Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | 11.01.05
Introduction:In less then a year Ubisoft is treating gamers to another WWII Brothers In Arms game. I admit that I was surprised when I heard of it's release date coming so soon. Although what is better then feeding off of the hype of the outstanding Road to Hill 30. We took our time with this one and measured it against the competition, itself.
The Game: It shouldn't come to shock to anyone that Brothers In Arms: Earned in Blood plays just like the first game, like I mentioned it's been less then a year since the first BIA game! Considering the first game was one of the best gaming experiences I've had in a long time, they really didn't need to change a thing. If you are new to the series then you'll most likely fall in love like the rest of the gaming community. Earned in Blood like Road to Hill 30 is as a squad based, tactical first person shooter set in WWII. It's the new school of shooters and we are digging the change.
Earned in Blood follows the footsteps of Joe "Red" Hartstock a US Airborne trooper sent in behind enemy lines in France. Keeping with the authenticity of the series you will be following in true to life based missions as you cross the French countryside. Red might sound familiar to you because you actual meet him in the first BIA game. These two stories have overlapping storylines which is really cool and gives you warm memories of playing through Road to Hill 30. Earned in Blood has the same production as the first game and again you will be playing through like a documentary as Joe gives his thoughts on each mission you'll be facing. This works exceptionally well with the subject matter and it's almost surreal to imagine events like took place.
The in game action has been aced up a bit. The controls are the same, but those nasty Nazi solders have been given a boost to their AI. If you had a hard time with number one then this one will give another headache because amped up nicely. If the enemy has a reworked AI then so does you squad mates and that's good news, although while I was playing they did a few stupid moves and there still can be some tweaking to be done. The squads are also the same with one firing team for aggressive movements and support team for pinning the enemy down. I really couldn't handle any more micro management so I am glad they stopped there. Although I can almost guarantee that Gearbox will throw more our way in the next BIA game.
Vehicles are also still kept in Earned in Blood which is great. Taking control of Tanks are so much fun with a supporting team running beside. The strategy really jumps another level when dealing with armored killing machines. Speaking about strategy the in game tactics are the same as before, suppress and flank. With the improved AI the enemy will retreat and attack according to your movement and these little buggers will actually charge your location which didn't happen often in Road to Hill 30. It actually shocked me the first few times I was ambushed, Brothers in Arms knows how to keep you on your toes that's for sure.
Earned in Blood will take you on an adventure similar to Road to Hill 30 across the countryside battling it out in different environments. Even though you follow a linear path each mission can be tackled so many different ways and this is one of the most appealing aspects of Brothers In Arms. The value really holds up and if you are like me you will find yourself going back to missions after the game is done just to try out new tactical strategies. In the end the gameplay is solid as before and keeps us satisfied for one more adventure.
Graphics & Sound:
The graphics and sound hasn't been improved much from the Road to Hill 30, actually I couldn't tell if there was a difference. Not like that matters because they who presentation and level of detail is pretty stunning, once again. The only improvement I would adjust for next time is bumping up the textures in the environments and re-model the characters. At times both aspects looked washed out and flat. Everything else from the lighting to the animation is excellent and the sound follow right in and keeps the game moody and authentic. The voice acting was nailed and it's nice to see they didn't change it up the documentary style from the original game.
Innovation: Earned in Blood is still an innovative game even if it's more of the same as Road to Hill 30. This series still is king of the mountain and the salute the Brothers in Arms games for being freshest most innovative WWII experience around. Earned in Blood did add some new multiplayer modes and some small AI improvements, but like I mentioned above, It's basically the same game. Earned in Blood still runs circles around most shooters mainly because Gearbox did it right the first time. It's been a year and the future of the series can only get better.
Mojo: The mojo this time around is a little lower then my first BIA experience. I know you are probably wondering why because I've been praising the game for the whole review. I think it might of just been a little too soon to capture the same magic, or maybe it can only be achieved once. If I didn't play the first game then I know the mojo would have been sky high, but my senses are dulled a bit and Earned still impresses and jives but on a slightly lower level.
Lowdown:BIA: Earned in Blood gives us another authentic WWII experience with only the intensity and integrity that the Brothers in Arms series can provide. Yes, it's more of the same, but the original was so good. Earned in Blood is a welcomed follow up to one of this years best games.
Gameplay: 9, Graphics/Sound: 8, Innovation: 8, Mojo: 8. Final: 8.5/10