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E3 2011: Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 First Impressions

Feature; Jun. 8, 2011; Channels: Video Games; By Kyle James Hovanec
Subtypes: Opinion, Preview
Kyle gets an exclusive gameplay preview of the newest in the Brothers in Arms series
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 sounds like it's part of The Fast and the Furious franchise, and after seeing some behind-the-scenes play time, it may be just as over the top and silly.

Brothers in Arms: Furious 4

Furious 4 moves away from the realistic and gritty tone of the previous Brothers in Arms titles and instead returns as a stylized squad-based FPS set in a fictionalized World War II. The series protagonist, Matt Baker, is still the lead, but this time, he's teaming up with three other soldiers as they travel across Nazi-occupied Europe and cause as much destruction as possible.

The game play footage I saw showed four players controlling each respective character as they navigated through a small town, taking out Nazis along the way. Each of the characters used unique weapons ranging from Gatling guns to throw-able pick axes. Each of the character's weapons can be upgraded and enhanced based on the amount of points you get from kills. The co-op is instant drop in/out, and even if the player is playing by himself, the teammates will be controlled by the A.I. Despite the over-the-top atmosphere, the game still appears to have a strong emphasis on squads working cooperatively.

For the rest of the game, it sports a stylized almost cartoon look and feel to it. Enemies explode upon being shot in slow motion, sending blood and guts everywhere. Your teammates are exaggeratedly buff and macho, and the levels themselves appear to be over-the-top compared to the gritty, bombed-out battlefields of previous titles. Even your HUD has a comic-like font that explodes in capital letters and exclamation points whenever you complete a task or start a new objective. To call it similar looking to Battlefield Heroes or Team Fortress 2 would not be that far off.

The demo level consisted of Baker's team storming a German town while a carnival was taking place, starting at a shootout at the docks, storming a pub, planting bear traps to hold down the pub, and finally trading bullets with jet pack-sporting Nazis and experimental aircraft. The resulting firefight left the carnival in ruins and the collapse of the Ferris wheel in real time.

As of now, Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 appears to be an over-the-top shooter set in World War II. While it looked decent, it still was too much of a radical departure from the original titles. The originals were gritty, violent but thoughtful, and provoked questioning the ethics of war and wartime practices. This looks to be nothing like the previous titles as of yet. Time will tell if this Michael Bay-ified take on the Brothers in Arms series will prove to be successful. As of now, though, I can't say I'm impressed. I understand the need to do something different from the crowd, but when you throw away what you've built originally, I have to ask if that's a smart move. An example is the Tom Clancy line up. Increase the action, but keep it fairly realistic like the Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell series. You'll still keep initial fans and gain new ones. If you try to go too over the top like last generation's Rainbow Six: Lockdown, the results are mixed to poor at best.


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