Xbox 360 Review: Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway

Welcome to Hell, will you enjoy your visit?

Brothers in Arms Hell’s Highway brings the critically acclaimed squad-based WWII shooter into the next generation of gaming with amazing graphics and sound, new cutting-edge gameplay features and a totally redesigned online component.

Delivering on the franchise’s compelling story, unrivaled authenticity and intense squad-based action, Brothers in Arms Hell’s Highway drops you into Operation Market Garden, the largest paratrooper operation in World War II.

Lead the 101st Airborne Division as they fight to open “Hell’s Highway” in a daring bid for a quick end to the war.

Hell’s Highway is actually the first Brothers in Arms game I’ve played, so it’s near impossible for me to compare it to the past titles. What I first thought would be a cross between Medal of Honor and Call of Duty was something very different. While it’s a FPS at heart, it’s unique with its tactical gameplay and level structure.

You play as Baker, who can give out commands to a few groups such as assault and bazooka ones, ordering them to go to certain positions and to fire at targets while you can try and flank the enemy. It can be a bit tricky at times though, the commands are issued using the left trigger and it can be hard to issue the right command, so if you are trying to get the assault group to lay down suppressing fire you can accidently send them to run straight at the enemy and get them all killed. It’s only happened to me a few times, but it was frustrating as hell itself.

Each group of enemies has a circle above their heads which usually is red; using suppressing fire turns it grey so you have a chance to flank. It’s good so you can keep an eye on who isn’t as alert as the others, it works and it’s interesting to see in action. Hell’s Highway also has a few slow-motion camera moments for things like headshots and grenades, so you can see the carnage of a limb flying off from an explosion or the blood splatter from a bullet to the face, there’s a few achievements for these as well…so be sure to try and get as many as possible.

The Bazooka squad can destroy most cover objects like sandbags and fences, but they can’t seem to do any damage to harder things like walls, it doesn’t make much sense why a bazooka wouldn’t do damage to a few bricks. There’s also a sense of unrealism about Hell’s Highway since if your squads are wiped out by the enemy, they’ll spring back to life by the next checkpoint. Of course, trying to do the game without any help from your squads is suicide, yet it seems a little silly.

The story is told mostly through cutscenes and does a fairly good job in doing so. The trouble is that the game looks pretty awful for a next-gen game, character models are average at best and the less said about some of the environment detail, the better. It can look so bad sometimes that it’s laughable, I really don’t know how a game of this magnitude could look like this, especially after how long it’s been in development.

Each level has a few hidden things to hunt down such as recon reports and marks on walls called “Kilroys”, it adds a bit of replay value trying to hunt them down but during the large fire fights…finding these will be the last thing on your mind. It’s a shame that there’s no online co-op as I think that would have added a new dimension to the gameplay and made things more interesting. The multiplayer itself is very ambitious with its 20 player multiplayer, but it’s very limited with what you can do. It will disappoint those who were hoping for something as fun as the multiplayer of COD 4.

The Verdict

Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway had a lot of potential. It has a great story to tell but its let down by idiot team-mates, awful graphics and a tacked on multiplayer. It has some really good moments like the slow motion camera moments and an impressive campaign; it’s just a few small things that hold it back from being truly great.

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