Review by Mykas0

"You can take my life, but you'll never take my sniper rifle!"

When it comes to games based in the World War II, there are several available in the European market. Almost every console seems to have more than one, unless we're thinking of handheld ones. Sure, there may be a few available on the PSP, but when it comes to Nintendo portable consoles, this may be a first.

Unfortunately, the experience that comes with this game isn't as amusing as the one contained in other products of the series. At short sight, he may even be the younger brother of the series, one that tries to mime the success of the older ones, usually with strange results.

Here, you'll be able to play three different campaigns, all of which are obviously related to World War II. Starting with Normandy, the one that serves mostly as a tutorial, players will also be able to visit Tunis and Ardennes, facing up to 13 different missions. Unlike one could think, this number isn't big at all, as most missions are simple and, ultimately, allow you to finish the whole game in less than 10 hours. In order to bypass such issue, producers added different difficulty modes for every mission, with harder ones becoming available as you advance further in the game.

At first, you'll be introduced to a single mission, one that explains you the basics of the game. Basically, you move your character by using the control keys and change where he is looking at by dragging the stylus. This lower screen is also used to change your current weapon, use a first-person view (useful if you're trying to aim at a particular point) or perform actions such as planting bombs, cutting wires and boarding vehicles. Sure, this may sound like the other titles of the series, but it just isn't. When it comes to weapons, you only gain access to three of them - machine gun, bazooka and sniper rifle - which is rather disappointing. In fact, it is even stranger to find out that many other weapons are coded in this game, as you can unlock them by performing certain in-game tasks.

Only a jeep and a tank are available as playable vehicles, but even those have minor glitches. While most weapons only seem to suffer from a minor (yet pleasant) problem, one that allows you to shoot as much as you want without caring for ammo, the stated vehicles simply disallow you to exit them unless you're told to do so. That's not only strange but also severely harms gameplay, making the player a perfect puppet of the circumstances.

This predictability is probably the game's worst problem. All gameplay sequences present you with an arrow that leads to the next target, which turns out being a place you must reach or a group of enemies that you must defeat. After doing so, the arrow merely changes to a new place and you continue repeating that very same task. You can't even try to find different ways to reach a particular goal, as there are none. This game just puts you to follow a particular path, something that you must do exactly as you're told to. Trying to leave such path has odd consequences, such as your character being magically blown up, facing infinite enemies or merely confronting invisible walls.

There's also a multiplayer mode, which presents you with five different maps and two possible modes ("Deathmatch" and "Team Deathmatch"). As all players involved are required to have a copy of this cart, it is probable that most people will never use these options.

The lack of any visible storyline is also an important issue. Each mission is introduced by a few readable phrases, and while you'll be seeing a limited number of storyline sequences in the middle of your missions, it looks like the game misses a major plot line. Basically, you're thrown to the middle of a conflict, you have to kill enemies and plant bombs, and that's all.

As you possibly understood, its gameplay is nothing unusual, nothing worth your money. Instead, if you're looking for a technically advanced title you may find it here, with both its graphics and sound being slightly above-average.

Despite not reaching the quality seen in "Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker", these graphics are quite good, if you think that this console is not particularly know for such features. While its quality resembles the last titles released for the original Playstation, you'll also see lots of big pixels out of their proper places. Aiming at your enemies is sometimes problematic, as the camera angle isn't always the best and you may find it hard to aim when a tree or a building is placed between you and your character.

There's barely any music in the gameplay sequences, but the main menus to include one that perfectly fits the game. While killing enemies and trying to accomplish your missions, you'll hear sounds that actually make you feel like you're in the middle of a war, with guns being shot all over the place, enemies screaming, your allies shouting orders and many others. These sound effects are actually amazing, of such quality that you'll feel completely immersed in the action, something that was totally unexpected.

Despite such technical details, I suggest that only those who are huge fans of the "Brothers In Arms" series purchase this game. It's not a bad game, but its lack of replay value and predictability should keep most players away from it.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 06/08/07, Updated 09/09/07

Game Release: Brothers In Arms DS (US, 06/21/07)

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