Brothers in Arms: Furious 4
Fans of the Brothers in Arms games may be disappointed that the newest installment keeps none of the elements traditionally associated with the series, and while it is a bit mystifying that Gearbox chose to use the Brothers in Arms name for this particular game, they seem intent on delivering an entertaining - if wildly different - gameplay experience. The Escapist's Allistair Pinsof commended the game's style despite lamenting the loss of the series' traditional aspects.
Read Allistair's full preview of Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 here. The game will be available sometime next year for PC, Xbox 360, and PS3.
As a fan of Brothers in Arms, especially Hell's Highway, I was disappointed to see that the latest entry in the series forgoes all the strategic depth and serious storytelling. Gearbox plans to continue Matt Baker's story in a different game, but for now we have Furious Four: An unexpected, offshoot that has little to do with the BiA series and a lot to do with Borderlands. Four-player co-op, cartoonish visuals, comedic dialog, leveling and character-specific abilities, for starters.
"Over the top" doesn't begin to describe the absurdity Furious 4 embraces. The game revels in propelling the player through a mindless onslaught, where points and achievement progress bars (a la Gears of War 2) pop-up every second. The game even applauds your accuracy and combos with flashy text ("double kill", "bullseye") The HUD is a bit cluttered from the constant feed of points/achievement information, but the game makes nice use of Splinter Cell: Conviction stylized floating, in-game text. Mission names and goals are written within the game world, even enemy helicopters are accompanied with "Wreck this thing" commands.
Even though Gearbox seem to have no qualms with taking you out of the game's world, they didn't slack off in designing it. The Oktoberfest level is wonderfully rendered with a giant Ferris wheel centerpiece, which eventually collapses in spectacular fashion. The interiors of Nazi cabins have warm tones, while the outside had a bright, cartoony look. It's similar to Borderlands, but you wouldn't mistake one for the other - especially, when you factor in Furious 4's destructible buildings.