Maximum PC Staff Jan 01, 2009

Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway

At A Glance

Coconut Clusters

Character-driven story, intense tactical action, and gorgeous cinematic presentation.

Cluster Bombs

Forgettable multiplayer mode and linear tank missions.

We’ve played plenty of World War II shooters but have yet to find one that makes us care for its characters like we did for Tom Hanks and Vin Diesel in Saving Private Ryan. Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway comes close and rekindles our love of gritty 1940s warfare with its perfect combination of nail-biting tactical shoot-outs and a gripping character-driven story—an admirable feat in modern first-person shooters.

As Matt Baker, you’ve come a long way since first leading your squad in the original game. Your men aren’t just nameless soldiers—each squad member is brought to life with a unique likeness and vocal personality. And this time around, you have additional troops at your command to relinquish the Nazis from their hold on Holland. Deployable base-of-fire, assault, machine gun, and bazooka fire teams pin down enemies while you sneak around adjacent hedgerows to flank, a reliable tactic which offers many rewarding strategic approaches on the battlefield.

In one particularly memorable mission, we tried to reclaim the city of Eindhoven from Nazi control. Firefights took place in farms, churches, and graveyards, and on the city streets, where every fence and building corner became an opportunity to take cover. We directed a machine gun team to suppress a sandbag fortification and instructed our bazooka team to blow up a nearby steeple, where a sniper was hiding. The diverse arrangement of battlefields—both indoor and outdoor—kept the action fresh.

Requisite sniping and tank-driving missions are fun breaks from the tense tactical gameplay but are a little too easy. The visuals and production values are also impressive, with plenty of cinematic details to enhance the drama. But Hell’s Highway’s greatest asset is that it never loses sight of its (often dark) story, and the gameplay is better for it.

Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway

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