Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway Preview - 17/09/2007

Brothers in Arms has always taken pride in its historical realism, but this year its new ‘cover and concealment’ feature may take that realism over into the gameplay department too.

Gearbox's third entry in the historically correct Brothers in Arms series is the first that will appear for next-gen systems. Delivering on the franchise’s compelling story, unrivalled authenticity and intense squad-based warfare, Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway drops you into Operation Market-Garden, the largest airborne invasion of World War II. You Lead Matt Baker, Joe Hartsock and the rest of the 101st Airborne Division as they fight to open "Hell's Highway" in a daring bid for a quick end to the war.

I know what you’re thinking, ‘just another World War Two shooter’. Well, this one’s looking to be the best one yet. With its new ‘cover and concealment’ system, it looks to add tactics to a rather ‘tactic-less’ genre, with most tactical shooters being set in the future or the present day.

The ‘Cover And Concealment’ feature works like this. If you hide behind a metal door, for example, then you’re in cover. Whereas when you hide behind a wooden picket fence, the bullets will just clatter straight through, so you’re concealed, but not in cover. Get it?

It looks great, with many videos being released showing just how good it looks, and how brilliant it could work online. Just think how great it would be, not only do you have to be hidden, but you have to hide behind something thick enough to withstand bullet fire. It reminds me a lot of the engine in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (read our preview here), which got tons of praise when it was first announced.

The graphics, on the other hand aren’t so ahead of their time. The environments are great, very realistic looking, plus the amount of detail in every object is good, but the characters aren’t so impressive. The clothes are good enough, but the faces, and the expressions they pull, don’t look good. They just don’t compare to the likes of Call of Duty, Medal of Honor and the Tom Clancy games. With not much detail and pretty smooth, clean shaven, faces, with no lumps or grazes or anything. Quite disappointing for a game that’s pretty high up in my wish-list.

Unfortunately, Gearbox haven’t released any details about their online functions, except that there will be online features and that they have been revised since the last in the series. My guess is your standard deathmatches and capture the flags, with not that much character customisation.

If you’re looking for some videos on Brothers in Arms, then check out IGN Videos with the E3 demo and the developer commentary, both of which are brilliant videos, with the first showing the cover and concealment feature, and the second, some storyline and actual early gameplay footage.

Pre-Verdict: The graphics need some toning up, but the gameplay looks awesome. The cover and concealment feature is something that should be included in any game, regardless of genre, and it may be a good idea to pick this up just to try this out.

- Tyler Roberts

Predicted Score: 8.6



Gearbox Software
360 - PC - PS3