Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 Review (PC)

We hear too often “and another clone is out”. Fortunately there haven’t been too many wars like WW1 and WW2 that could be shaped into a FPS game, so it seems that every day brings a new game of the same thematic. In Brothers in Arms the date is set in WW2 and it manages to spark the routine genre in an interesting tactical FPS combination. The game starts little before D-Day.

Looking down the sights of your gun is crucial; there is no crosshair by default.

Cutscenes before missions are engaging and make the characters dynamic.

From the graphical stand point game looks up to date. The characters in the game will move and behave in such a way that it will be a real pleasure to look as they run for the cover or just roam around. It is difficult to make a difference between game characters behavior and real characters how you would imagine them. Each will put a facial show that will fit in each situation fairly well and also as an added touch your inmate’s beards will grow as you move from mission to mission. When you are in an open fight and bullets and grenades are flying and falling around you, the dirt from the ground will splatter around your entire screen giving you quite memorable moments. There are also a few of “snuff” scenes where in one you will see your inmate killed with his entire insides splattered around it and him lying on the ground opened like a can. Nasty sight. So everything looks and feels as much realistic as anyone could expect. The sound has kept the phase along with graphics and it additionally recreates the WW2 atmosphere as it was on European battlefields. If you have 5.1 speakers the pleasure will be even higher.

Brothers in Arms managed to mix tactical and FPS concept in a perfect blend. As a Platoon Leader you will have under your command a fist full of men that will follow each and every of your command, regardless of the odds. There won’t be only soldiers under your command but also tanks. Tanks play a significant roll and will appear on many missions. You issue orders to your squads simply by holding the right mouse button, aiming where you want them to move or attack, and releasing it. Simple as that. It will take some time to get used to it but all should get used to it quickly. I had a few situations where I sent my entire squad right in the middle of enemy fire by mixing the middle and the right mouse button (the middle mouse button is used for changing your aiming view). Result was always a slaughter. Commands are not issued individually to each of your squad mates but to the entire squad. You can have up to 2 squads under command. Each squad has around 5 men or 1 tank. A.I. of both of your opponents and your own men is admirable. It will adapt to every situation (99%) perfectly, always moving as they should, and under cover they find on the way. Due to the reason I never seen any FPS squad game that has such a well behaved A.I., I am giving it a much worthy “Artificial Intelligence Award”.

The game uses a sort of unique fighting system. It is basically just the ability to cover the enemy with fire and pin them to the ground or cover. When they are pinned down they won’t be able to return fire effectively and then you can initiate maneuvers such as flanking or charging the shaken enemy. I found it very disappointing that you can’t lay down in the game and neither can your inmates or the enemy. You can only crouch and/or walk. It wasn’t included probably as it would complicate the gameplay too much. Still, as they took effort to make everything quite realistically, it’s hard not to feel bad about such a flow. When controlling 2 squads, one is always assigned as an Assault and one as a Fire team. Assault teams are best used for charging enemy positions as they are best equipped for it, while Fire teams are used for suppressing purposes as they can easily make the enemy eat the dirt from distance. Mostly all your advances will be made like that. Suppress, flank, and kill. Often I had a feeling like I’m playing a puzzle game where I’m putting all the pieces together to make the right goal. So the tactical aspect of the game is not complicated at all. It will take some time to get used to ordering your mates around and to figure the fighting system but once you get a hang of it, it will be fairly simple to play with.

Graphics are slick, very realistic and give the game an air of authenticity.

Rushing an enemy position is sure to get you killed, unless they're surpressed.

You’ll have a tactical view of the battlefield at your disposal at any time. While you are in the tactical view, the game will be paused. It helps you in understanding your squads and enemies positions in your nearby vicinity and deciding from which side and how will you make the advance. Even if very useful at times, it is not dead necessary so you may or may not end up using it often. By default you wont have any crosshairs so you will actually need to aim yourself for a change to hit something. It adds a solid realism to the game and I would warmly recommend that you leave it off. If you decide to turn it on, you can do so in the main game menu. Missions are interesting though they can get repetitive. Before each mission you will listen to your game characters voice talking about stories from the battlefield and his views of the war he is a part of. The actual mission briefing will conduct when the game is loaded, right before going into action.

What surprised me is that in Brothers in Arms you don’t have any manual saving options. It’s a little radical move by the developers, making you watch for your every step. As you advance through the game you will have checkpoints where your games will be automatically saved. So anything that happens in between checkpoints will reflect on whether you start from the beginning of the checkpoint or from the next one. If that’s not enough for you realism hungry folks try not taking any medics or health boosts throughout the game. There won’t be anything similar. So you will have a full health to start each mission with and finish it either alive or none at all. So caution please. It can get very frustrating but, for a change a game where you can’t save between each gun fire. I say its good, and checkpoints are usually more less near each other so you won’t loose much if you die unexpectedly.

Flanking enemies and taking them down is extremely satisfying.

You'll do battle in all kinds of diverse environments.

Top game moment: Jumping on the back of a friendly tank, and ordering it to rush the front lines as you thin their ranks with the mounted machine gun.

The game is commendable. Its biggest attractions are commanding player’s squads, tanks, enjoying a highly realistically and squad A.I. developed game engine. Add a lot of minor features mentioned and you have a great game, worth your money. As a down side, missions do get repetitive at times, but still you will squeeze many pleasurable hours from Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30. It sparks from the crowd. Many will like jumping from the back on enemy tanks, tossing grenades through their hatch and seeing the tank move left right as its crew goes panic, finally bursting in explosion.