Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway box art
System: X360, PS3, PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: Gearbox Software 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Ubisoft 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Sep. 23, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-20 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

The squad-based play is so solid that it makes the less stellar solo play stand out. Controlling Baker literally is a hit-or-miss affair. His shots constantly stray from the targeting reticule and, even if you wait for the cross hairs to zero-in, he still misses a good chunk of the time. So, when you have missions where you're separated from your squad, you'll find them to be a frustrating affair. Sometimes Baker will get stuck between two pieces of cover and instead of breaking away, he'll just stay wedged, and you'll have to mash on the controller to get him mobile again. Speaking of cover, the rules for its destructibility are strange. Wood tables will shatter, but you can't shoot through a bed, and somehow a half-destroyed car will protect you from a massive tank round.

Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway screenshot

What keeps the squad-based play from making the game great is the mission structure. At first, it's fun clearing out a town of Nazis, destroying tanks and placing satchel charges on 88s (a form of heavy artillery), but the fact that nearly every level has these same objectives makes it a grind. When you realize these are the same things you've been doing in WWII games since the original Medal of Honor, it just further compounds their staleness. Multiplayer gets little mention, mainly because it's barely there to begin with. There's only one mode (Capture the Flag) and it's very run-of-the-mill. It feels more like a concession than a fleshed out mode, and it gives the impression that the markers wanted that multiplayer check mark on their box.

Gearbox has used the Unreal Engine 3 to good effect; the battlefields are massive and effects like fire ripping through buildings and rain soaking your troops really grab the eye. It's a shame the rest of the graphical package doesn't hold up. The framerate continually dips, never keeping a solid clip; texture draw-in is prevalent; and some areas just seem to be missing a basic level of detail. The level of care given to the voice acting is excellent, with the actors providing a solid performance, but, like the graphics, this package has its flaws; the score just won't stick with you.

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Even with its narrative stumblings and graphical issues, Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway is a solid choice for those looking for a more cerebral approach to WWII shooters. Aspiration got the best of this title - it ultimately promises more than it delivers.

By Jason Lauritzen
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.7
Graphics
There's some large, impressive battlefields on display, complemented by great fire and water effects. It's too bad the constant framerate dips and continual texture draw-in get in the way of enjoying what's on display.
3.5
Control
Here's a weird one: it's easier to control your squad than the main character. Issuing commands to multiple units is a breeze, but Baker - the protagonist - will get stuck to cover and miss properly aligned shots.
3.7
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The star of the audio show is the voice acting. However, the score feels like the same music we've heard in countless other WWII shooters.
3.0
Play Value
The campaign pushes the story along at a nice pace, but the objectives - such as clearing out buildings and destroying artillery - get repetitive quickly. Forget about the multiplayer. Tossing players one mode (Capture the Flag) and nothing else gives the impression it was tacked on at the last minute.
3.4
Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Next generation Brothers in Arms: The classic, authentic, squad-based combat series explodes on next-generation hardware, offering unprecedented graphics and features.
  • New story, new setting: Join Matt Baker, Joe Hartsock, and the rest of the 101st Airborne Division in Operation Market Garden as they fight to open the infamous Hell's Highway in a daring bid for a quick end to the war.
  • Unprecedented character design: Lifelike characters look, talk, move, and think with incredible realism. Game characters interact with the player and each other like true brothers in arms, trading ammunition, helping wounded allies and civilians, working together to man team-operated weapons, and more.
  • Rich cinematic experience: Interact with and get to know your brothers. Each character has his own distinct personality, unique story and background, and grows throughout the game.
  • Powerful new units under your command: Players can use or command combined arms teams - machine gun crews create intense fire, bazooka crews destroy buildings and tanks, and mortar crews pound the enemy from a distance.
  • Destructible cover: Keep your men moving and choose your cover wisely. Modeled using real physical properties and behaviors, weapons will damage, dent, scorch, and destroy the world around you.
  • Completely new multiplayer experience: Fight major multiplayer battles with dozens of players on each side, combining all the intensity and accessibility of Deathmatch with the squad-based gameplay that helped make Brothers In Arms famous.
  • Screen Resolution: Up to 1080p (Full HDTV, Widescreen).


  • Screenshots / Images
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