Ubisoft’s tactical first-person shooter Brothers in Arms returns with Hell’s Highway, being the first game of the series to premier on current next gen consoles. If you are a fan of the previous two Brothers in Ars releases then this will be right up your alley. Hell’s Highway captures all of the magic that made the first two games such a hit. Focusing on the true story of the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, the game takes place during Operation Market Garden in September of 1944.
Hell’s Highway finds you facing off against German forces during the failed invasion of the Netherlands. You reprise your role as Sergeant Matt Baker, a heavily developed character from the previous two games, where the sight of death starts to wear on Baker effecting his state of mind. Things get worse for Baker as the game progresses, and you witness this through flashbacks as well as events that are occurring in the game. The story is so rich and vibrant that you’ll think you’re watching a movie or some documentary on the History Channel. You can tell how much effort was put into a story that progresses not only the game, but the characters as well. Gearbox really did a great job with this one.
Adding to the story is the games great gameplay. The squad based tactics really bring the whole first person shooter idea up a notch, making it all the more enjoyable. The game is mainly played in the first person perspective along with an over-the-shoulder camera that brings you closer into your scope for precise shooting, or to gain a better view point when you take cover. You control your squad via an icon that is movable across the playing field. You decide where to play your bazooka team or covering fire team, giving you options unlike any other game. You can even be called upon to control multiple squads at the same time. From one assault squad to the three supporting units, you decide who goes where and how much damage is dealt. The tactical feature allows you to replay missions differently every time, adding a new realistic depth to the game.
The graphics also carry over the realistic vibe, with the meticulous details to each location. Replicating its real world counterparts in such great detail. The amount of gore used also brings a sense of realism to the game, war isn’t pretty and watching a bullet go through someone’s skull shouldn’t be either. The action camera that zooms in on gore filled moments is a pleasure that isn’t overdone. Peering around the landscape is another trump card in Hell’s Highway. It’s not to be able to peer around corners while trying to scope enemy placements or movement.
The sound of the game can also be commended, with each weapon sounding like its real world counterpart as well as the various sound effects one would expect in a battle. Lastly, the voice acting is absolutely top notch. You really get a sense of how the war strains a persons nerves in the way the various soldiers talk. You can hear it in their voices when they’re scared or anxious. They really did a great job with the voice acting talent.
For all its praises there are some negative things that have to be touched on. None of the the issues are deal breakers, but they are worth mentioning. The biggest issue points to miscommunication when commanding your squad. Often times your squads misinterpret your commands and move to the wrong side of a wall, or at times take the path through the bullet hailstorm rather than the straightforward under cover route. The other negative aspect is the inability to fire while behind cover. This is something you’d expect from a game like this.
Issues aside, it’s a great game that’s complimented by its multiplayer option. Hell’s Highways multiplayer supports up to 20 players. Like the campaign the multiplayer urges the use of squad tactics as two factions face each other in online battle. Making the online experience unique, each member on the team has their own special function. The philosophy in multiplayer is the same as the solo game play together and fight as a team and survive. If gamers can work together and create the same squad-based action as the campaign, then you can experience some serious competitive matches.
Overall, Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway is an in depth World War II experience. Giving you a great story, with historical accuracies and a fun gaming experience. Hell’s Highway is as close to an authentic WWII experience you can have on a gaming console. If you’re a fan of the Brothers in Arms series then this is an absolute must buy, if you’re a casual first person shooter fan and have never experience the Brothers in Arms franchise then this should be your first. No matter what type of gamer you are, you’ll enjoy this game.