not, but it doesn't need shadowing and dynamic lighting, the atmosphere and grainy look makes it great. Some of the textures are good but things like gun models and facial texture thats true to the real person is amazing. In this game you will see blood and gore not like in other WW2 FPS, like when you see someone is near a grenade explosion their legs or arms gets blown off.

The sound of the game is amazing as every other WW2 FPS except Medal of Honor: Rising Sun. The score was recorded in Prague by Dave McGarry and composed by Stephen Harwood. Also you will identify all of the music is only in the menu and loading screens not during the game, which feels more realistic because you will hear bullets and calls by both U.S. and German troops. The sounds of the guns are also authentic because they record each sound of the gun from the reloading to the fiering. The voice acting is one of the best I have seen in a game, each men will have an unique voice and how they say it which helps you get familiar with these amazing characters. The sound effects is really good from the tank sounds to the mortar strikes.

An thing I would add in this review is the authenticity. The envioroments are true to life because Gearbox Software did a lot of work to make the areas real as possible from reconnisance photos and battlefield photos. Also all the characters have similar characteristics and actions to thier real counterpart like Lt. Col. Robert Cole who you will see in the game recieved the Congressional Medal of Honor during the 8 days after D-Day.

In a result, I think Brothers in Arms is one of the top 5 games I have played in my life. It never felt like deja vu all over again because it has a really unique squad design.

Story: 9
Gameplay: 9.5
Graphics: 9
Sound: 9.4
Realism: 9.5

Overall: 9.5/10

It's an absoulte buy if you are up to the challenge of commanding the squad.

"Fear now what we are, but fear where we are headed."
-Carlo Dela Cruz (G4MasterChief)