|Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood|
Release Date: Out Now
Itís not even been a year since the release of the hugely popular Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 and Gearbox have already cranked out a sequel just in time for the Christmas rush.
Personally, I loved RTH30; I thought it was the most realistic WWII FPS Iíd ever played. It was great how you actually had to use your squad if you wanted to survive, rather than them feeling like tacked-on gimmicks. The atmosphere was overwhelming too; it really felt like you were in wartime France, squatting behind a rotting cow carcass or in a mortar crater and Iím happy to say that EiB has the same atmosphere and intensity that made the original great.
Although there hasnít been a long gap between RH30 and EiB, to their great credit Gearbox have used every minute to fix the problems of the original. In RTH30 your squads would frequently get killed because they would run wherever you told them to go across open ground rather than hugging the wall for cover and then only when they started getting shot at would they stop and fire back! Sometimes theyíd also move up to the corner of a wall and hedgerow and then jump out from behind it and start moaning when they were shot by the enemy!
There are still a couple of problems that are still hanging around, though. The left trigger order system for movement and firing is still too fiddly and imprecise. If youíre hiding behind something and want your squad to suppress the enemy in front of you it can be a harder task than youíd think. If an enemy is in front of you when youíve got the command cursor up it changes from a movement to suppress order. It gets tricky when youíre behind cover and Iíve frequently ordered soldiers to run towards the enemy rather than shoot at them because the game hasnít changed the icon.
The online multiplayer mode is a lot more expansive than in RH30, spreading the action across four modes: Objective, Tour of Duty, Defence, and a timed assault mode. These act to break up the heavy gameplay of the story mode and in defence mode itís turned on its head as the Germans try to flank your positions. You also get the opportunity fight as the Germans which adds a bit of diversity to the game and takes it further than the simple skirmish mode RH30 had.
Despite all the improvements that have been made Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood feels more like a BiA 1.5 add-on rather than a complete sequel. I loved the original despite the aforementioned problems and where it set the standard so high, I donít mind having more of the same, but some will be a little turned off by the lack of significant changes to the game. I doubt those who didnít like the original will get any pleasure from the sequel, but if you didnít buy the first game and have ever wanted a FPS with a bit of brains and a challenge then sell your gran for bus money and go buy it now!
- As atmospheric as ever
- More tactical
- Improved online mode
- Tactical controls still a bit fiddly
- Damn tough