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Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway review

Has this WW2 shooter run out of gas?

Pros

  • The new bazooka squad
  • Pretty as a picture... in places
  • More emotion than the opera

Cons

  • Dumb squad AI
  • Really
  • really dumb squad AI
  • Lack of fresh ideas

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

More Info

GenreShooter
DescriptionThis gritty, squad-based WWII shooter is still well made and gory as all get out, but it really doesn't stray from the formula of other games in the series, or WWII games in general.
Franchise nameBrothers in Arms
UK franchise nameBrothers In Arms
PlatformPS3, Xbox 360, PC
US censor ratingMature, Mature, Mature
UK censor ratingRating Pending, Rating Pending, Rating Pending
Alternative namesBiA
Release date:23 September 2008 (US), (UK)
Available platforms:Xbox 360
Genre:Shooter
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