Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway box art
System: PC, X360, PS3 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Gearbox 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Ubisoft 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Oct. 7, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-24 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Individual controls are of the standard first-person shooter variety. There isn’t a prone position, but there is a “Dig in” feature, which is the same key used to get up against cover; takes some getting used to. At first, figuring out exactly how the character can be moved behind cover is a trial and error experience. But, once mastered, moving between cover and taking out enemies becomes fast-paced and second-nature.

Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway screenshot

Hell’s Highway also boasts an action camera feature that slows down time and lets the player experience the excessively brutal part of war: dismemberment. For example, if you throw a grenade in the middle of a group of enemy soldiers, if the damage is serious enough, the camera will slow down and let you experience slow-motion carnage. The action camera also comes into play when the player manages to get a head shot, but, luckily, the realism isn’t completely disregarded, as the enemy soldier’s head does stay attached to his body. Typically, bullet-time-like features are more common in science-fiction shooters, but Gearbox has managed to bring it to the historical shooter fairly well. It doesn’t occur too often to be annoying, but when it does happen, it does provide a bit of satisfaction. And, the best part is, there is an option to turn it off, so if it isn’t your thing, it doesn’t have to be present.

The multiplayer component to Hell’s Highway drops the squad-based A.I. in favor of a more traditional FPS experience. Players can join multiplayer matches of up to 24 and duke it out in attack/defend scenarios that span across a healthy number of unique maps. This portion of the game is setup to allow for squad-based combat by placing each player into one of four squads and then assigning a squad leader. There is in-game VOIP available to help create unity among the players, but its effectiveness depends on the players’ willingness to use it. Tanks do play a role in the multiplayer, as the attacking team is issued the use of one to help make the push for the flags.

There are some drawbacks to the multiplayer, however, in that it is extremely buggy. Player animations will often do strange things, making players stand and move in odd poses, creating a laugh about the first 20 times it’s seen, but becoming bothersome after that. Using cover doesn’t always seem to work either, as getting close to an edge almost always exposes enough to be shot and killed easily. Map designs are pretty standard and don’t offer the same effect that the single-player environments do, making it appear as if the developers didn’t put much time or effort into them. Furthermore, finding a nicely populated game without a lot of lag can be a difficult task. If it’s this hard to just find a match to participate in, the rest of the experience certainly doesn’t make up for it.

Hell’s Highway multiplayer component has all the evidence of a rush job. And, a lot of its success and enjoyment depends on the people you’re playing with. Nevertheless, Gearbox could certainly patch the game and provide a more stable foundation, but until then, there are better World War II multiplayer games available.

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Fans of the series shouldn’t be disappointed by what Gearbox has done with Hell’s Highway. The focus for these titles has always been on the single-player campaign, plot, and characters, and all these things come together quite nicely. The player will find that Hell’s Highway offers an enjoyable experience from start to finish despite it’s less than perfect execution. While the multiplayer has potential, in its current state it has far too many issues to be a consistently fun endeavor. Therefore, if you’re planning on seeing the Brothers in Arms story through to the end, Hell’s Highway is a must buy. If you’re a newcomer to the series, it’s recommended that you play the first two before delving into this one, as you’ll miss out on the developed story up to that point. If you’re looking for a new World War II multiplayer experience, it would be best to skip over Hell’s Highway and wait for something a little more multiplayer-oriented.

By Derek Hidey
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.0
Graphics
A great-looking game that stands the test of time, but is marked by some stiff animations.
3.5
Control
Standard FPS controls that are done well with the exception of less than intuitive cover controls and an occasionally irritating over-the-shoulder camera.
3.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
A fitting musical score and great sound effects help breathe life, but the hit or miss voice acting can be both believable and laughable at times.
3.5
Play Value
Challenging and realistic gameplay is provided, but the lack of polish in the multiplayer severely limits the replayability.
3.4
Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Experience Operation Market Garden: Take part in the infamous plan to end the war by Christmas 1944 and experience the pain and suffering of the Allied defeat in what became known as Hell’s Highway.
  • Squad-Based A.I.: Control up to three squads and coordinate them to help overtake your enemies.
  • Developed and Personal Narrative: Experience the war from the boots of fictional soldier Matt Baker and experience both a personal and universal war story unlike any other.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway screenshot - click to enlarge Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway screenshot - click to enlarge Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway screenshot - click to enlarge Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway screenshot - click to enlarge Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway screenshot - click to enlarge Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway screenshot - click to enlarge Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway screenshot - click to enlarge Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway screenshot - click to enlarge Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway screenshot - click to enlarge Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway screenshot - click to enlarge Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway screenshot - click to enlarge Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway screenshot - click to enlarge

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