In fact, they're a dime a thousand, with each new game more stereotyped than the one before it. Ergo, there's a very good reason that only a few of them are ever really successful. And C:GS does not come under that category.
The idea is good enough (even if it's a tad unoriginal): you're put in charge of a tactical squad of four called Red Team, which consists of Sergeant Bradley, Corporal Jones, Corporal Connors, Corporal Foley, and later, Corporal Sherman as well. Naturally, you're sent into a number of hostile locations throughout the game-ranging from Russia to Kashmir! The idea is straightforward-complete the mission by any means necessary and get the hell outta there! Simple enough-or so you'd think.
Unfortunately, the game is marred by a number of basic errors that ruin its playability. Take the AI for example. The user's manual proudly claims that AI has been significantly improved since the last instalment, which makes you wonder if anyone but the worst novice had trouble completing it. The fact is that the AI is extremely dumb! Apparently, running straight into you from all directions is the only way your opponents know how to kill. Sure, there is the odd exception, but that doesn't matter because it upsets your "sit in a corner-aim-shoot" tactic only for a little while.
And it's not like your team is any better. They might be corporals, but they're dumb enough to be toilet cleaning privates. Their aim is worse than that of my arthritic grandma, and they waste bullets like they come for free. This is ironic really, because the bullets do appear to come for free! The amount of ammunition available throughout the level is so unreal, it's not funny! Each squad member seems to be able to carry a pistol, a knife, an assault rifle, medkits, grenades of multiple varieties, and hundreds of rounds of ammo for each weapon. What are they feeding these guys?
Speaking of medkits, the unbelievable health system in this game will have you ROTFL. Would you believe the best tactic for healing yourself is to let yourself die? Yup, some genius at Pivotal Games decided that a medkit should fully restore your health, no matter when you use it. And the icing on the cake-even if you die, the mission fails only if each and every squad member dies! So the most effective way of using medkits is to wait till a member dies, then go revive him with a medkit, and voila-he's back to full health! It makes you wonder: are the guys at Pivotal retards, or do they think we are retards?
It's not all gloom and doom though. What the AI lacks in intelligence, it makes up for in numbers. So you'll always be kept on your toes when under attack. There's also the occasio-nal battle that will actually be difficult and might even require multiple tries before you succeed. The graphics are good, too, with lots of nice touches like bullet holes in walls and even butterflies flying around! The squad control is not really intuitive or in-depth, but good enough for the game.
At the end of the day, C:GS could have been a good game, but some basic flaws make it an average game at best. It's certainly good entertainment and quite often a laugh riot, but for all the wrong reasons. The bottomline-it's a good way to kill time, but not worth it if you want to play a real game. Five on 10!
Every so often, one wishes that one could palm off a game review to someone else. I've always maintained that the WWII theme has been grossly overdone-from strategy to shooters to god-knows-what. Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood (EiB) is a mix of both-you need strategy and tactics to finish your enemy, as well as some of that "blowing holes in people" thing that we all love so much.
In EiB, you follow the (real-life) experiences of Sgt Joe "Red" Hartsock, as he and his squad made their way around France, dodging "those blasted Krauts" and their Panzers. There is no real story, actually-you just live through all their missions, while Red describes them to a Colonel S.L.A. Marshal in a post D-Day interview.
You clearly aren't Rambo. If Red's slightly wimpy-looking character doesn't give that away, then the fact that frontal assaults often result in death will. You need to follow the four 'F's to get rid of your enemy-Find, Fix, Flank, Finish! To fix your enemy, you need to lay bullets on them thick-this will suppress them, and you can see this in the handy suppression indicator over their heads. Suppressed enemies fight back less, and are less accurate when they do. And now comes the strategy part-you need to figure out a way to get around them and hit them from the side. The "Situational Awareness Mode," which gives you an aerial view of your location, lets you survey the scene around you, check out points with good cover, and decide on your attack strategy. Switching between shooter and situational awareness is seamless and quite impressive.
Gather Round, Children
The game has ten chapters, each of which is humanly possible to clear. Cutscenes fill the gap with some good voice-acting, but you can't skip them if you just want to get straight to the action.
Through these fields of destruction...
Baptisms of fire
Once done with the chapters, turn to the skirmish mode-especially the 'Timed Assault', which has you eliminating as many enemies as possible in a given amount of time. Or try your hand at the back-breakingly tough "Tour of Duty"-five missions to complete without dying. You can go through skirmish missions as a German, too!
"Dammit Red, Get DOWN!"
EiB is not just about you. You have a squad to lead, and they will play an important role in your victory. Commandeering a team sounds dicey in anything but a strategy game, but this is alarmingly easy in EiB-a right-click here, a [Shift] there; big plus points to Gearbox for this. You usually get one Assault squad, and every so often, a Fire squad. And sometimes, that Fire squad is a tank. There's probably a 'propah' protocol for what squad to use for what purpose, but since they're both good at facilitating general mayhem, it doesn't really matter. Your team is smart enough to protect itself well in sticky situations, so you don't need to baby-sit them all the time. They also warn you of danger when you start taking bullets; this gets a tad repetitive.
"Let's get those %(*@#$%s!"
Battlefields are good and busy in this game. While you shouldn't expect incessant, gut-wrenching battle all the time, it's still fun enough. Your enemies don't just shoot at you from their positions; while you sit and figure out your attack plan, they keep coming closer and flanking you-to pressure you into doing something stupid like standing up and blasting away with your gun, only to be quickly dispensed with.
It's often happened in shooters that you'd end up killing wayward team-mates if they ended up in your way during a battle. To ensure the safety of your buddies, EiB forbids this-point at them and shoot, and all you get is a click and a big "Not Allowed" symbol.
An annoying thing about being in battle is that the guns are awfully inaccurate. You're supposed to look down the barrel of the gun to get better aim, but all you end up getting is a close-up of your gun-you can barely see the guy you want to shoot!
Another gripe is that when you've emptied all your bullets, you need to release the mouse button and click it again to reload. Many a time, you don't even realise that your clip's empty till you try to shoot someone and find yourself going through the motions of reloading your weapon. The result?
Self: Assault! Blaaaa! We're gonna kill you al…[click!] Darn!
German: [Miscellaneous German Sounds]! [Bang!] Haha!
Tour de France
The game has you playing in smallish parts of French towns and the countryside. Everything is quite well-detailed, but the maps are too restrictive. It's surprising how you aren't allowed to jump over walls that are barely waist-height, or even walk through bushes! We're still hoping for a WWII shooter that allows for some more freedom.
As the battle raged higher
You did not desert me, My Brothers in Arms...
And though they did hurt me so bad, In the fear and alarm
I've witnessed your suffering...
The graphics in the game aren't too great-at least, not comparable to most shooters today. Nevertheless, some really well-done texturing ensures that it's still quite pleasing to the eye. And really, it doesn't matter-the gameplay more than makes up for any shortcoming in the graphics. Environmental sounds are what you would expect them to be-you can hear random gunfire in the background, bullets whizzing past you and thudding into the ground, and the occasional anti-aircraft battery. The guns sound incredible, even on a regular 2.1 speaker system. The US BAR sub-machine gun has a brilliant bass thump, as does the German MG 42 machine gun.
Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood is a really good game-more so if you actually like WWII shooters. The AI is good, the sound is good, it looks pretty, has some intense action with choice amounts of gore, and is rife with some fun abuses you wouldn't want anyone below 17 hearing. Seven on ten for this one, because the many, many annoyances mar the whole experience.