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Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 is not your average First Person Shooter (FPS). Based upon the heroic 101st Airborne Division's travails on and after D-Day, you play as Sgt. Matt Baker in an effort to secure various towns and clear the backside flank of any enemies. The game is Ubisoft's first foray into the WWII genre.
The game does have a slower pace than many other FPS's. You are rarely attacked by more than 9 enemy troops and winning a battle requires more than simply rushing your enemies. You are required, instead, to use some strategy, mainly in the form of suppressing and flanking. As the game progresses you assume a command position and will be in control of up to two, three-man squads of troops. You can command these squads to move to certain locations, fire on enemies (suppression), assault enemies, take cover, or fall in on your location. For most battles you'll be using your squads to fire on the enemy, therefore suppressing them, then flanking the enemy while they're are taking cover. This is basic military strategy and it works out quite well in this game due to the above-average AI of both your allies and the enemies. At times, you will also be in control of various Tanks.
The command system in the game is well-implemented and works as a sort of on-the-fly mission planning. As opposed to some games, like Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six and others in that genre where you pre-plan your battle and movement, Brothers in Arms allows you to assess the situation at hand and then react.
A very nice feature of the game is the Situation Awareness view. At any time in the game you can pause the action and zoom out over the battlefield. You can then scroll between the locations of your objective(s), friendly troops, and enemy troops. You can also zoom-in on any position to see exactly what's going on. This is very helpful in cases where you have spotted an enemy group but don't know how many are there or what they're up to. Simply use the Situational Awareness view to locate them, see where they're taking cover and how many there are. Although I used this feature seldomly, it is very helpful to those less-skilled in FPS's, and does provide a nice respite from the action. It is also simply a neat feature, having technical merit on its own.
The multiplayer options in the game are excellent and will be familiar to those of you who played Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow's multiplayer...afterall these are both Ubisoft games. The basic gist is that you'll be playing 2 on 2, Germans vs. US, either attacking or defending a position (bridge, truck, AA Gun) or you'll play a variation of capture the flag having to do with secret document rather than a flag. For more information on the multiplayer you can check out that section in the walkthrough.
Speaking of secret documents, each completed mission unlocks cheats or artwork. Although I'm not a cheater as that wouldn't really help when writing a guide, I did enjoy the "Old Movie" cheat which gives the game a nice sepia tone, almost as if you're playing a History Channel documentary.
Although the pace of the game is slow, it is satsifying. It does get more exciting as you get through the first third of the game and start to get some variations in the missions like having a Sniper Rifle or commanding several tanks. Of the console WWII games Allison and I have played, Call of Duty: Finest Hour, Medal of Honor: Frontline, and Medal of Honor: Rising Sun, Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 is my favorite. Allison still prefers the Medal of Honor games as they are more action-packed.