Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30

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Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30
Biafront.jpg
Developer(s)Gearbox Software
Publisher(s)Ubisoft
Director(s)
Designer(s)
  • Randy Pitchford
  • Brian Martel
Programmer(s)
  • Patrick Deupree
  • Steve Jones
Artist(s)
  • Brian Martel
  • Jeramy Cooke
Writer(s)
  • Mike Neumann
  • John Antal
Composer(s)Stephen Harwood
SeriesBrothers in Arms
EngineUnreal Engine 2
Platform(s)
ReleaseXbox
  • NA: March 1, 2005[1]
  • EU: March 18, 2005
Microsoft Windows
  • NA: March 8, 2005[1]
  • EU: March 18, 2005
PlayStation 2
  • NA: March 15, 2005[1]
  • EU: March 18, 2005
Genre(s)First-person shooter
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 is a first-person shooter video game developed by Gearbox Software and published by Ubisoft for Xbox, Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 2. It is the first game in the Brothers in Arms series. The game takes place during World War II and focuses on tactics. It was ported to the Wii in 2008, as part of the Brothers in Arms: Double Time compilation.

Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 was used to recreate scenarios in a 2005 History Channel special, titled Brothers in Arms.

Gameplay[edit]

In most levels of Brothers in Arms, the player is in command of one or two separate 1-3 man teams, with the exception of several sections in which the player is not in command of any unit. There are two types of teams, which are automatically provided before each mission:

Additionally, some levels provide the player with a tank in lieu of a team, providing players with heavy firepower and mobile cover. The player can man the pintle-mounted M1919 Browning machine gun on the tank for additional suppression.

Brothers in Arms is notable for its intuitive command system. Teams and tanks can be ordered to move, lay suppressive fire, rally, find cover, and charge the enemy. The game stresses at multiple points the effectiveness of fire and maneuver tactics, known as the Four Fs actually used by the military during World War II, expressed in the game tutorial as "Find, Fix, Flank, Finish" describing the steps in suppressing and flanking an enemy.

The focus on team command rather than individual marksmanship is emphasized by providing the player with inaccurate aim. Brothers in Arms models weapons with erratic accuracy, and enemy fire can interfere with a player's aim to simulate the effects of suppressive fire. The relative lack of accuracy is designed to simulate the difficulty in hitting targets in a combat situation and to force the player to use team members to engage enemy units and provide better tactical opportunities.

Plot[edit]

On June 4, 1944, Sergeant Matt Baker participates in the initial jump off, taking place hours before the Normandy Landings. Baker is separated from his team during insertion when their glider is hit by anti-aircraft fire. Baker is thrown from the plane. Baker regroups with 1st Sergeant Mac Hassey, radioman Private First Class Leggett and Lieutenant. Colonel Cole. Despite beingoff course, the group led by Mac destroy several Flak 38 anti-aircraft guns using satchel explosives. By morning, more of the squad has managed to find one another, including BAR gunner Corporal Joseph "Red" Hartsock, who Mac delegates to Baker to clear an important road leading to Utah Beach. After fighting their way through several German soldiers, as well as a mortar team, Baker and Hartsock link up with squadmates Allen and Garnett, the four paratroopers defend against a counterattack from the beach and succeed in securing an exit for the 4th Infantry Division.

With the beachhead secure, Baker, Hartsock, Allen, and Garnett are tasked to clear out "Objective XYZ", a makeshift German barracks housing scores of Germans.

After securing a landing field for Glider Infantry reinforcements, he 502nd is then tasked with clearing the town of Vierville on D-Day+1, with assistance from an M5 Stuart light tank whose commander happens to be Baker's best friend, Sergeant George Risner. Baker's squad and Risner manage to clear the town, as well as repel an armored counterattack before embarking on the tank to secure a vital crossroad near Saint-Côme-du-Mont in the next mission. Although successful in breaking through the heavy German defenses, Risner's tank is ambushed and immobilized by a Panzerfaust. Risner dies making a heroic last stand to ensure Baker's survival.

On D-Day+2, still dealing with Risner's death, Baker and the regrouped 502nd assault Saint-Côme-du-Mont. Mac instructs Baker to first clear out a German machine gun nest which has been making transit in the area risky for the troops. Baker and his squad succeed in doing so and are tasked with retaking the town from the occupying Fallschirmjäger forces. The next day, Baker learns from Leggett that Allen and Garnett died after securing a barn. Baker's team fights through the remaining stragglers from Vierville including StuG IV assault guns to destroy a bridge that could be used to transport German armor towards the beaches. With an M4 Sherman tank in support, Baker wrestles control of the bridge from the Germans and destroys it.

Carentan, the crossroad town linking Utah and Omaha beaches is the next designated target for the 502nd. On D-Day+4, Baker links up with Cole to secure a causeway leading to Carentan and take it from the Germans. Stuka bombers, however, attack the causeway, knocking Baker unconscious for a day and killing one of his men. The next day, with a recovered Baker, Lt. Col. Cole leads an attack on a heavily defended German farmhouse, using smoke barrages to conceal themselves from the numerous machine gun emplacements. Two hours pass after the charge, the 502nd repels a German counterattack.

The next day, D-Day+6, Baker and the 502nd push into Carentan, destroying German armor and making steady progress. The town, with much difficulty, is liberated, but Baker's squad loses more men and barely holds the town when the Germans attempt to retake it with tank support. After this, the 101st Airborne Division moves slightly out of Carentan before being struck by a massive German counterattack. Baker's men fight their way through German armor and infantry as they make their way to the main defensive positions. Upon arriving, however, Baker is quickly knocked unconscious twice in the fierce action, witnessing Leggett's death; when he awakes, Mac sends him off the line alone to find nearby American armored reinforcements from the 2nd Armored Division. Baker successfully finds two tanks and helps drive off the German attackers and saving the remaining paratroopers.

The exhausted paratroopers are sent back to Carentan, where Mac informs them that they have performed excellently and that they had sent a message to Hitler that "his days are numbered". Mac announces Hartsock's promotion to Sergeant, appointing him in command of another squad, and that a "Colonel Marshall" is waiting to interview them on their experiences. Mac, however, then privately tells Baker that "this isn't over" and welcomes him to "the end of the beginning" as Carentan suddenly comes under bombardment, and the squad charges once again into action with Baker at the lead.

Development[edit]

Brothers in Arms uses a modified version of the Unreal Engine 2.0 with various effects such as motion blur, colored and lighting, anisotropic filtering, rag-doll physics, realistic ballistics, surround sound and dampening.[2][3] The story behind Brothers in Arms was based on the missions that were conducted by the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, of the famed 101st Airborne Division, behind enemy lines during D-Day. Randy Pitchford, the developer of the game, described it as "the best game [he's] ever worked on".[4] He and his development team tried to recreate the actual look of 1944 Normandy and its buildings, landmarks, streets and battlefields. They researched about the real soldiers who fought there, the historical reconnaissance photographs, and operations and battles such as Operation XYZ, Utah Beach and Purple Heart Lane. Their research included interviewing various veterans and shooting the actual weapons from the game's timeline.[5]

Retired Colonel of the US Army John Antal was the consultant of the development team in creating the game's innovative tactical gameplay.[4] He was tasked in making sure that the action and the commands were accurate and authentic as possible, and he taught the development team both in the classroom and the field about real-combat decision making and firefights. The development team researched and analyzed other tactical and strategy shooters in order to create their own unique gameplay in Brothers in Arms. They designed the characters to behave like real trained soldiers that were fully capable of engaging the enemy, covering each other, and getting good firing positions to engage from. Pitchford described the development of the game as "expensive and time consuming", and the process in making the game took several prototypes and attempts that cost them time, resources and ideas.[4] These attempts were made in order to make the tactical combat as fun and engaging as possible, without making it look like other standard shooters in the market. Pitchford had a problem in making the story due to the fact that World War II shooters were as "scripted as a Disneyland ride and not as interactive" in the current video game industry.[4] The development team made sure that the story was not as clichéd and scripted as other World War II stories, and make the game as dynamic and plausible with players actually caring for their character's lives and the combat they're into. The game was released on March 15, 2005 for Xbox, PS2 and PC. Ubisoft Shanghai assisted in porting and releasing the game for the PS2.[4] Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 was Gearbox Software's first independently owned game, and Pitchford made sure to protect its license from other publishers who want to buy it. Pitchford gave credit to Ubisoft in taking the risk, giving them freedom to develop the game as their own and helping them in its marketing.[6]

Reception[edit]

Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 was a commercial success, selling 1.7 million copies by the end of March 2005.[35][36] Brothers in Arms' computer release received a "Silver" sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA),[37] indicating sales of at least 100,000 copies in the United Kingdom.[38]

Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 received "generally favorable" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[7][8][9]

Philip Morton of Thunderbolt gave the game a perfect 10/10 rating and called it as "exactly what the genre needed". He praised the gameplay that he described as "honed to near-perfection".[5]

However, the game's repetitive gameplay have garnered negative feedback from other critics. Maxim gave the PS2 and Xbox versions a score of 8/10 and wrote that "gamers with short attention spans will likely find all the squad management tedious, but we think it adds a much-needed dimension to a very stale genre".[39]

Detroit Free Press gave the Xbox version 3 out of 4 stars, saying that it "could have been a four-star game, were it not for a couple of things that don't work well. You can press a button to give you an overhead view during missions. But instead of helping to advance the plot, the swirling, zooming view left me dizzy. And the enemy intelligence is set pretty low, meaning they don't pursue you with much cunning".[33]

The Sydney Morning Herald on the other hand, which gave the game 4 out of 5 stars, praised the AI which they described as intelligent, but criticized the redundant gameplay saying that "most encounters are overcome using the same method: laying suppressing fire and flanking".[34]

Legacy[edit]

Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 is considered by many to be one of the best World War II video games and tactical shooters today.[5][40] Gaming sites and critics praised the innovation in gameplay that Brothers in Arms brought into the World War II video game genre, which was already becoming stale and unpopular at that time. During its release, GameSpot called it "one of the best World War II gaming experiences to date".[41] Gamerant ranked it as #7 in its "9 Best World War II Video Games" list, stating that "whereas most World War II shooters tend to focus on mindless action, Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 is all about smart strategy and tactics, and that it "also has a greater focus on character development than other games of its ilk, resulting in one of the more emotionally mature World War II video game narratives available for gamers to experience".[42]

As a historical game, Philip Morton of Thunderbolt praised the game for more accurately and realistically capturing the time period than other games before it.[5] He stated that other games in the genre, such as Call of Duty and Medal of Honor, were Hollywood versions of the War, and described Brothers in Arms as the video game equivalent of Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers by being an "authentic and emotional portrayal of war". Morton claimed that it was "without a doubt the best World War II game ever made." Ben Griffin of PC Gamer praised it for its real portrayal of war, describing it as "a great history lesson, effortlessly straddling the line between authentic and enjoyable".[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Surette, Tim (February 24, 2005). "Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 strikes gold". GameSpot. Retrieved February 24, 2005.
  2. ^ a b Griffin, Ben. "Reinstall: Brothers in Arms". PC Gamer. April 16, 2014
  3. ^ Leaf, Thomas. "PC Review - 'Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30'". Worth Playing. April 7, 2005
  4. ^ a b c d e Staff. "Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 Q&A - Final Thoughts". GameSpot. March 3, 2005
  5. ^ a b c d Morton, Philip. "Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30". Thunderbolt. Archived from the original on 2017-12-01. Retrieved 2016-07-10. April 7, 2005
  6. ^ Nutt, Christian. "Catching Up With Gearbox's Randy Pitchford". Gamasutra.
  7. ^ a b "Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 for PlayStation 2 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 for Xbox Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  10. ^ EGM staff (May 2005). "Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30". Electronic Gaming Monthly (191): 122.
  11. ^ Reed, Kristan (March 31, 2005). "Brothers In Arms: Road To Hill 30 (PC)". Eurogamer. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  12. ^ Kato, Matthew (April 2005). "Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 (PS2)". Game Informer (144): 124. Archived from the original on September 18, 2008. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  13. ^ Kato, Matthew (May 2005). "Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 (Xbox)". Game Informer (145): 85. Archived from the original on 2007-05-28. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  14. ^ Fart of War (March 7, 2005). "Brothers in Arms [Road to Hill 30] Review for Xbox on GamePro.com". GamePro. Archived from the original on March 16, 2005. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  15. ^ Gee, Brian (March 17, 2005). "Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 - xbox Review". Game Revolution. Archived from the original on March 17, 2005. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  16. ^ Gee, Brian (March 30, 2005). "Brothers In Arms: Road to Hill 30 Review (PC)". Game Revolution. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  17. ^ Colayco, Bob (March 18, 2005). "Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 Review (PC)". GameSpot. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  18. ^ Colayco, Bob (March 21, 2005). "Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 Review (PS2)". GameSpot. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  19. ^ Colayco, Bob (March 7, 2005). "Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 Review (Xbox)". GameSpot. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  20. ^ Accardo, Sal (March 18, 2005). "GameSpy: Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 (PC)". GameSpy. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  21. ^ Tuttle, Will (March 21, 2005). "GameSpy: Brothers in Arms [Road to Hill 30] (PS2)". GameSpy. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  22. ^ Tuttle, Will (March 2, 2005). "GameSpy: Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 (Xbox)". GameSpy. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  23. ^ "Brothers In Arms: Road to Hill 30 Review". GameTrailers. March 19, 2005. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  24. ^ Giacobbi, Kevin "BIFF" (March 27, 2005). "Brothers In Arms: Road to Hill 30 - PC - Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on October 4, 2008. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  25. ^ Hopper, Steven (April 4, 2005). "Brothers In Arms: Road to Hill 30 - PS2 - Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on December 30, 2008. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  26. ^ Valentino, Nick (March 12, 2005). "Brothers In Arms: Road to Hill 30 - XB - Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on October 6, 2008. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  27. ^ Butts, Steve (March 15, 2005). "Brothers in Arms (PC)". IGN. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  28. ^ Butts, Steve (March 17, 2005). "Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 (PS2)". IGN. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  29. ^ Butts, Steve (March 1, 2005). "Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 (Xbox)". IGN. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  30. ^ "Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30". Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine: 106. May 2005.
  31. ^ "Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30". Official Xbox Magazine: 76. April 2005.
  32. ^ "Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30". PC Gamer: 56. May 2005.
  33. ^ a b Schaefer, Jim (March 20, 2005). "D-Day challenge: 'Brothers in Arms' drops players into the 101st Airborne on World War II's most important day". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on March 20, 2005. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  34. ^ a b Wilcox, Mark (April 16, 2005). "In dire straits". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  35. ^ "Ubisoft publie ses résultats" (Press release) (in French). Agence française pour le jeu vidéo. April 29, 2005. Archived from the original on October 19, 2005.
  36. ^ "4th Quarter 2004-2005 Sales: €221 Million (Up by 50% at Constant Exchange Rates) FY 2004-2005: 17 Million Units Sold Under 8 Major Brands, Operating Cash Flow* Over €50 Million" (Press release). Ubisoft. April 28, 2005. Archived from the original on September 21, 2017.
  37. ^ "ELSPA Sales Awards: Silver". Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association. Archived from the original on February 21, 2009. Retrieved February 3, 2009.
  38. ^ Caoili, Eric (November 26, 2008). "ELSPA: Wii Fit, Mario Kart Reach Diamond Status In UK". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on September 18, 2017.
  39. ^ "Brothers in Arms (PS2, Xbox)". Maxim. 2005.
  40. ^ McCarter, Reid. "The 10 Best World War II Videogames". Paste Magazine. April 16, 2014
  41. ^ Colayco, Bob. "Gamespot: Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 review". GameSpot. March 18, 2005
  42. ^ Griffin, Ben. "9 Best World War II Video Games". Gamerant. April 16, 2014

External links[edit]