Review by BigChiefWahoo

"Better than you can believe."

If you haven't looked into it, you're thinking, "Oh great, a Call of Honor clone." I know you are. Admit it.
If you have looked into the game, you've been waiting for it: counting down the work items with the rest of us, reading every last byte of information as it comes out. We've been itching for this game. And it's all we were hoping.

Gearbox said from the start that authenticity was a major goal in their game strategy. Having never been to war, I can't say exactly how well they've succeeded, but after playing Brothers in Arms, I am even more confirmed in my desire never to be in one. The lack of cross-hairs (unless you make a change in the settings) and maps based on aerial reconnaissance photos from the 1940's help bring this aspect to life as well. But, more importantly, they did not fall into the classic trap oof World War 2 shooters There is no sense of the "you against the world" mentality that has plagued war based shooters from the get go, instead, your squadmates are always present, either visually or by voice confirming your orders. And that's the key to Brothers in Arms: you are not alone, you are part of a squad.

Taking a measure from turn based tactical games, gameplay is based around the command structure. What you do is not nearly as important as what you tell the squad to do. Suppression fire is crucial, as is proper placement of the assault team. With the command rules being so important in the game, you know they have to be simple to grasp. They are. Shoulder buttons bring up the command icon, so you can use it while you're carrying out your own objectives or ducking away from enemy fire.

The game is of a decent length, with twenty missions spanning the eight day storyline. Add into that the factor of difficulty, which will have you replaying most of those missions at least once or twice, and you've got something that will take more than your average weekend. Plus, as you vary your tactics, then enemy will vary their own, so replaying the game with an entirely new feel is a definite possibility.

Add onto that the multiplayer, and you've got a game that's not going to die any time soon. Instead of the normal Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and Last Man Standing modes, you get a multiplayer version of normal game play. Each player controls a squad. With four squads per scenario, if you and a friend want to take on the Germans, all you have to do is assign the appropriate squads to AI control. Cooperative and combative multiplayer in the same format, what more could you ask.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 03/17/05

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