Review by MSuskie

"It's a mobile game, sure, but this is a console experience at heart."

My cell phone was not made with three-dimensional graphics in mind. Yet Brothers in Arms 3D is pulled off so gloriously, and as a result, my time away from home is made happier. That's because Brothers manages to replicate the gameplay of its console big brothers in creating a WWII experience that it intense, exciting, and a lot of fun. You won't sell your Xbox, but the 3D mobile rendition of Brothers delivers the goods.

Obviously, some sacrifices had to be made in order to get this version of the excellent WWII shooter series working. Brothers plays out in full 3D, with all the soldiers, buildings, vehicles, and explosions looking like they were pulled out of a PSX game. The framerate, on the other hand, is iffy to say the least. Your soldier inches along at about ten frames per second (if that) and looks far too jagged to be playable. Yet somehow, it all works. If I were to watch some else play Brothers, I'd wonder how they would be able to tolerate the hideous framerate behind the game. Once you start playing, you'll realize that the gameplay itself has been adjusted to fit the game's style. The game is slower than most 3D shooters, and the controls require more time in the hands of the player. The developers then chose to bump the action down a notch to meld with the gameplay. Again, it works. Your soldier moves around very slowly, and you'll never fully get used to the controls, which results in a lot of fiddling with the keypad. Fortunately, the game is never so fast or difficult as to make this a problem.

Brothers features eight levels – five missions in Normandy (sorry, no beach invasion) and three in the deserts of Tunis. The control scheme is incredibly simple, as you simply use the arrow keys to move and the select button to shoot. You can also sidestep with the “1” and “3” keys, though I rarely used this. And while the game supports an auto-lock feature, you can also hit “0” to aim manually, which gives you the chance to lay a few headshots on the Germans. Most of the levels are only five to ten minutes long, making Brothers an exceedingly short game, though you'll spend a lot of time replaying levels on higher difficulties for better ranking and even a few cool awards. The levels themselves are based around that same pick-up-and-play style that is so essential to any mobile game, as Brothers is indeed good for short, on-the-go play sessions. Most levels only have a couple dozen enemies, but that doesn't mean you won't be resorting to some strategy along the way.

The enemies themselves – which are essentially just common foot soldiers that occasionally drive vehicles or man gun turrets – are slow and easy-going enough to compromise for the game's pretty clunky control and framerate. As your commander is constantly shouting out commands that are displayed at the bottom of the screen, you'll have to follow a number of objectives in each mission, though they're all variations of the “get from point A to point B” or “kill these guys” orders. Your comrades are really just there for effect, as you're the only one that will be doing any efficient damage, and there are plenty of ways to do it. You'll usually stick with a good ol' rifle, which has a decent rate of fire and never really runs out of ammo. You'll duck behind barricades, lean up against walls, peek around corners, and perform a number of warlike actions that are all pretty easy to pull off. Every so often you'll have to pick up a rocket launcher to take out a tank, or grab a sniper rifle to pick off enemies from a distance. You'll even get the chance to drive tanks and jeeps, which only adds to the variety.

Pros

+ Amazing 3D graphics in a mobile game.
+ Surprisingly intense war action.
+ Well-paced missions work great with the keypad controls.
+ Vehicles are fun.
+ Ranking and awards encourage replay.
+ Impress your friends with this bad boy.

Cons

- Sloooooow framerate.
- You'll never completely get used to the controls.

Overall: 9/10

Brothers in Arms 3D would be a horrid experience on any home console, but it works so well on a cell phone because it's way ahead of its time. While 3D graphics are starting to get more and more common among mobile games, it's still very impressive to see a game like this running on my cheap little Motorola. And fun, too – the levels are obviously nowhere near those of the game's console big brother in terms of length and intensity, but the mission design is smart, varied and well-paced given the hardware. Brothers is right up there with Doom RPG and Zuma as one of my personal favorite mobile games, and a great buddy whenever I'm in a long line or waiting for a movie to start. Not only that, but Brothers is the ultimate game to impress your friends, and they'll wonder if their cell phones can pull off the same thing. Though a bit expensive, Brothers is worth the dough.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 05/30/06


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