[color=white]August 25, 2004 - While the PC and PS2 have seen their fair share of World War II games, and the Xbox is about to, none of them have quite offered the same experience as Brothers in Arms is promising. Think Rainbow Six squad tactics meets Call of Duty meets Full Spectrum Warrior, only in entirely in real-time. Although we've seen and played the Xbox version quite a bit since we first learned about the game earlier this year, we got a chance to see the PC version of the game for the first time at the recent German Games Convention in Leipzig, so we thought it only fair that we share our impressions with you.
Brothers in Arms will take you through eight days in the life of the 3rd squad, 3rd platoon of the American 502 paratroopers as they work to secure the invasion of Normandy. Our demo started with our troops high over Normandy, getting ready for their drop behind enemy lines. After a few inspiring words from our commanding officer, it was out of the plane we went. Unfortunately, the drop didn't quite go as expected, as the entire division ended up scattered across a wide area instead of landing tightly together.
The mission we played was "Dead Man's Corner," one of the early missions in the game. We started on the street, behind some trucks that gave us some cover. Down the road was a farmhouse. Only problem is Jerry was holed up in there, and they knew we were coming.
Unlike most first-person shooter where you can just run and gun, you need to use tactics while playing Brothers in Arms. You are a squad commander, and that means you'll be selecting where you men go and what they do. Moving your squad members is as easy as pointing in a direction and clicking, sending them on their way. Your teammates aren't stupid, and they'll find cover on their own, ducking and dodging as they make their way to the objective you set.
You can also send your teammates to man mounted guns to line down a heavy stream of fire. Although you're allowed a lot of options with what you can go with your men, all of the actions are context specific, and for the most part the computer does the obvious action if you command your troops to go somewhere.
Suppress and flank is the name of the game in Brothers in Arms. I sent three squad members ahead to lay down covering fire, while I and two other men tried to make our way around the back of the farmhouse. Above the enemy's heads you'll see a grey suppression icon similar to Full Spectrum Warrior. But unlike Full Spectrum Warrior, everything in Brothers in Arms is happening in real time, so the suppression icon is constantly moving and changing based on the situation at hand. Although you can toggle it off, it's very handy to use because you can see instantly when your squad mates has the enemy pinned down so you can get in a good position to take them out.
Unlike many recent World War II games, Brothers in Arms doesn't rely on scripted sequences, and it sports some pretty nifty AI. While I thought we had the situation readily in hand as we made our way around the side of the farm house, we actually met the Germans face-to-face while we were trying to flank the enemy. They had countered our move and were trying to flank us while we were heading for their positions, and we both ended up a little closer than expected. Everything ended up well, though -- at least for us -- and me and my squad mates moved down the road past the farmhouse to engage more enemies and clear the area.
To keep you focused on the action, the HUD is minimal, with a compass in the bottom left of the screen the only thing to distract from the view of the French countryside. The compass points towards your next objective and has the outline of a soldier, showing when you are crouched, standing, and also your injury level. More important are the two icons on the edge of the compass, as they represent the two units under your command.
Throughout the 21 missions in the game, you'll be moving behind enemy lines in France completing objectives as well as rescuing members of your division who blew off target during the air drop. This means your squad will actually get bigger as you make your way through the game. Of course, as you push deeper into enemy lines, you'll also be meeting more resistance, so you'll need the extra manpower.
The PC version should be very similar to the Xbox version, only with what you would expect from the PC: higher resolution textures, support for DX 9 effects, and those sort of graphical upgrades. All in all the Xbox and PC versions will be the same in terms of gameplay and maps in the single-player game, but there may be some different maps between the two version in multiplayer, which will be supported both on the PC and on Xbox Live.
Featuring an objective-based game mode, up to four players, each in charge of three AI players, will be able to play online on Xbox. Any variation of Internet, LAN, System Link, Live, and Split-Screen will be possible, so two players can be split-screen on one Xbox and play against two other players on separate machines over Xbox Live. Gearbox is looking into allowing more than four-players online with the PC version, but it's still not final at this point. The multiplayer functionality of the PS2 version is also undecided.
There are only two sides in any of the multiplayer conflicts, Nazis and Americans, and players will need to choose one or the other with objectives essentially being "one side wants to do this and the other side wants to stop them" with a time-limit lending added pressure to the battle. There are 12 planned multiplayer missions, each one based on a real-life happening in World War II with other paratroopers outside the 502, including the 506 attacking Utah Beach. And yes, there will be tanks in some of the multiplayer missions.
As for downloadable content, there are three extra single-player missions that will likely be released on Xbox Live and for download on PCs, though the Xbox Live downloads may end up being premium (AKA pay) content.
Playing Brothers in Arms reminded me a lot of the Band of Brothers series, and you really feel like you're a part of the action, with a real chance to turn the tide of the war. So far it's looking like one of the most immersive World War II games ever made, and that's saying a lot given the shear number of WWII games out there. While you still have a ways to go before you can play it for yourself -- the PC and Xbox versions are being developed simultaneously, and should be out early next year, with the PS2 version to ship slightly later -- you'll be hearing a lot more about Brothers in Arms as we see and play more of it before its release. [/color][color=white]http://pc.ign.com/articles/542/542191p1.html
[/color][color=white]This will be the best WWII FPS game ever made. Hopefully they will gain steam from the success of this series and follow the soldier's true stories throughout Holland and Belgium. Let's just hope the game isn't delayed again.[/color]
I'm too cool to Post
7th November 2003
This will be the best WWII FPS game ever made. Hopefully they will gain steam from the success of this series and follow the soldier's true stories throughout Holland and Belgium. Let's just hope the game isn't delayed again.
They said the same thing about COD. Plus the style of gameplay looks close to COD.
24th November 2002
I don't see a german campaign... = not best game ever.
Stealth3They said the same thing about COD. Plus the style of gameplay looks close to COD.
I think we've been over this in another thread. Besides that they're both First Person and Set in WWII. There is nothing else similar in the game. Non-scripted gameplay is very different than COD. Squad command system is very different than COD. One centered, TRUE storyline is very different than COD. The realism from taking account of everything located in the real locations is very different from COD. [sarcasm-orgasm] But oh wait, it's a WWII FPS on the PC... it's gotta be just like Call of Duty or Medal of Honor! :lookaround: [/sarcasm-orgasm]
My nationality? I'm a mut.
5th March 2004
Well,it seems good to me. It is exactly how I predicted it: a game in which you actually travel France rather than go through levels.
Revenge was here.
2nd August 2004
wow, what a great game this should be! i saw the E3 footage and it looked great there, not much new in this but im still going to be getting this game the moment its released.
The cream of the crop
20th August 2003
looks great. ill buy it.
7th May 2004
I don't see a german campaign... = not best game ever.
My thoughts exactly. This is yet another Band of Brothers/SPR rip-off, albeit with nice graphics. I'd like to see a game which focuses on the eastern front for a change, with German and Soviet campaigns.
10th August 2003
BoB and SPR didn't make up the western front ffs. Just because it's the western front doesn't mean its a COD,MOH,BOB or SPR Rip off
It's a shame.. but there's just not too many game developers in Germany and Russia for these games to be made. American's are interested in our history and you are interested in your's. Nothing will change that.