We like it when things fall down. Or get blown up, then fall down. Or get shot, blown up, spun through the air, then fall down upon a pile of boxes that proceed to break into pieces. In slow motion. While on fire.
Well, maybe not while on fire.Really, we just like to see the reaction to our actions. When you fire a bullet, it should matter. When you fire a bazooka, it should matter more. Brothers in Arms understands this.
In Hell's Highway you still play Sgt Matt Baker, charged with commanding a squad of men through a series of historically accurate WWII towns, but this time around Unreal Engine 3 is handling the physics. Nazi soldiers still position themselves behind cover to hide from your squad's fire, but now you can blow their cover wide open. Wooden fences splinter and collapse in accordance with where they've been shot, church towers throw bricks far and wide when hit with a rocket.
Happily, the improvements go further than just the cool slow-motion close-ups when explosions happen. Although those are cool. The setting is now Operation Market Garden, the largest airborne invasion of World War II, and Baker is considerably more experienced and world-weary than he was in the first game.
As before, when approaching enemy positions, you have to duck behind walls, vehicles and bushes - anything that will shield you from the enemy for a moment, and preferably something that can withstand bullets.
This is all par for the course for BiA, but in Hell's Highway, when you step out from behind cover to shoot back, the atmosphere begins to tint a shade of blood red. This is a sign that you're in a danger zone, and if you stay there too long you'll be shot and killed. The safe area back behind cover remains crisp and coloured as normal, letting you know where to go for protection.
If squad combat just isn't your thing though, Hell's Highway also promises to be the first in the series to have missions where Baker must progress on his own. Given the stress involved with being in charge of so many lives, a little solitude is more than welcome.