Brothers in Arms
Road to Hill 30

Format: Xbox
3 307210 188854
Age Restrictions: 16+
18 March 2005

You are placed in the shoes of Sgt. Matt Baker, a D-day paratrooper squad leader, who must lead your team as you balance their lives with the success of the mission. The true stories and historical events you experience on your perilous journey take you through real battlefields meticulously recreated from aerial reconnaissance images, US Army Signal Corps photos and eyewitness accounts of war-torn Normandy...

Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 is based on a true story, so the PR machine tells me. But before you scoff and say: "Well, duh! That claim can be made of any game set during WWII!" The developers have gone that little extra distance.

Apparently not only did they gather detailed aerial reconnaissance images to ensure that everything is as authentic as possible, but they also researched US Army Signal Corps photos and eyewitness accounts of war-torn Normandy to push realism that little bit further.

So why should you buy this when this genre is swamped with similar games? Well, for starters (with the exception of Full Spectrum Warrior - which is in a totally different genre) I don't think I've ever been this impressed by a WWII first person shooter. The only thing that comes close are the Medal of Honour series. But Brothers in Arms is head and shoulders about anything that has gone before.

The graphics are breathtaking and the game play is just hard enough to ensure you get shot to bits on your first attempt, but not hard enough to have you totally frustrated. This mix is essential in ensuring that you don't complete the game in a day, or get fed up being riddled with bullets every five seconds and switch off never to return.

Also worthy of note is the music - a cross between John Williams and Howard Shore at their finest. Sadly, I'm not sure who composed the music, but they should be working in Hollywood.

There are problems, be they minor. Firstly your guys can be really frustrating sometimes as they tend to get in your way. This happens a lot when you take an enemy stronghold that houses a machine gun. More often than not you can't use the gun as one of your men is in your way. But it's more annoying when the enemy are shooting at you and you can't hide in a doorway because one of your people is just standing there.

Another little nit-pick is that you can't really interact with the background. You can't shoot and destroy barrels or items of furniture. And, if you shoot a muddy area grass seems to appear out of nowhere and fly up into the air. Okay, this two last niggles are tiny, and would probably have slowed the game play down considerably.

As far as I'm concerned, at present this is the finest WWII first person shooter on the market. You know you're onto a winner when your heart beat rises and your hands start to sweat as soon as you enter enemy territory.

Pete Boomer

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