Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway
is the third game in the Brothers In Arms
series and, having never played the previous titles, I was overall pleasantly surprised. You assume the role of Staff Sergeant Matt Baker who is a member of the 101st Airborne Division during World War II. He and his squad of men are now a part of Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands, which was an ultimately failed plan for the Allies to capture numerous rivers and bridges in order to transport troops into Germany. Instead of focusing on the war as a whole and what part these men were supposed to play, it focuses more on their personal conflicts and secrets and how that affected their lives. Think Band of Brothers
, but in videogame form. One of the storytelling elements that Hell's Highway
does really well is its use of flashbacks and how a soldier can suffer from Post Traumatic Stress. These sequences are used in a very effective way and are one of the main highlights for the title.
Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway presents itself as a first person shooter but with strategic squad-based elements. At any time during the game, you can point and assign your troops to various locations to gain an advantage on the horde of Nazis. Matt Baker has different squads under his command that specialize in different abilities. There is a "Base of Fire" squad that is meant to hold a certain point while other troops move or flank the enemy. There is also a "Machine Gunner" squad that suppresses most enemies with ease and can be useful in taking out many enemies quickly. There are a handful of squads at your disposal, but the one complaint is that you cannot assign them anywhere else except through your crosshairs or with a Full Spectrum Warrior style place marker. It would have made the world of difference to be able to pull up the map and send troops to very specific points and then use the environment to provide cover without taking damage, because you were standing in the middle of the battlefield trying to point at a very deliberate spot.
Speaking of damage, they have replaced the health bar with the more popular screen effect where it becomes redder as you take more damage. The problem with all of these techniques is that it isn't very obvious how red it is before you die. So, if you feel like you might be pushing it, take a moment to dig in and find cover.
Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway also has its own cover mechanic called "digging in." Essentially the same as most other cover methods, but in Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway, it is much more finicky about what it will allow you to take refuge behind. Some cover can be damaged and broken (like a wooden fence), while something of a similar property is magically impervious to bullets (like a wooden barn door.) It is simply inconsistent and often times quite frustrating.
There is a multiplayer mode, but it is so much of an afterthought that it should not have been considered in the final retail product. You play on teams of squads to accomplish certain objectives. Half of the time, no one listens to the team leader, and the other half is spent watching your teammates finish the round just like Counter-Strike.