Brothers in Arms

by Guest Writer David “Stormtrooper” Tessier

Introduction

Are you ready for another WW II First Person Shooter (FPS)? What makes this one different than all the others out there? Let’s take a look under the hood of BiA and see.

The first big difference is that BiA is also a squad tactical shooter. At various points in the game you control one and sometimes two fire teams or one fire team and armor support. Some games give you a bunch of AI and maybe it’s just easier to leave them at home. Not in BiA, you had better bring your brothers with you or you’re in a world of hurt. These AI actually help you.

If you’re looking for a game where you can shoot from the hip or bunny hop this is not for you. Utilizing cover and taking well-aimed shots (use the iron sights) at the enemy will provide you greater success. In other words don’t run and gun, it will get you nowhere. The game is also blessed with using the Unreal Tournament engine, which works really well. Maybe we’ll see some great mods coming out soon.

Installation and Setup

BiA is a standard install as with most games. Insert the DVD into the DVD player and follow the on-screen instructions. DirectX 9.0c is available on the DVD. However, after installation, I changed a few things in the options menu and I had to restart the game! I did not care for that. In most games the screen will just flicker then send you back. Not here, you have to shut the game off and restart in order to view new settings.

Graphics and Sound

The in-game graphics in BiA are amazing. The terrain and vegetation was very well done. The waving of the grass and trees as the wind blows through them is a great feature. Background effects are very nice. Off in the distance you’ll see the flashes and tracers of enemy anti-aircraft guns firing at allied aircraft and hear the thunder of distant artillery. Very atmospheric.

I played the game in 1024x 768 which worked really well for me. There wasn’t any frame lag and everything ran smoothly.

A few notable exceptions to the otherwise excellent graphics. For instance all the buildings had a blocky straight line look to them. In some missions, your task is to destroy tanks with a panzerfraust. When the tank explodes yellow blobs of fire shoot out from different directions, which didn’t look very realistic. The muzzle flash on the heavy machine guns seemed way over done. You’re practically blinded and are forced to fire short bursts just to see if you’re hitting anyone.

The sound was quite good other then the enemy machine guns — that seemed like timed 3-second burst -stop- 3-second burst, like wav file of a broken record. Gearbox actually went out to a firing range and recorded many of the in-game weapons sounds. The whomp of grenades and placed charges exploding had a real feeling to them that I liked. You’ll hear birds chirping and the rain falling in a couple of maps. If you shoot an enemy soldier near water listen closely and you’ll hear the splash! However, some of the characters kept repeating the same lines over and over even in different chapters. Platoon Sergeant Mac kept saying, “Here we go.” OK, go Mac!

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