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Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 PS2 Review - -

Gameplay 8.9
Graphics 9.1
Sound 8.7
Value 8.9
Distributor: UbiSoft
Review Date:
June 2005
Andrew B


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Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30

Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 is based on a true story that is set in the turbulent era of World War II which revolves around the famous airdrop before the invasion at Normandy. Gamers get to play a real-life hero called Sergeant Matt Baker who leads his men to victory behind enemy lines. Unfortunately for Baker, not everything went according to plan and you and some of your fellow paratroopers find yourselves way off target and the rest of your squad. Itís time to find your way to the rest of your brothers and kill as many Nazis along the way as possible. Although Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 may sound like a traditional World War 2 first person shooter, what sets Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 apart from just about every WW2 first person shooter is that this game successfully uses squad based mechanics.

As the squad leader you have a great variety of strategy you can order your troops to pull off. Ordering them to a specific spot on the map, telling them who to suppress with fire and who to charge towards requires quite a bit of strategy, after all you want your men to make it through alive. That can be somewhat challenging though since you and your men can only take a few hits before going down, so keep an eye on the status of yourself and your squad. While you order your teammates to do their business via your first person view, you are given the ability to switch to an overhead awareness survey of the area. This shows your positions, enemy positions and gives you ideas on where to best maneuver your team to strategically flush out those Nazis. For a first person shooter I was thoroughly impressed with the amount of strategy implemented here and it really requires you to think on your feet.

You canít leave the job of killing Germans up to your buddies though; you have to pick up some of the work too. You are given a great supply of authentic weapons and can pick up dropped gear as you make your way through the game. Through the option menu you have the ability to set use of crosshairs if you want to, it may be less realistic but itís a hell of a lot easier to aim with them. Otherwise youíll have to look down the barrel of your gun and manually line up a shot. Itís not just the single player action that makes this game enjoyable itís the fact that the entire game involves you in every aspect. You have your hand in almost everything your squad does and the sense of immersion into the war is fantastic. Strong AI helps add to this realism and even though many war themed games trivialize what is possibly humanities darkest hour, Brothers in Arms does a great job of telling the inspiring true story of Matt Baker. The in depth gameplay only adds to the story telling in a way that is unparalleled with other WWII FPS titles.

For those gamers that have a Network Adapter, you can also bring your wartime experience online and play in a variety of modes. Donít be looking for death match or capture the flag here though, youíll find mainly team based goals and two sides to every game. One team will play as the Nazis and the other will be the Allied forces and youíll each have an objective to complete.

Graphically, Brothers in Arms looks absolutely beautiful in all aspects. The environments are all richly detailed with a hint of realism to them, just donít stop and stare for too long. Looking intently at brush, road and building will reveal a plethora of pixels, but when in motion your surroundings are a thing of beauty. Stages vary from opened areas to confined spaces and the balance between the two is great. The characters each have their own personality and animate wonderfully. While shooting one Nazis is like shooting another, your teammates each look unique and have some great facial expressions. By the end of the game youíll understand the hell these guys went through and you can tell by the way they wear it.

Youíll also be able to hear it in the sounds of their voices since nearly every character is portrayed very well. Since he is the main character, Baker shows the most personality and introduces each chapter with some deep insight and reflections and by the time the game is over youíll feel pretty attached to him. Sound effects like gun fire and ambient noise sound a-typical for a game like this and nothing special, but the feeling that you are smack dab in the middle of the conflict is very strong. Tons of gunfire, explosions and shouting in the distance play on the tips of your ears as if taunting you for the trials up ahead. The music is very good too with somber tunes straight out of Band of Brothers and other war stories, featuring slow emotional scores.

In conclusion, Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 will take the professional gamers around 15-20 hours to complete and those fortunate PS2 owners who have network adapters will be able to get added longevity out of the title. The game supports a very engaging storyline, beautiful graphics (even on the PlayStation 2) and some of the best game mechanics to land on the PlayStation 2 in a long time so if you're looking for a very cool WW2 game than this is the one to get! Check it out!


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