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Brothers in Arms

Dee Yun Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2006-01-06 06:42:01

Four F's!

Find the Enemy!

Fix the Enemy!

Flank the Enemy!

Finish the Enemy!

These are the fundamental military tactics that Gearbox introduced to the first person shooter genre. The Rambo-style one-man-heroics inherent in most FPS games are rather silly, if you unsuspend your disbelief. The two Brothers in Arms games present a far more realistic portrayal of how outnumbered soldiers can successfully vanquish a superior force. Especially at the higher difficulty settings, you must deploy your men correctly in order to succeed. Blindly charging or relying solely on your "twitch" skills ensures your destruction. There's a special joy inherent to carefully and deliberately orchestrating a maneuver, no matter how long it takes, that results in pouring automatic .45 fire into the unprotected side or rear of a Nazi squad. And for fans of Band of Brothers, it's a must have. You play through the Normandy experiences of the 101st Airborne, and the visceral experience of "living" the book/mini-series is fantastic.

That said, I'm going to backpedal now and crown Call of Duty 2 as the official Direman Press 2005 Game of the Year. Despite the aforementioned silly heroics, the friendly AI allies do just enough to keep you immersed in a convincing World War II setting. It's utterly chaotic, as I imagine combat to be. Next-gen in this case isn't simply a matter of better graphics, but with so much action constantly erupting, the superior hardware actually becomes integral to the gameplay itself. CoD2 could not be done anywhere near this well on a current-gen system.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that CoD2 alone is a reason to purchase the 360, much as Halo was the primary incentive to pick up the original Xbox. You could play CoD2 on the PC, but to get an experience even remotely like the one the 360 delivers, you'd have to spend at least the cost of a 360 on a state-of-the-art graphics card to keep the game flowing. Toss in the spectrum of broadband multmedia functions and the 360 is quite the bargain.

Now, if only Microsoft would update their emulator database so I could play Brothers in Arms on the 360...

David Vargas David Vargas: (dave-deleteme[at]-deleteme-squishycomics [dot] com) 2006-01-06 22:37:12


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