Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway is based on a real life WWII battle called Operation Market Garden, made famous in the 1977 film A Bridge Too Far. The offensive was put together by the British and featured three airborne divisions (two US and one British) who were supposed to land in the Netherlands behind enemy lines and secure bridges at three different points.
The plan was set into action in September 1944, which happens to be four months after Operation Overlord - the premise of the other Brothers in Arms games. Unfortunately, for the soldiers things didn't turn out as planned. The Operation was initially successful with the bridges at both Eindhoven and Nijmegen secured, however the overpowering SS Panzer Corps stationed at Arnhem proved too much for the ill-equipped British 1st Airborne Division. The Germans quickly captured the British landing zones and the bridge at Arnhem. Soon after, thousands of troops were captured and the Nazis had cornered the Allied troops onto a narrow stretch of Dutch land. This narrow stretch leading up to Eindhoven became known as "Hell's Highway." It was the last great Nazi victory before the end of the war.
On the surface, the visuals in Brothers in Arms Hell's Highway are for the most part solid and for many gamers the graphics will be the best part of the game. The production value is that of a Hollywood blockbuster and some of the detail in the games cut-scenes and cinematic slow motion stuff is truly impressive. If you haven't played many next-gen shooters the visuals should really blow you away. That being said, more mature gamers and those quite familiar with the next-generation era of shooters will have some issues. The frame rate slows down and clipping issues rear their head far too often. The slow down is most prevalent during some of the cut scenes. Additionally, some of the textures appear weak and often the game turns 'grainy' which can really take away from the game play at times. Additionally, the online visuals do not appear quite as good as those during the single-player campaign.
As far as sound, Hell's Highway delivers in spades. The game's sound is an excellent complement to the strong visuals. From the solid soundtrack to the soldier chatter, explosions, gunfire and background noise this title features terrific audio best experienced in Dolby surround sound.
Hell's Highway's online play barely holds a candle to other great online modes in more recent games. On the plus side, the online multi player does have up to 20 players. Yet there are only six maps to play and a couple of game types - not enough to keep the hardcore online gamers happy.
Once you get past that initial urge to just run in with guns ablaze, Hell's Highway offers up a great experience and stands as a solid game. The presentation and story telling alone make Hell's Highway purchase worthy, solid game play is the bonus. And it stands as one of the better WWII games in recent years to hit the market, despite its glitches.Brother in Arms: Hell's Highway
Rated-M for Mature. Publisher-Ubisoft. Platforms-360, PS3, PC. Retail- $49-59.99