Support Andy, click to buy via us...
Thanks to some intuitive controls and impressive visuals, Brothers in Arms manages to pull off a convincing shooting experience on the DS. The high production values made me feel like I was partaking in a genuinely persistent and ongoing battlefield environment. There's no doubt that this is a great version of the PC and Console franchise and is a thrilling battlefield game in its own right.
Brothers in Arms caused quite stir back in the day when it had its PC release. Its open maps and believable interactive world behaved as you would expect it to; blowing a truck of soldiers over sent them sprawling onto the road to pick themselves up and run for cover. They achieved the sort of non-linear open experience that had become so rare in the World War II genre.
The same innovation and the atmosphere it created are present and correct in this DS version. This is mainly down to its impressive game engine that delivers a genuine over the shoulder 3D run-and-gun battlefield experience. It achieves this in a densely populated environment that bristles not only with scenery but vehicles, men and buildings.
Despite pushing the DS to what must be its breaking point, there were never any hiccups or glitches. I was amazed at how much action was going on at once but the game's feature set had hardly begun.
This visual experience is enhanced by some excellent sounds and voice-work which add a surprising amount of depth to proceedings. As with most DS games it's wasn't until I donned a pair of headphones that the sound really starts to come to life. The intelligent use of the DS's stereo adds a real air of drama and helps you locate where the action it at.
Compare this to any other DS game in the genre and it's a show-stopping performer.
One instance of all this impressive action comes within the first few moments of playing. I was blown away as I hung from a parachute, surveying the scene as planes crash, comrades take out tanks and minor scuffles break out between the two opposing forces.
This rarely lets up once you enter the core part of the game. With a decent cover system and solid shooting mechanics all in place this feels more like a home console experience than the DS I play Brain Age on.
All this explosive action is helped by the discovery that you can drive a variety of vehicles such as tanks and jeeps. This amount of variety is breathtaking although the controls of these vehicles leave something to be desired. They veer from slow and sluggish to overly responsive. Whilst this was obviously intended to communicate the different driving experiences it seemed a little overplayed at times. The worst example being the jeep which turned into a skittish young fawn that scampered all over the place.
Although the controls for the vehicles felt a little off it was a different story for the main game. Running and strafing is controlled by the D-pad and this allows the use of the stylus in an intuitive free look and weapon management system. Icons on the bottom screen can be dragged into play to reload your weapon, zoom in for sniping or throw grenades. The ease with which I was able master all of these controls and get drawn into the game is a testament to its quality.
With most parts of the game coming together with such high quality I felt I was having a fully fledged console experience rather than a handheld one. As a first person shooter across all platforms it's a solid and thrilling experience. Compare this to any other DS game in the genre and it's a show-stopping performer.
The quality and full featured nature of this title, with the addition of multiplayer modes and veteran difficulty settings, makes it a great little package. It's a worthy bedfellow of the PC and console titles and gave me a believable and fun experience to play through to the end.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: