When we last filled the boots of Brothers in Arms protagonist Matt Baker in Road to Hill 30 (the sequel followed one of his fellow sergeants), he was just beginning to learn the ropes as a squad leader in the 101st Airborne Division. Now a grizzled veteran who’s earned the trust and respect of his troops, Baker must lead his squad through one of the most punishing Allied defeats in World War II: Operation Market Garden. Hell’s Highway is a thrilling and exhausting ride that tests your first-person shooter abilities in the face of overwhelming odds, and puts you face to face with the emotional weight of war.
Luckily, you’re never alone in this battle. Plenty of familiar NPC faces return to help you wrest the Netherlands from Nazi control, providing essential cover fire while you exercise your flanking and sharpshooting skills. The basic suppress-and-flank mechanic is again the crux of the gameplay. Using the simple and effective mouse-based squad control system, you direct fire teams to hide and attack from behind cover to pin down fortified positions, while you navigate around the map to catch the enemy with his pants down. The very competent team AI will automatically “lock” into a defensive stance behind any nearby fence or wall, and realistically shout out context-sensitive dialogue about the battlefield situation.
In contrast to previous BiA games, this time you have command of specialized machine-gun and bazooka teams that are especially adept at wiping out waves of attackers or sandbagged defenses and tanks, respectively. Managing the careful advance and targeting tactics of two (and eventually three) capable teams offers a wealth of strategic options, so I never felt like I had to do all the work. I was able to mix up my attacks with stealthy flanking and patient sniping, though my favorite tactic was to surprise and chase a large group of enemies right into my MG squad’s fire. Watching a line of panicked Nazis run into an open field and stumble lifelessly to the ground never got old. (Occasional auto-triggered slow-motion “highlight reel” shots didn’t hurt, either.)