In Arms is deceptively simple in concept and one which
surpisingly hasn't been done before in any of the
numerous WWII games available. It leaves behind the
trappings of scripted event heavy games like Medal
of Honor in favor of an open-ended and nonlinear experience
which captures the unpredictability of war. No two
games play alike thanks to the incredible AI who act
like real human enemies. They also die like real humans,
meaning that they aren't given an unfair advantage.
This is war. Sometimes they die. Sometimes you die.
Sometimes your teammates die.
FPS like Halo, Doom 3 place you into the role of superhuman
hero fighting to save the greater cause. Brothers
in Arms is all about saving your own bacon and in
doing so makes this war up close and personal. When
shots zing by your head, when shrapnel blows up near
you throwing dust, gravel and blood onto you it's
hard to care about saving the world. You just want
to get home alive.
Brothers are the squad that you are placed in charge
of at the beginning of the game. Like Full Spectrum
Warrior which was a tactical shooter which left you
in charge of dispelling strategies in real time, Brothers
provides this gameplay element as well but it also
allows you pick up a gun and shoot while sending your
two teams from the frying pan into the fire. You are
given two teams of 3 men each which are yours to direct.
Send one on the offensive while keeping one back to
bring up the defense. It's entirely up to you which
places a large amount of responsibility on your shoulders.
mission provides its own objectives and your actions
will determine which side wins. If you are the better
tactician you just might make it. If you send your
men to their deaths there is no way you're going home
alive. This isn't Rambo. You are hopelessly outnumbered
at the best of times. However if you do manage to
survive awhile, you'll be amazed at how invigorating
it is. It is the overwhelming odds that provide Brothers
in Arms with its addictive quality. Even when you
have to try again, the enemy AI changes it up so no
battle is ever the same way twice.
message boards will be lit with gamers arguing graphics
vs. gameplay. While Gearbox managed to get the specials
effects to a tee - particle effects and explosions
are incredible - the character models are strangely
chunky and some might say downright fugly at times.
This is in direct relation to the incredible amount
of time spent on weapon models, which are accurate
to a fault. If you can overlook its lack of cosmetic
beauty and enjoy the game for what it is, you will
be a happy camper indeed.
Brothers in Arms gets most things right, the hamfisted
dialogue and heroic oneliners don't fit at all in
a game that strives to achieve this much realism.
It's not all bad but I found more than a few cringe-worthy
moments that didn't fit mesh with the rest of the
game and I found it pulled me out of the reality and
reminded me that I'm not only playing a game but I'm
playing a game with really hackneyed dialogue.
the voiceover work if you wish, but do the same for
the soundtrack at your peril. Of course I know there
wasn't an orchestra playing at Normandy, but it does
enhance the overall "movie" atmosphere.
Turn it down if you want the real war experience,
but hats off to the composer. It's fantastic music.
In Arms doesn't try to be like other WWII FPS games
and that's a very good thing because even though the
subject matter has been done to death, the game feels
fresh and exciting. The multiplayer game is decidely
weak and honestly not even worth mentioning, but the
single player experience is worthwhile enough to camp
in a foxhole while risking dysentery, footrot and
a bullet between the eyes. This is NOT your usual
run of the mill war game and if you give it the chance
it deserves you'll see that I speak the truth.