Easter Eggs: Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway

By Marc Caccamise, 3 years ago
Welcome to Easter Eggs, where the TA Team shines the spotlight on games that many gamers might have missed, perhaps hidden away behind the millionth copy of Call of Duty or FIFA. Much like a gamer who finds an Easter Egg hidden away in a game and proceeds to trumpet it from the highest hills and forums, the TA Team is going to be featuring these Easter Egg games on the front page for all to see.
If there is a time and setting that has been done to death in the world of video games, World War II would have to be towards the top of that list. However, every now and then there will be a title that sticks out from the crowd and offers up a unique and refreshing experience, much like our first Easter Egg, The Saboteur. The game that we’re talking about in this week’s edition of Easter Eggs is Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway, the third entry in the Brothers in Arms franchise and the only one to be released on current gen consoles.

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The Basics

Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway is a mix between a first-person shooter and a third-person, cover-based shooter. Set during Operation Market Garden, the game follows the involvement of the 101st Airborne during the unsuccessful Allied offensive that aimed to end the war by Christmas of 1944. It continues the story of Road to Hill 30 and Earned in Blood, putting the player back into the boots of Staff Sergeant Matt Baker. As the game goes on, it becomes more clear that Baker is a broken man. Plagued by the memories of the men who have died under his command, he struggles to keep his head while trying to get those who remain home alive. This emotional theme stays constant throughout the game, delivering a different perspective of the war.

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The Hook

The main appeal of Hell’s Highway comes with its story. Unlike other games in the genre that may require you to go from A to B, kill the enemy soldiers on the way, destroy some guns, and move on, Hell’s Highway puts the precedent on the journey along the way. The story may be set in World War II, but it focuses much more on the individual men who fought the battles than the grand scheme of the war. Each of the men in Baker’s squads are their own unique character with their own personalities. If one of them goes down during a battle, it isn't just some random AI that you’re losing; it has more feel to it, almost as if your lapse of judgment and action caused it. It’s in that way that you find yourself in the same train of thought as what Baker feels. While a casualty in the game doesn't affect that character's fate in the story, it is still very surreal to go from yelling out orders to Red, Sam, or Paddock to the name of their replacement during that mission.

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Playing through the game is all about strategy when approaching an engagement with an enemy position. The simple method of running and gunning is not a viable option here as you will assuredly find yourself gunned down in the process, even on the easier difficulties. To successfully progress through each area it is all about moving from cover to cover, using your fire teams to lay down suppressing fire, and then run flanking maneuvers to take out your enemy. The type of cover you decide to use can also play a big role in your success or failure. Destructible cover such as fences and tables will only protect you and your squad for so long before being flushed out into the open, so you need to choose your cover wisely.

Knowing your different squads and how to utilize them in different situations is also a vital component. For instance, it makes much more sense to set up your base of fire or MG team in the rear to provide cover fire while you take your assault team on the flank to take out the enemy rather than vice versa. Maybe instead you have an enemy 88 or tank that needs to be dealt with, therefore it makes sense to have your fire teams draw the enemy's attention while navigating the bazooka team in to take them out. It can take some practice to get the hang of it, but when you do pull off a perfect attack strategy, there is no better feeling of success.

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Hell’s Highway also contains some pretty gruesome kill shots which comes via the action shot feature. Whenever you pop off a head shot or use a grenade or any type of explosive on an enemy, a slow motion sequence shows off the devastation that occurs. Dismemberment of limbs is a common occurrence when hitting an enemy position with a well-placed explosive, as is the complete carnage of the cover and surroundings in the area. These graphic kill-shots, mixed with the emotional story line are what set the game apart from others in a more mature sense.

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The Achievements

Hell’s Highway has a very… interesting list of achievements. The game does feature your normal set of story progression and assorted secret achievements, as well as the Kilroy and Recon collectible-based achievements. On the other hand, there are the seven multiplayer based achievements which are all worth a whopping zero Gamerscore each. They have also been noted in the past to be glitchy at times and earning them is hampered by the fact that the multiplayer is now all but dead. There is also the date specific achievement (which is coming up in a few days on September 17th) as well as some amount of time played achievements such as playing the game for 100 days.

The Stats

27,062 tracked gamers have this game and 1,166 (4.31%) have completed it. Most gamers have peaked at 26 of the 43 achievements.

Currently our community rating is 3.3 out of 5 (3,211 votes) and has a 76 on Metacritic.

The Price

The game is currently available for $33 from Amazon (US), or $6 used from GameStop and £10 from Amazon (UK). If you find yourself wanting the game immediately it’s also available for digital download for $19.99/£11.99 from the Xbox marketplace.

The Verdict

While Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway may not have a lively multiplayer to experience anymore, the single player story is enough justification alone. If you want a mix up from your everyday World War II shooter, something that has more substance, then this game is right up your alley. The gameplay focuses on a more realistic tone and emphasizes the need to work as a team to successfully move forward. While the AI can make dumb choices at times, the squad based system still works very smoothly and becomes second-nature with time. Without giving too much away, the game has a very open ending which suggests a sequel will happen, and history backs that up. The Battle of the Bulge still has yet to be fought, and hopefully it comes soon with the coming of the next generation of consoles.

If there's a game you'd like to see featured in Easter Eggs, be sure to let us know in the comments!
Marc Caccamise
Written by Marc Caccamise
Writer of news, features, and reviews for TrueAchievements since June 2013. Discovered the incredible world of video games at a young age with Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf, and haven't looked back since. Outside of gaming, I'm usually found reading up on various history topics or rooting for the lowly Buffalo Bills and Sabres.