Brother in Arms/Road to Hill 30 Review

UbiSoft is at it again with this great game following the true story of the 101st Airborne Division in the days directly following the D-Day invasion in France. I have always been fascinated with war movies and some of the more recent works are some of my favorites. I recently watched the war series Band of Brothers and was fascinated by the events that occurred to the squad of soldiers and how they worked and fought together during the onset of the D-Day invasion.

UbiSoft has come out with some great games and they continue with the newest kind of World War II first person shooter/squad based shooter. This one combines, successfully, first person and squad controlled types of games and is quite enjoyable. The other Medal of Honor games that have come out previously have tried to make games that are realistic to combat but there are some things that are just missing in them.

This video game is nothing less than astounding, it’s likeness to that World War II series is only part of my liking the game, it is a fun game and gives a great story to the player as you are playing it. The story is a true one and it loosely follows the squads push from their landing in the country side near St. Martin, France and on toward their objective of Carentan and Hill 30.

I say it is loosely based because they have changed some things a bit to make the game more playable and yet keep the story an integral part of the game. I have the PC version, you can check out the required stuff for your computer here at the UbiSoft website.

You have to give your birth date to get onto the site, and for good reason, this game is gory and violent. If you are concerned about your kid getting too involved in all the blood and guts of war, stay away from it. But there are things that can be learned from playing the game. I don’t mean that this is going to happen regardless if you play the whole game or just parts of it, but you will learn at least some about history and war from the game.

One of the first things you find out about, and it’s a major part of the game, is the tactics of combat that the U.S. Army preached at the time. The tactics went something like this, Find the enemy, outflank him and kill him. This is spelled out by the back of the map that comes in the game box. The map is great, it shows the area of France that was supposed to be the drop zone and then the route they took to get to Carentan and their final part of the game at Hill 30.

The back shows how to outflank the enemy using your squads of fellow soldiers to pin him down as you or others go around and get him from the side. This was an important part of fighting and was spelled out by many instructors to the raw recruits at various training bases in the U.S. during their basic training.

You learn some of the fascinating things that happened during the invasion and about how the troops were scattered all across the country side, it is not a big part of the game but it’s there. There is a neat part in the game that unlocks extras of the game accessible from the main menu. There are video clips, cheats and bonus’s available when you finish chapters of the game. These are things that are interesting to read and see about. For instance you can read the after action reports from various parts of the battle and conflicts that the men were in.

This is the learning part of the game, I know what your saying, I hate learning about history, but this is a neat way to go about it. You can find out some of the fascinating things and have fun playing the game. It’s not required or mandatory that you go to the extras, but in the game there are some required things that you have to listen to, from the main character Matt Baker.

These are things that he wrote about during and after the war and they added in the beginnings of the chapters. You have no choice about listening to them, it does not work to try and hit the esc button or any other. So you listen and maybe learn some.

When playing the game, you can just ignore the history stuff and play or you can learn some about the history. This is not to say this game will become mandatory for history class, just that it is a new and unique way for a game to add in some history to the story line of the game. It is a great game, using the Unreal game engine it is very well scripted and the story line follows along well.

In the single player campaign you have missions where you have to take certain positions and accomplish certain objectives, all using either yourself and another soldier who is like your wingman, or two whole squads of two or three guys each to order around. You do this by holding the mouse button and pointing at where you want them to go or shoot at. You can even order them to attack an enemy by rushing them.

There is a variety of weapons but the best variety that you will be concerned with is the Germans weapons. The U.S. weapons are only the two you can carry, and occasionally a couple of hand grenades. But during the game you can kill Germans and get their weapons when you want to. This allows you to get a better and more accurate gun than the one you are carrying.

The German Mauser M98 rifle is way more accurate than the M1 Garand or the Browning M1918. And there are all kinds of them after you get through the first area of combat at the start of each chapter. The Mauser is a one shot weapon but it is more accurate, and I found this a better weapon during the game. And if you get lucky you can find one of the German Sniper rifles somewhere. These are really fun to have.

During a couple of missions you get to order around a tank or two. These use the same commands and are just like ordering around your squads, but more fun. One thing that you have to watch though is ordering a tank in the line of fire of an anti tank weapon. And the same is true of the squads for that matter.

The AI or artificial intelligence of the game is great, when you order your troops around and make a mistake, they tell you they can’t get there or that they can’t see the enemy. They then try to get to someplace and find the enemy or shoot at them. But to a limit of some kind. You have to use your men to out flank the enemy and the whole game is kind of set up around this tactic of combat. The maps are made with all kinds of flanking and flank able positions for you to exploit.

The graphics are great, even at some of the lower settings of the game, and are better than some of the same types of games I have seen lately. The one thing that they do nicely is when you get close to getting hit, the bullet goes that away and you get a little rattled by it. Then when you get hit blood goes squirt, and that is when the gore comes in. The gore isn’t bad as far as it goes, it’s a game after all, and this is something that really happened, not like some games. When you have a grenade go off near you or the tanks shoot at you do get rattled and have that ringing noise in your ears that works well to show you the disorientation that would accompany a close call by an explosive.

The game is fun, the Germans you are fighting don’t just sit and shoot back. They sometimes take new positions and try to stay low to avoid getting hit, but they don’t watch their own flanks. So when you do outflank them it’s pretty easy. Unless you forget to reload or your out of bullets. That is one thing that is pretty realistic about the guns, you have to watch the icon for how much you have in your gun, and reload.

The automatic reload works when the clip goes boing out of your M1 Garand when your out, this happens when your last bullet is gone and then you try to shoot one more time. The gun is empty when the clip comes out of the gun, after the last bullet, but the reload takes place when you next try to shoot or you hit the reload button. In the heat of battle when your trying to take a position and things are happening pretty fast around you watching the little numbers I the corner of the screen does not happen often. Several times during the game I missed a shot due to the gun being empty, my own fault but it did happen in real combat and so they added it this way on purpose.

There are several things that happen in the game and together they all make the game a great one, the tanks being under your control is neat. The way the squads work to out flank a position and they are going under your orders works well with the controls and for most of the game this is how to win the day. There are a couple of times when this does not happen, but the game takes this into account.

One of the main places where they do not use the outflanking is understandable, toward the end of the game you have to go and find some fellow Americans with tanks and bring them back to your squads position, so your alone. This is when you don’t have to worry too much about outflanking, just running.

There are a few times when you are defending a position and you just shoot and hope your squad survives, or you have a couple tanks to hit with the supplied bazooka and you have to run back and forth hitting it while it is trying to hit you, what fun.

This game is well worth price paid, $15, and would be a great buy before it is gone. It has not been out very long and is a great video game for the PC. I did not play any of the Multiplayer games available. I could not find a game available, but I have read that some people still play online at times at a couple of sites.

There are a couple of sites that have a few single player missions you can download, they have been made by others using the level editor and are one of the reasons I buy this type of game. I enjoy playing around with the editors and trying to make my own levels or just messing with the ones that came with the game. It adds to the gaming experience and I find out how things on my computer and these games work.

I feel the gore and violence is understandable and is okay for my kids to play, they understand the violence and take it with a dose of reality. They understand about war and such and find the violence understandable. I do not get all bothered by them playing it, they know the difference between games and real life and are fine kids.

Brothers in Arms/Road to Hill 30 is a great first person/squad based shooter and is worth it to check out and buy.

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