Laika’s Spout – Game Reviews and Objectionably Sardonic Ramblings.

Play-as-you-moan – Brother’s in Arms: Hell’s Highway

I had to get a play in words into the title for some completely arbitrary reason, I’ve gotten bored of the ‘conventional’ methods of reviewing. Either down to sheer laziness, or the fact my memory is so cataclysmically awful, I’ll probably just end up making most of what I’m saying up.

The game in question is Brother’s in Arms: Hell’s Highway which, I KNOW, was released September 23rd, making this review a whole 109 days late, nearly a third of a year and if you don’t like that, then fuck you. Now for less hostility, and more on my feeble reasoning behind this massive delay. Lovefilm have a ‘priority’ system whereby you allocate your most desired titles as to be shipped most urgently, the problem with this is that when a new game is released, everyone with a lovefilm account, their mother, dog and kitchen sink’s will automatically want to rent it, meaning it’ll take about 3 ears to actually play the bloody thing. You’re probably thinking this isn’t a big-name title, and you’d be right, it isn’t, I’m just trying to justify to myself why on earth I’m reviewing this now, I guess. German Films, that’s why.

Now for the main event, which is quite likely to go monumentally badly:

Before I actually start playing, I probably should give a background incase somebody is still contemplating buying the game, the mad bastard.  BiA:HH was developed by a company called Gearbox Software, most well known for porting Half-Life and Tony Hawks 3 from pc to console and vice versa, respectively. So a previously virtually unknown dev. team is creating yet another World War 2 ‘epic’, and this one is the eighth in the bloody series! If counting the 4 mobile-phone versions, but shhhh.  Bizarre then, it was, that I found out these odd lot are rumoured to be the developers for Halo 4… I know Halo isn’t great but before playing this game I’m pretty sure it’ll be better than this.

Well, on the disc menu on the PS3 there’s not even any bloody music,  just a bit of fire, and two men staring angstily past the camera like some punk-pop musical nightmare. Ah, I see, fire, hell, clever.  Oh for fucks sake, I need four gigabytes to install a game I only plan on playing once? One second. Bye, bye PAIN!, you awful, awful excuse for £6.99. Gah, PixelJunk Eden isn’t even worth deleting, 109MB? I shit 109MB…  EUGH, all this time Mercenaries 2 has been taking up 2.5GB space on my hard drive, and they’d already stolen half an hour of my life. Still, if the intention of that game was to make you feel like you’d just been raped and pillaged, they bloody succeeded.

Finally, back to the review! Installing game data, it’s the basic PS3 stock screen, lazy bloody developers. Devil May Cry 4 may have been pretentiously awful, but at least it gave pretty pictures and a storyline history to not care for. 17% after writing that, how do you pass the time whilst a game is installing? I know, getting a drink, maybe… 83% now, horray! Although my drink is water that tastes like Halford’s, a very, very potent tyre-rubber taste, I fear my father my inadvertently be killing me with his cowboy-esque plumbing abilities.

Now it’s done, and powered by Unreal Technology, no less! The start screen is a bit boring, the same angsty man as before, staring off into the distance again, text in red, blood, clever. Marching band drums playing, ah yes, the army! Intriguing, I didn’t expect this game to have any multiplayer, least of all online multiplayer, sod the single player for now, lets go and check this out. Oooh, that marching band music is now into full swing, it’s very Band of Brother’s, or, for that matter, every World War Two film ever made, ever. Still, quite nice.

‘Searching for available games’, results: 6 servers. Haha, Christ, more than I expected. Only one of which has full connection, let’s go! Loading screen with a little more than nothing, I appreciate that. Well that’s a kick in the teeth, I can’t spawn, but on the upside my squad is raising the flag and has just won. The graphics, well, they look quite a lot like Red Orchestra, or another title from around the start of the Industrial Revolution. Well that was a one minute of a life I’m never getting back, that was possibly the worst online game I’ve ever played, it the buildings and players look like they’re made out of paper maché, the guns have about as much affect on the enemy as farting in their eyes, we won by just… I don’t even know how our team won, and the lag is just diabolical, and this is on full connection!

Maybe single player may quell my anger?  New game, hey? Casual or veteran? Fuck it, I’m going all out, it’s not exactly going to be Survivor+ mode now, is it? There’s another level, you have to play the entire game through to unlock it, fuck that for a game of soldiers. HAHA, It opens with a ‘Previously on Brothers on arms.’, how very, very inappropriate for such a game. What ensues is a bizarre sequence, detailing… something, it’s so arbitrary you wonder exactly what DID happen beforehand, it ends up being bizarrely compelling, visually pleasing, but fairly disorientating all at once. And whilst I was typing that, a girl was shot, a civilian, and they’re now in a place. Wow, these scenes are actually pretty well done, seems they probably blew the entire budget on shiny CGI and a competent scriptwriter. Although I still have no idea who is who, what is what, or when is when. Apparently he was a friend; the first sequence starts with ‘He’s gone, he’s gone’.

962 words and now I get to actually play the bloody game, hooray! Training enabled, please. Right stick for camera, good. Red screen on taking damage? Call of Duty, you sly devil you. X is sprint? In a first person shooter? Okay, I’ll let that slide due to the fairly realistic running-before-your-face-gets-bombed shakeyness. Ah ha, a deviation! Third person ‘dug-in’ mode, this could be interesting. Graphics aren’t anywhere near as good as the cut scenes, still they’re not bad. But nowhere near as good as World At War. R2 for firing? Are you out of your bloody minds, Gearbox? Conventions are conventions for a bloody reason, don’t break it if I’m heavily acclimatised to using R1. R2 for grenades, R1 for primary fire. It’s simple. Another new idea, ‘surpression’, a red circle appears above the enemies heads and they can be ‘suppressed’ by blind fire, once the red turns entirely grey mean they’re unlikely to shoot for fear of being blasted in the face by yours truly, finally a nuance of tactics in a World War 2 shooter! That genuinely took quite a while to kill them it felt like a firefight as opposed to a run and gun, which is exactly what WW2 was. It also lasted six years and often involved periods of grueling hardship, without gaining any ground for prolonged periods of time. Good idea, IN THEORY, but so was the idea for Haze. I can see this getting very bloody frustrating. On the upside, a couple of German’s have just ran screaming out of some double, doors, on fire, with fairly decent graphics, score one for the Allies! And genuine heat-haze above it, score another for realism. And all the lights have systematically been closed off in the corridor we’re in, dun dun dun! Everything has a weird green tinge, interesting… ‘There goes the lights’, my brother in arms tells me, got any other gems like that? The sky is blue, the grass is green, there will never be another good Sonic game. Shitcock! Cut scene, bomb, German’s, dead friend! I think… still, not very clear.

‘3 days earlier?!’ ah, another film technique… as well as a title sequence, a proper title sequence, with an equally insipid and ‘heartwarming’ voiceover from a character, may it’s you, I’m not quite sure. I’m sure this is the Band of Brother’s music, it even had the semi-operatic singing for Christ’s sake. Why is a US soldier, with a US flag on his soldier, talking like Hugh Laurie? Another cut scene, with genuinely decent dialogue, again, like a film. I can’t be bothered to listen to minor plot details whilst I type this, but it seems that whoever the ideas man was for this, desperately wanted to make a World War 2 film but knew they couldn’t possibly compete with Hollywood epics and thus, got hired by an unknown studio to try and bring his masterful idea to the small screen. If only Call of Duty had this level of cut-scenery, it would be the perfect game. Instead it’s just Kiefer Sutherland talking over quite bizarre, modern graphics, contrasting somewhat awfully to genuine footage. Why is it always good game play, but no emotional attachment to characters? Back to the game, we’ve just landed in a field… I think in France, cue that potentially plagiarized music again. Scenes of open countryside with planes overhead, how very poignant. Although I don’t remember any mention, anywhere, of gliders being used in world war two, gliders that house jeeps… Either my history is worse than I had intended or I’m about to start hating this game quite a lot.

This is getting quite tedious now, isn’t it? I can tell? No? Well it bloody well is for me. In a nutshell it’s exactly what I expected from a game play point of view, a mediocre WW2 shooter with a couple of interesting tweaks… I’m quite bored now, I’m sure you are too. All you need to know now is that for some utterly benign reason, you can blow up sheep on this game too. Also, I’m not doing this again, it’s too slow and took up 1700 odd words and I’d not even fucking really started playing yet.

I was going to post a Peep Show video up onto here, from youtube, but apparently they’ve put country filters on now and none of them I can watch. Fucking great, I can’t even watch that now.