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E3 2011: Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 first-look preview – wanna play Inglourious Basterds?

In its original incarnation, the Brothers in Arms series was a realistic and lightly tactical World War II first-person shooter franchise, with its three main iterations offering a respectful take on the soldiers and stories of that great conflict. That part of the series isn't dead – developer Gearbox assured attendees of our E3 demo that series hero Matthew Baker's story will see resolution in the future – but Furious 4 cuts down that established approach like a tomahawk to the knees of an unsuspecting Nazi.


Like an unofficial video game interpretation of Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 puts players in the roles of a team of off-kilter heroes out to kill Hitler and a whole slew of Nazis along the way. It's a surprising divergence from the core series formula, but after seeing the riotous demo at E3, we're sold: Furious 4 looks like one of the most vibrant and purely entertaining shooters on the horizon, with a deeply cutting sense of humor that reinforces and celebrates the art of destroying history's most hated foes.

Furious 4 isn’t expected out until the first half of 2012, but the four-screen co-op demonstration gave us plenty to discuss in the meantime. The demo picked up in Germany outside a town in which a large celebration was planned with the führer expected in attendance, and as the plucky narration commands, it's your goal to "kill that son of a bitch."

Immediately, we found the four fighters – named Montana, Chok, Stitch, and Crockett – immersed in battle, which quickly proved both violent and amusing. Kills came from both standard firearms (a machine gun and shotgun) and a flamethrower, but also from thrown tomahawks, a chainsaw that eagerly rips Nazis in half, and even well-placed bear traps. Points earned as you play unlock upgrades for your weapons, which may yield unexpected results: during the mission, the bear trap was upgraded to include a grenade finisher. Delightful.

Beyond the clearly joyous acts of violence, what really grabbed us about the demo were the big moments – the show-stopping events and powerful gameplay opportunities really drive home the sheer entertainment of the experience, and it's all augmented by the stylized character models, bright presentational elements, and hilariously spot-on narration.

At one point in the demo, the squad decides to steal a car and drive it through the doors of the celebratory brauhaus, triggering a slow-motion sequence in which all four screens in the E3 demo room displayed ample opportunity to blast Nazi scum. And then you face an armored Nazi wearing a jetpack, followed by another warrior with a massive shield in an open area. After all that excitement, the idea of a concluding battle against a helicopter that causes a giant Ferris wheel to collapse on the town is hardly surprising, but still wholeheartedly welcome.

Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 looks to marry Bulletstorm's violent bombast with interesting characters and scenarios and four-player co-op – both online and split-screen, though you can play alone with A.I. partners – plus online 10-player competitive battles are promised across six play modes. It's not likely to redefine the shooter as we know it, but we'll gladly swap innovation for electric entertainment in this exciting reinvention of an established brand.

Jun 13, 2011

Topics

E3

16 comments

  • modestcomplexity - August 5, 2011 12:44 a.m.

    Looks like some good fun to me. Also spot on choice of using Sleigh Bells in the trailer, I also just heard them used in the trailer for that new show Strike Back and their music fits action/war scenes perfectly. Who cares what the title of the game is, let’s just see if it’s as fun as it seems
  • D0CCON - June 20, 2011 8:06 p.m.

    I preferred the respectful approach. It made the game feel more like a playable documentary and it had a great level of authenticity to it. I don't see myself buying this ever.
  • Genericpenisjoketista - June 15, 2011 7:53 p.m.

    I agree with NightCrawler on this one.
  • NightCrawler_358 - June 14, 2011 7:34 p.m.

    I never said I sympathized Nazis, (as i said in my first line) but I just think that laughing and cheering on stuff like this is kind of sadistic to me. I'm totally cool with killing monsters and aliens, and even war shooters, but this just seems like a petty act of "revenge" that make Americans look just as bad. Just saying.
  • Jordo141 - June 14, 2011 3:52 p.m.

    @RicePuddingUK My words exactly... How is calling this "thing" BIA meant to generate interest. The BIA franchise wasn't wildly popular, but had it's own small but devoted fanbase. So why do they stick the BIA name to this? It's insulting to fans of the series; and while they said that they'll conclude the Baker/Hartsock story in the future I'm not gonna pick up this POS.
  • JLThatshilarious - June 14, 2011 2:34 p.m.

    @NightCrawler_358 I'm with you. Really, their branding a guy's head? It's sort of sadistic. It just seems incredibly gratuitous . . .
  • Rhymenocerous - June 14, 2011 12:52 p.m.

    Where the hell is Aliens: Colonial Marines? Seriously where is that game!?
  • Jbo87 - June 14, 2011 10:51 a.m.

    I was a little bit upset at first as I have always loved the Brothers in Arms franchise. Its clear that they are just using the BiA tag to generate interest. However someone made a comment about Battlefield Bad Company being a comedic departure from the established series and that turned out fine. At the end of the day though this is Gearbox and those guys can do whatever they want as far as I'm concerned. They've never let me down before and I don't think they'll let us down here.
  • austincharlesbond - June 14, 2011 9:33 a.m.

    No offence, but umm... this doesn't look nearly as clever or stylish or funny or engaging as Inglorious Basterds
  • RicePuddingUK - June 14, 2011 8:46 a.m.

    What an insult to such an authentic series! When they said they were taking it into a new direction I thought they'd follow MoH or CoD and bring it modern, maybe set in Afghanistan or Iraq, that would tell a powerful story like the originals did. When I saw this I just sat there, mouth open, raised eyebrow, didn't even watch the entire trailer, goodbye BoH, I'll still love HH. I know people say don't judge it now it could be good, Yeah, I'm sure it will be, but it isn't brothers in arms, BIA is a strong title that suited the mature themes of the previous games, this takes it in the garden and p***** all over it.
  • unstuckntime - June 14, 2011 7:57 a.m.

    killin' some Nazi is something I enjoy a little too much from nazi zombies, ww2 games, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Inglorious basterds, X-men first class, and Defiance. Co-op especially split screen is something I personally need more often and it doesn't come around enough, this game is as good as bought definetly gonna be pre-ordered... besides I like the texan with the branding Iron.
  • flaminninja - June 14, 2011 7:24 a.m.

    @NightCrawler_358 Your refusal to fantasize about killing digitized Nazis in increasingly gory and gratuitously violent ways, makes you an antisemitic, Nazi sympathizing, liberal p***y. You're entitled to your own opinion you say.....Oh you'd like that wouldn't you. You're welcome internet
  • TheIronMaiden - June 14, 2011 2:35 a.m.

    ....I'm a little on the border of this one. I loved hells highway (and every other Bros in arms titles) and I Was really hoping to hear more on our boys in the airborne. Guess we'll have to wait; this game looks good but is obviously going off the inglorious bastards formula.
  • bitchassafriBLAMamericANTISTA - June 14, 2011 1:32 a.m.

    gay
  • NightCrawler_358 - June 14, 2011 12:21 a.m.

    I'll be honest, I dislike Nazis as much as the next guy, but this is just kind of disgusting. Other games have killing, but this seems to take it a little far. I don't know, does dreaming and praising about stuff like this make us any better than "them." I'm not gonna judge or anything, I just don't think I'll be picking this one up.
  • Personamanxx - June 13, 2011 11:59 p.m.

    Copyright infringement much? Lol But in all seriousness it does sound like a fun game.

Showing 1-16 of 16 comments

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