Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 review

Predecessor to the game I recently vilified, Hell’s Highway, Road to Hill 30 gets certain things right, but also continues certain trends of inaccuracies that are present throughout the series of Brothers in Arms.

Some might say Road to Hill 30 is a “heavily cinematic” experience. I suppose they might be right; unskippable cut scenes and a extremely long and arduous forced tutorial play out over the entire first level. Even if you beat all the chapters and go back and reload them, all the cut scenes and tutorials are still not skipable. This left me gnashing my teeth the entire way.

I usually find most war stories in video games to be droll, this one did not disappoint. I remember I enjoyed it when I was younger, playing through it for the first time. However, revisiting the game years later to re-experience the game play has been a frustrating task, wading through long cut scene after cut scene of tongue in cheek jokes or heavy emotional pandering.

Matt Baker’s monologues before each sequence had me cringing pretty hard.

Because Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 is advertised as an authentic WWII experience I think cutting so many corners on weapons development is a little ridiculous.

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The iconic 1911 pistol never has its slide lock back when empty. When you fire your last round the slide falls forward and even if you pull the trigger a second time your hammer doesn’t fall on the empty chamber, you simply initiate a reload.  You do not rack the slide either. A round simply teleports into the chamber I guess.

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Your 1911 also ejects full sized 30-06 casings. However, this is indicative of the typical laziness of the series.

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The mothering is nonstop during the entire first chapter. Many restrictions, hints and prompts so that a brain dead idiot could beat it.

Hints can be turned off via the option menu, but even then, building a game around allowing people to beat it with out even trying is a stupid move.

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On a positive note, the Kar98k feeds from singular rounds when its internal box magazine is partially full and full stripper clips when it’s empty. This attention to detail was woefully missing from Hell’s Highway. Pictured is the reload animation for feeding single rounds.

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Picture is the reload animation for when the weapon is empty.

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During the entire first chapter the game will not allow you to commit fratricide. As I said before, it will hold your hand or drag you to the finish line.

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Here is the M1 Thompson also chambered in 30-06. I’m not sure why anyone thought this was okay to do as it is incredibly noticeable even to the undiscerning eye.

As in Hell’s Highway there is absolutely no ammo management for your squad. Tell them to go cyclic on every single enemy they see, it doesn’t matter.

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M1 Thompsons also perpetually have their bolts closed.

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The MP40 sub machine gun, also chambered in 30-06, fires from the closed bolt as well.

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The M1 Garand, much like the Kar98k has properly animated administrative and tactical reloads. The M1 Garand is pictured reloading a partially spent enbloc. The character removes the partially spent enbloc before loading a new one.

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The character, on empty, will simply load a new enbloc. This attention to detail is once again what would have set this game apart if applied to the entirety of the game instead of selectively.

The dramatic story telling that was chock full of Band of Brothers tropes is hard to swallow as an actual combat veteran. I found myself rolling my eyes multiple times through out the game.

Unfortunately its over emphasis on the tired story telling definitely took away from the budget to make a competent or unique tactical squad level combat game. In essence you’ve traded attention to detail for long drawn out cut scenes and narration.

You’ll find that the level design is all based around the rudimentary and very basic practice of infantry warfare. This is so apparent at times that you’ll wish for a more organic set of levels. They sort of accomplish this in Hell’s Highway but all the while regressing in so many different areas as they mature their series.

In closing I’ll say that while Road To Hill 30 is a vast improvement over Hell’s Highway I wouldn’t say it has any instruction or educational value. While it’s not a terrible game, the rigidity of the game design, the lack of detail and forced story telling left me getting bored pretty quickly.

 

 

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