It was a wet and windy Friday in London; however my mood was high as I was on my way to play the next game in my favourite franchise, Brothers In Arms: Hells Highway!
The Hands on preview started off with a 35 minute talk by Mr Neil Powell who is a current serving officer and military historian for the British Army, he talked over all the aspects of Operation Market Garden (Of which the game is based), we then got the privilege to have a quick talk from two Operation Market Garden Vets (Mr Des Page and Mr Arthur Latchford) both of which served and played major roles in Operation Market Garden, and they both fortunately got out of Holland Alive.
Now comes the hands on time!
Gameplay & Presentation
While the game loaded up I was anxious to see what the guys at Gearbox had done with one of my most anticipated games of 2008. Then all of a sudden, I was greeted by a gorgeous cut scene which backlogged the story from some of the other BIA stories, In the cut scene you see Sgt baker as a kid running around a field with a toy plane, it then cleverly jumps forward 20 years and you see Baker at the jump door of the plane, getting ready to jump into Holland.
So that’s the start done with, now lets move onto the killing, the first mission sees you start off in an old hospital in Holland where your mission objective is to escape the hospital alive, it is basically a tutorial level that introduces all the controls and the cover system etc (so like all other FPS’s games out there :P)
After that level you get thrown into a more outside environment, and the first thing that struck me was the colour! It’s so nice to play a FPS that uses more then 3 colours (Black, Grey and Tan), the colour also adds to the graphics which I must say I wasn’t to impressed with at the start, however the more I played the more they grew on me, and the bits that do look graphically poor are made up for with the excellent gameplay mechanics, also in this level you get to use the devastating power of Jasper and his Bazooka Stella, and I really do mean devastating, its so satisfying when you unleash its power into a group of enemies and it slows down to show you the enemy getting ripped limb to limb by shrapnel (to be honest it made me smile seeing a German flying across my screen in two pieces).
Also in this level I found out how much you need to use your squads to be able to be effective on the field, its not like the other BIA games where you could quite easily run of without your squad and be a one man army, which is a great thing, because you actually get to know your squads well and who does what etc.
Now to the presentation of the game (sort of touched on it earlier), as I said earlier, when you first start up the game, you can see that it isn’t the best looking game this gen, however they are in no way rubbish, in fact they are about on par with COD4 in my eyes, the textures are good and the facial expressions are amazing, your men do really look and sound like real troopers.
So now for gameplay and presentation results
Gameplay 9/10 – Near perfect score for gameplay, it flows, there was minimal frame rate drops and for the 2 hours I played it I couldn’t get enough.
Presentation 8.2/10 – As I said earlier the graphics aren’t amazing, however they stand up to games like COD4 and in some parts excel past it, I love the colours in the game and the textures are top notch , there is occasional jaggies but who cares, gameplay > graphics (also the sheep are very impressive)
AI & Sound
Now its time to talk about one of the aspects of the game, the AI it is truly amazing, it adapts to every little movement that you do, if you move to flank the enemy then the enemy will move them selves around to counter that flank, I also saw an occasion where the Germans started to try to flank me (They failed but you cant blame them for trying :P), your team AI is also superb, I never saw an occasion where they didn’t do what I asked of them, they move on cue, they don’t get stuck on walls or behind doors, and they know how to shoot. So all in all the AI is superb and I didn’t see any problems in the code version I played, and I am sure the final version will be a lot better (not that anything needs improving)
Now onto the sound, this will be short and sweet, again, the sound is good, the weapon sounds are superb, but then they always have been in BIA so I wouldn’t expect anything less from the lads in Texas (Gearbox Software), but it wasn’t only the rifles that sounded realistic, the grenades were amazing, and the voice acting was sublime!
AI – 10/10 I have nothing bad to say about the AI, it was really amazing, some of the best AI I have seen in a game, it adapted to the battlefield and move accordingly.
Sound – 9/10 again, I have nothing bad to say, the sound was convincing and it made me feel as if I was there in Holland shooting them pesky Nazi’s!
Unfortunately I didn’t get to play the multiplayer side of Brothers In Arms: Hells Highway (Cries into a pillow)
However I am sure it will be top notch like all the others, I am just hoping they keep it as a squad based MP experience
So there you have it, that’s my preview of the epic game that is Brothers In Arms Hells Highway! Bring on the 25th Sep, I am ready to ride through Hell!
(Sorry that my preview isnt that good, but i normally play games not write about them)