Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway

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Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway
Brothers in Arms - Hells Highway 300x351.jpg
Developer(s) Gearbox Software
Publisher(s) Ubisoft
Director(s) Jeramy CookeMike Wardwell
Programmer(s) Neil Johnson
Artist(s) Eli Luna
Writer(s) Mike Neumann
Series Brothers in Arms
Engine Modified Unreal Engine 3
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release date(s) PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
  • NA September 23, 2008[1]
  • EU September 26, 2008[2]
Microsoft Windows:
Genre(s) First-person shooter, tactical shooter
Mode(s) Single-player, Multiplayer
Distribution Blu-ray Disc, DVD

Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway is a 2008 tactical shooter video game. It is the third entry in the Brothers in Arms series of video games, which follows the men of the 101st Airborne Division (502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment). This game once again puts players in the role of Staff Sergeant Matt Baker during Operation Market Garden in the later stages of World War II.

Gameplay[edit]

When a command is issued, the player model uses authentic WWII infantry hand signals to issue the command to his squad; this is similar to the predecessor Brothers in Arms games. The player also has the ability to take cover behind objects and fire from a third person perspective, which is an integral part of the game's strategy.

The game had many new features, including a selection of new specialized units, including bazooka and machine gun teams. A new “health” system has replaced the more punishing set health per mission system of previous Brothers in Arms games. With this system, the player's screen begins to turn red as he exposes himself from cover and returns to normal when he returns to cover; failure to take cover will result in Baker getting shot and killed. The original "Situational Awareness" system of the first two Brothers in Arms games has been replaced with a simple tactical map that includes historically accurate reconnaissance reports based on period reconnaissance of the exact missions the player is currently playing.

One of the new features of Hell's Highway is the "action cam". When the player achieves a head shot, executes a good grenade kill, or orders a particularly explosive bazooka blast, the camera will sometimes zoom in on the action and go into slow motion, showing the enemy's gory death.

Plot[edit]

Matt Baker, the protagonist from Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30, has been promoted to Staff Sergeant. Baker is increasingly haunted by the events of the previous game, especially the unexplained deaths of Garnett and Allen, and Leggett's supposed involvement in those deaths. Baker's best friend, Staff Sergeant Joe Hartsock, commands the 2nd squad of Baker's unit as they prepare for Operation Market Garden, a high risk Airborne operation intended to "Win the War by Christmas." Baker's unit receives a few replacements, including fresh arrival Private Frankie LaRoche, and transferred replacement PFC Dawson, an Englishman. Dawson is intrigued by the stories of Baker's so called "cursed pistol". Corporal Sam Corrion is frustrated that he has been passed over for promotion three times, believing he can be as good a squad leader as Baker and Hartsock. As a test, LaRoche is put under his command.

Baker's unit safely arrives in the Netherlands on gliders and meets up with a member of the Dutch resistance, a shoemaker named Nicholas, who provides early reconnaissance information. Baker meets up with 1st Sgt. Mac Hassey, and after assisting some crashed gliders, links with the 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne, commanded by Col. Sink (voiced by Capt. Dale Dye, who also played Sink in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers). Baker's unit fights to take the Son bridge, but it is demolished by the German Army, which sets the whole operation back. Baker's unit is then assigned to take the town of Eindhoven, during which Baker, assisted by Cpl. Paddock, take out a German sniper and artillery in the town's outskirts. Nicholas tells Baker that his son, Pieter, has gone missing with his gun, apparently intending to attack the Germans. Baker's unit clears a path for British tanks to take Eindhoven, and Baker finds Pieter after the boy had killed several Germans. During a celebration by the Dutch citizens of Eindhoven, Baker reunites Nicholas with his son, while LaRoche fraternizes with a Dutch girl and starts to fall in love.

That night, as the unit rests just outside of Eindhoven, Dawson visits Baker and mentions that he met someone who knows the secret Baker is hiding. Before more is revealed, the German Luftwaffe bombs Eindhoven. Baker's unit fights into the burning rubble and meets with Hartsock's squad. Meanwhile, LaRoche leaves to find his Dutch girlfriend, despite Corrion's attempts to stop him. They find PFC Marsh killed by a sniper, which heavily traumatizes Cpl. Campbell. Paddock then shows up with the body of Pieter, who was killed alongside his father when a building collapsed. Baker, despite being disturbed by Pieter's death, leads the unit through the ruins as several German squads attempt to secure the town. They run into LaRoche leading the Dutch girl to apparent safety through a burning building. Baker runs inside, but gets disoriented by the flames and ends up jumping through a window into a river. When he comes to, Baker is near an abandoned hospital. He spots the Dutch girl being killed in cold blood and fights his way into the hospital, armed with just his pistol. He goes inside and finds LaRoche, who has been shot. LaRoche asks Baker if the girl escaped, to which Baker tries to say yes; LaRoche, with his last words, calls Baker a liar. Hartsock finds them and leads a now visibly distraught Baker back through the crumbling hospital. Baker takes Frankie's bloodstained M3 Submachine gun and uses it to kill several Germans. Immediately after Baker enters a lecture hall, a bomb falls through the skylight but is caught by the skylight's iron frame and does not go off. Baker then sees three Germans standing above him preparing to shoot, and he raises his pistol and shoots in response. Hartsock sees the whole incident and realizes that Baker was imagining the Germans and they were not actually there.

The unit leaves Eindhoven and meets with Hassey in Oedenrode. There, Hartsock admits to Hassey that he is worried about Baker's emotional stability. The rest of the unit is losing faith in Baker, especially with Operation Market Garden failing. The unit goes to Veghel, which they defend with help from British tanks. Hartsock tries to get Baker to admit his problems when they meet in a cafe, but the cafe is suddenly hit by a mortar. Baker escapes with the left side of his face severely cut, while Campbell gets wounded in the throat. Hartsock is initially assumed dead, but Corrion revives him. Col. Sink meets with Baker and asks Baker to name a replacement for Hartsock to lead the 2nd squad of the unit. Even though Corrion is hopeful, Baker instead chooses Paddock for the promotion. Corrion finally confronts Baker, who blames Corrion for LaRoche's death.

The unit then travels down the infamous Hell's Highway, where they are ambushed by Germans. Corrion is shot in the chest during the fight and must be taken to an aid station. Dawson finds Baker again and tells him that he had met Leggett in Carentan, and that Leggett told Dawson the secret about the deaths of Allen and Garnett. Dawson tells Baker to reveal the truth or Dawson himself will. During the drive back to Veghel, Paddock is shown to be troubled, admitting that back in England, he had unknowingly predicted that "Marsh and Friar were going to bite it," which has bothered him since. This causes Baker to finally tell the rest of the unit the truth about what happened to Allen and Garnett.

In a flashback, Leggett gets into a heated argument with Allen, leading to Leggett viciously assaulting Allen. Suddenly, Garnett is shot by a German, which causes Allen to kill the German in response. Another German fatally shoots Allen, but he manages to get back to his rifle and retaliate before dying himself, all while Leggett watches it happen.

Baker's unit then clears out German artillery in one last assault to clear an exit for the Allied soldiers. It is here that they finally learn that Market Garden has been a huge failure, causing over 17,000 Allied casualties. Baker goes to find out what happened to Hartsock and runs into a recovered Corrion, who has already heard the true story about Leggett and has completely lost trust in Baker, telling him, "We are never fighting together again." Baker then goes to the unit's medic, who tells Baker that Hartsock was paralyzed in the mortar hit. Baker breaks the news to Hartsock, saying that Hartsock is now able to go home to his wife and the infant daughter he has never met. Baker promises he will meet up with Hartsock again after the war is over.

Now on the verge of emotional breakdown, Baker is approached by Leggett (though, when seen from Dawson's point of view, Baker is only imagining it), who first taunts Baker for failing to protect his fellow soldiers and then hints at what will come ahead for Baker and his unit, asking him "You've made it through Hell. How do you feel about...snow?", hinting at the upcoming Battle of the Bulge. Baker pulls himself together and, with new determination, makes a passionate speech to his unit, saying that he will continue to lead them until the end comes. He also finally has enough of the rumors of his "cursed pistol" and throws it into the nearby woods, saying that it is just a gun.

While the rest of the unit rally to Baker, Corrion walks away as Baker watches.

Development[edit]

Brothers in Arms booth at E3 2006

Release[edit]

The game was officially released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on September 23, 2008[1] in North America, and was in stores on September 20, 2008. The Microsoft Windows version was released two weeks later, on October 7, 2008. It was made available on Steam on October 8, 2008.[4]

Gearbox officially announced a special, limited edition version of the game which included a 6 inch Sergeant Matt Baker figure with 13 accessories, a blister pack holding the figure and accessories, a 32-page Brothers in Arms First Edition comic book, a full-color map of Operation Market Garden, special packaging, and 2 more playable multiplayer characters.[5]

Novelization[edit]

On July 29, 2008, Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway was published by Presidio Press as a companion novel for the video game by the video game's historical director, Colonel John Antal, who served in the United States Army and retired after 30 years.[6]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 76.45%(PS3)[10]
77.44%(Xbox 360)[11]
77.75%(PC)[12]
Metacritic 76/100(PS3)[7]
76/100(Xbox 360)[8]
79/100(PC) [9]
Review scores
Publication Score
Edge 6/10[13]
Eurogamer 70%[14]
Game Informer 7.75/10[15]
GameSpot 8.5/10[citation needed]
IGN 7.6/10[16]
Official Xbox Magazine 9/10[17]
PlayStation 3 Magazine 70%[citation needed]
X-Play 3/5 stars[18]

Brothers in Arms Hell's Highway overall received positive praise. PC Gamer called it "The best looking WWII game ever made."

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Paul, Ure (September 19, 2004). "Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway Release Date's". ActionTrip. Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  2. ^ a b "Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway Lowdown". Game. September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  3. ^ "Gamespot PC Release Date,". Game. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  4. ^ "Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway™ on Steam". Store.steampowered.com. 2008-10-08. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  5. ^ "Brothers In Arms Delayed. Again". Kotaku.com. 2008-07-28. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  6. ^ "Hell's Highway (Brothers in Arms): Amazon.co.uk: John Antal: Books". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  7. ^ "Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway for PlayStation 3 Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  8. ^ "Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway for Xbox 360 Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  9. ^ "Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway for PC Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  10. ^ "Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway for PlayStation 3". GameRankings. 2008-09-23. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  11. ^ "Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway for Xbox 360". GameRankings. 2008-09-23. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  12. ^ "Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway for PC". GameRankings. 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  13. ^ "Edge Review: Brothers in Arms Hell's Highway". N4G. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  14. ^ Reed, Kristan (2008-09-23). "Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway Review • Page 2 • Reviews •". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  15. ^ by admin (2009-09-22). "Feels a Little Like We've Been Here Before... - Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway - Xbox 360". www.GameInformer.com. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  16. ^ "Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway - Xbox 360 - IGN". Xbox360.ign.com. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  17. ^ http://www.oxmonline.com/article/reviews/xbox-360/a-f/brothers-arms-hells-highway
  18. ^ Hunt, Jonathan (2008-09-24). "Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway Review for PC". G4tv. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 

External links[edit]