When Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood was released in 2005, it began an epic war story not unlike HBO’s Band of Brothers. In fact, the third chapter, Hell’s Highway, begins with a “Previously, on Brothers in Arms” recap, to remind us what Captain Matt Baker and the men of the 101st Airborne Division have been through since dropping into Normandy on D-Day. Now, as part of Operation Market Garden, Baker and his men arrive in Holland via a spectacular canvas glider, landing in a farmer’s field. The mission: link up with the other Allied troops and prepare to push into Germany.
That’s where I took over - as Baker, it was my job to clear the area of hostiles. I ordered around the assault squad and light machine gunner team under my direct command using the contextual command system; pointing next to a wall and issuing an order sent a team to dig in behind cover, and using the same command while aiming at a squad of German soldiers gave the order to open fire.
The tactics I learned from the first two installments of BiA carried over well into HH. Upon encountering my first resistance, I ordered my MG squad to lay down suppressing fire, turning the Germans’ icons grey and allowing me to move freely without getting shot to pieces. I sprinted (a new addition - previous games didn’t let the player sprint, but now you go into shaky-cam mode as you dash ahead) around the spacious environment to flank the enemy and set up behind a low brick wall. Digging in shifted the view into third-person perspective, so that I could see Baker crouched behind the wall; pushing forward made him rise up to fire at exposed soldiers. I brought down two with my rifle before they figured out what was going on, and a third was tagged from behind as he made a run for a more protected position. I ran in, picked up a machine gun they’d dropped, and turned it on another group huddled behind a wooden fence. The MG reduced their cover to splinters like the Big Bad Wolf blowing down a house of sticks and shredding the piggies crouched behind it.
A short march down the road, I climbed up into a mill and, spotting several Nazi squads below, quietly positioned my troops to catch them in crossfire. I sniped the first German from my perch and then set off a firestorm from my squad on the ground that caught the rest off guard. After a few more firefights, I skipped ahead to another mission. My unit’s commander, Lieutenant Colonel Cole (a real historical figure), had been killed by a sniper; my orders were to hunt down the sniper before he did any more damage. For extra firepower, I was given command of a bazooka squad that was highly effective at blasting German troops who thought they were safe behind cover.