After an E3 showing two years ago that almost stole the show, we%26rsquo;ve waited%26hellip; and waited%26hellip; and waited for Brothers in Arms 3 to finally emerge from behind cover. So, with the final mission completed, is it worth another foray into the killing fields of WW2? Put simply: just about. It shines when the screen is rammed with tens of dying soldiers and you%26rsquo;re demonstrating your war qualities with all manner of flanking and suppressing techniques. But for all the trumpeting about destructible environments, new cover mechanics and advanced AI, Hell%26rsquo;s Highway %26ndash; disappointingly %26ndash; feels very much like a BiA 1.5.
Every so often Baker will be temporarily forced to go it alone %26ndash; and it%26rsquo;s here where the rather stale shooting engine is highlighted. Even worse, for every progression, there%26rsquo;s seemingly a regression. We love the new bazooka crew; their ability to obliterate sniper nests or make short work of any Nazis behind cover never fails to make us whoop with glee. But why has Baker%26rsquo;s tank detachment not only been retired, but %26ndash; even worse %26ndash; now been reduced to awful, painfully basic stand-alone shoot-%26rsquo;em-up missions? It%26rsquo;s a terrible design decision.
Similarly, the choice to ramp up the gore to Soldier of Fortune-rivalling levels is mystifying. While we%26rsquo;ll admit to a sly chortle as an unfortunate Nazi is torn in two %26ndash; intestines looping out, forearm detaching from elbow and head exploding to mush %26ndash; it sits massively uncomfortably with the otherwise wonderfully told, pathos-packed story of humanity and friendship during WW2. Grandpa wouldn%26rsquo;t be pleased. Hell%26rsquo;s Highway still offers something unique in the pantheon of identikit first-person shooters, and fans of the series will welcome it with open arms. Us? We%26rsquo;re fans, but just a bit disappointed all those delays didn%26rsquo;t result in something truly revolutionary.
Sep 24, 2008