December 11, 2013

Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 Full Review

Alternate Title: That Generic Looking First Person Shooter Game Which Is Not Generic In The Least Bit! 

(You can probably see why they went with the current title instead.)

This game pleasantly surprised me. I went expecting a decent, not too shabby, but not too great World War 2 game. What I got was a challenging, refreshing and surprisingly emotional tale told through characters who warm up to you as the game moves on. 

I'm Kyle van Rensburg, and I present you with Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30.

Basic Plot: 

You are Sergeant Matt Baker. Leader of a squad of thirteen soldiers who could all die because of one fateful decision. He didn't ask for this.

And now he has to spearhead a push into Normandy, clearing a path for the D-day invasion. Through the course of eight days, Matt Baker will command, save, lose and grow ever closer to his Brothers in Arms.

Release Date: 5 Centuries Ago March 2005

Developer: Gearbox Software.

Publisher: Ubisoft.

Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Wii, OS X.

Genre: First Person Shooter.

Reviewed By: Kyle van Rensburg.

Hit the jump for all the juicy stuff!

Areas of Concern:


Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

--We see a man after getting shot in the throat; blood spurts out in random intervals as he lies on the ground, forming a pool of blood beneath him. He eventually dies. This scene doesn't last longer than 15 seconds.

--After a bombing run, we see a dead man lying on the ground, his stomach torn open, the red, bloody flesh and spine being shown through the gore. While this may sound incredibly graphic, the dead soldier in question is not focused on for long.

--Several soldiers are gunned down: A pink mist of blood sprays out, and cries of pain are heard as they fall over. We also see several dead soldiers lying in pools of blood in several environments.

--There are several sequences where explosions occur, resulting from artillery, projectiles, and grenades: Dismemberment is portrayed, with bloody stumps replacing legs and arms.

-A man is blown back by the fire of a tank: We see him lying on the ground afterwards, blood leaking out of his lips, obviously dead.

--The carcasses of fallen animals can be seen, with stomachs torn open, their bloody empty stomach being shown, and crows picking at them.


Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

--We very briefly see a drawing of a woman exposing her bare legs. This is shown early in the game.


Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

Frequent Swearing: Uses of F**k, S**t, Pr**k, A*s, B**ch, B**t**d, C**p, H**l, and D**n.

--God and Jesus' names are used in vain.

Spiritual Content: 

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

--List of symbols:

-Five point star. (Commonly associated with Satanism. Standard military symbol. Nothing wrong with including it here.)

--In a mental dialogue, man mentions that he has thirteen people under him in a squad, and makes reference to the fact that it is considered an unlucky number.


Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

--A passing reference to a bar fight. 

--In the line of battle, a soldier will occasionally yell "Don't forget to check the bodies for smokes!" 

--A man holds up two brandy bottles and gives them to soldiers to celebrate with. (Not shown)

Gross Stuff/Gore:

--A man throws up on a plane very briefly, but we clearly see the yellow fluids.

--A soldier jokes that an enemy soldier was taking a "c**p" when his ally shot him.


Abysmal Bad So-so Okay Good Very Good

Pretty good actually: While certain players may order their allies to certain death as cannon fodder so that they can get off scot-free (guilty as charged), this technique is not acceptable in the game and you'll only reward yourself with a world of pain for doing so.
Your character is also a brave and selfless squad leader who places the lives of his men above himself, even if it causes him to stumble as said leader.

Review of Game:

Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 is very generic when you say the name. But when you play the actual game, it is far from it.

The game gives you a very "cold" look at the Second World War, which is immediately apparent in it's noticeable lack of melodrama. Events happen in a gradual, yet deliberate way. The events of the game unfold across the course of eight days.

It actually feels very long because of it's difficulty and tight focus, which is extremely effective in it's goal to immerse you in the war. The story itself may not grab you at first, with a "shocking" event happening at the beginning of the game, but as you haven't been given enough time to get invested, you shrug it off and just keep playing.

Thankfully this improves towards the end, with the game's cold view on the war allowing room for ordinary soldiers to really pop out from the screen. I actually started caring along with Matt Baker about his Brothers in Arms and felt genuinely sad when they inevitably had to snuff the bucket.

Wow. I'm all up and about praising the story and atmosphere when I forgot to mention the most crucial thing: The gameplay. Anyone familiar with Rainbow Six or Swat 4 will immediately feel at home here.

The ability to command your squad is made essential by more realistic aiming and difficulty hitting the enemy on your own. Brothers in Arms uses a Suppression System: When an enemy takes cover and is unsuppressed, a red circle hangs above them to indicate their status.

Baker can thus command his own squad to lay down suppressing fire on enemy squads. The red circle will gradually become gray, and when it finally does, you have about 15 seconds of leeway before they become unsuppressed again.

In this time, it is wise to use flanking maneuvers to catch the enemy off-guard and eliminate them. Here, it is effective to do things on your own, although you can still command friendlies to swing around and give those Germans an explosive greeting.

You'll be surprised how immersive and memorable these sequences are once you jump into the actual game itself. There is no music, no dramatic cues and the fights take place in peaceful environments. Basically, it looks and feels REAL.

But let's be honest here: This game would have been nothing if not for the story. While the story does not achieve Saving Private Ryan levels of drama, it does succeed on a far simpler merit, based on it's simplicity. You care for these soldiers, not because they are macho heroes, but because they are mere men.

The ending could have used a lot more work, but I will say that the game does it's subject matter justice. When all is said and done, you can't help but remember your time with your Brothers in Arms.

Quality Verdict: Amazing (A)

Words can't do this game justice, but I will try my best: Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 is an immersive, challenging and emotional experience that cuts straight to the heart of war. Criminally underrated!


You have no complaints from me in this regard. While I stress that misuse of Jesus' name is always unnecessary and offensive, the game's treatment of violence and heart-wrenching events make this one justified by context.

I'm tempted to give this a Mature Gamers Only, but there's really nothing here that warrants that. I believe every shooter fan should experience this game at least once, regardless of the content.

The Preacher: Well said. Couldn't have said it better myself. Also, why didn't you mention that mildly suggestive photo of that woman in your conclusion?

She looked awfully lonely....

Trent: I appreciate the respect the game shows for veterans, but is a game that involves countless killings really the, to

Ah, to heck with it. I really don't have any complaints with this game, other than what Kyle mentioned. This was a highly respectful shooter and it did a much better job than Spec Ops: The Line in the portrayal of it's subject, at least in my humble opinion.

Verdict: 14+

For Bloody Violence (Justified by Context) and Strong Language (Possibly Justified by Context).


Whew! Been a while since I made a full review, eh? But not too worry. There are several more to come. Brothers in Arms Hell's Highway is next in line and will probably be up next Wednesday.

Kyle out!

Writer Bio:

Kyle van Rensburg is the Editor-in-Chief of KVR Gaming. He likes cookies.

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