One of the chief problems with team-based games has been friendly AI. Often times, friendly NPCs will get caught in tight areas, or will foolishly charge right in front of the enemy without taking appropriate cover. Even the latest games which have involved friendly NPCs, including Half-Life 2, have had this problem. With Brothers In Arms reliance on NPCs to accomplish mission objectives, this could be a real deal breaker if the friendly AI weren’t up to task. When we first checked the game out back in August Gearbox seemed to have a pretty good handle on friendly AI but we only saw a couple of firefights so we’re in no position to judge the friendly AI found in the final game.
Enemy AI is varied. Early on in the game you’ll encounter regular German infantry; these guys aren’t very well trained and are basically cannon fodder for your unit. They’ll basically stand in place and return fire as best they can as your assault team moves into superior firing positions.
Later on in the game however, reinforcements will arrive in the form of German paratroopers, and eventually the SS. These units are better trained, have better equipment (including tanks) and will support each other as they try to flank you. Basically, these guys will use the same tactics and maneuver techniques you’re using, right down to having their own squad leaders.
Knocking out an enemy position
Move out guys
While Gearbox has a long running relationship with Valve, dating all the way back to the original Half-Life, the Source engine isn’t used for Brothers In Arms. Instead Gearbox relies on a highly modified version of Epic’s Unreal engine. In terms of complexity, think somewhere between Unreal Tournament 2004 and Unreal Engine 3.
For instance, Brothers In Arms requires a DirectX 8 graphics card. This means that those of you with older GeForce and GeForce 2 cards, as well as the GeForce4 MX and RADEON 7500 series will have to upgrade to DX8-level hardware. According to the official website “These chipsets are the only ones that will run this game. Additional chipsets may be supported after release.”
If you own a DirectX 9 card, 2.0 shaders are used extensively, although to the best of our knowledge 2.0b and 3.0 shaders aren’t implemented in the game. In addition, facial animation, similar to what is seen now in Half-Life 2, is also employed in Brothers In Arms.
Advancing on the enemy
Like the single-player campain, Brothers In Arms multiplayer is different than traditional first-person shooters. Rather than employ conventional deathmatch, multiplayer in Brothers In Arms centers around the teamplay and NPC elements found in single-player, with each team given an objective. Say for instance, blowing up a bridge. Up to four players can connect simultaneously, so in this case two guys would play as the Americans, with one person commanding the NPCs in the base-of-fire team, and the second American player leading the NPCs in the assault team. The two other players would play as the Germans, with each person leading his own team. Each of the four players controls three NPCs, for a total of 16 “men” fighting it out on the server simultaneously.
If one of the human players dies and there are still NPCs alive in his team, he’ll take over their role. Once the team is destroyed you come in as reinforcements, with the caveat being that you only have a limited number of reinforcements. If one player drops, his human teammate gets his allocation of remaining reinforcements.
If you’re into more traditional me-against-the-world type shooters like the DOOM series, Serious Sam, and the original Medal of Honor, then Brothers In Arms probably isn’t for you. But if the idea of mixing in a little bit of strategy and tactics with the action typically found in a first-person shooter sounds enticing, then you’ll definitely want to check out Brothers In Arms: Road to Hill 30. The game has gone gold and is now available for Xbox. Already Xbox user reviews online are overwhelmingly positive. PC gamers will have to wait a little longer though, as the game won’t be released until March 15th. Until then, gamers looking for more information on Brothers In Arms should check out Gearboxes website.
Elemental: Fallen Enchantress Preview Elemental: Fallen Enchantress is a standalone expansion pack and follow-up to developer Stardock's previous game in the series, subtitled War of Magic. That 4X strategy game was highly-anticipated and slated to compete with games such as Sid Meier's Civilization V for your turn-based strategy play-time, but was released in an incredibly broken and unfinished state that it never fully recovered from. Lead designer Brad Wardell apologized profusely to fans and set out with his team to go back to the drawing board and try again.
Almost two years later, the result of that proverbial mulligan is currently undergoing closed beta testing. In today's article, Will reports his thoughts on how Fallen Enchantress is shaping up, and will tell you whether or not you should be keeping an eye on it as it nears release later this year.
The Elder Scrolls Online Details Leak - Should Fans Be Excited? The Elder Scrolls Online, long rumored to be in development, was officially announced yesterday. Still in development at Zenimax Online Studios, this MMO aims to combine traditional genre mechanics with the spirit and sensibilities, not to mention setting and lore, of the immensely popular series of single-player RPGs. Though the game is set for a full unveiling in the next issue of Game Informer magazine, what appears to be the entire cover story article has been leaked to the interwebs already. In today's article, you'll find summary and analysis of all the alleged details, as well as feast your eyes on the very first screenshots and concept art from the game. Of course, the burning question now is, should you be excited?
ANNO 2070 Review
The year is 2070. The majority of life on Earth was devastated when global sea levels surged after the melting of the polar ice caps. Swaths of previously habitable land are now deep underwater, and sovereign nations are a relic of the past. But there is still hope...
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Mass Effect 3 PC Review
This latest release from EA/BioWare is the final entry in their trilogy of sci-fi action RPGs, putting you in a dire situation: rally the troops to save Earth at all costs. There was a lot of hype surrounding the final act of what has been a vast and highly-customizable story-telling experience, and the reception among many hardcore fans has been less than stellar. Even people that haven't played the game have probably heard about all the nerd rage going on over Mass Effect 3's ending...
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Saints Row: The Third PC Review Saints Row is one of most unique series of games to build upon the open-world action template forged by Grand Theft Auto, and has met with plenty of critical and commercial success since it began on consoles back in 2006. This latest iteration, titled Saints Row: The Third promises the most outlandish fun and freedom of customization of them all, and in a much more PC-friendly package than its predecessor. Does it live up to those expectations and, more importantly, is it worth the price of admission? Find out in Will's latest review!
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim PC Review The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is Bethesda Softworks’ latest offering in their series of epic fantasy RPGs, as well as one of the most highly-anticipated PC titles of 2011. As the Dovahkiin, or Dragonborn, prepare to take the fight to the mythical beasts that have returned to the realm after centuries of slumber, all the while exploring a huge and highly-detailed open world.
The PC version of the game promises enhanced graphical fidelity, standard RPG trimmings such as hotkeys and quick-save, as well as unbridled mod support, something we’ll all be thankful for once they release that SDK. Skyrim has already sold millions of copies and set records for play-time on Steam... Find out why in today's review, which happens to be one of the biggest and most in-depth articles on the subject out there!
L.A. Noire Complete Edition PC Review L.A. Noire, as the name clearly states, is a video game built on the tropes of one of the greatest periods of American cinema: film noir. Developed by the now defunct Australian developer Team Bondi and published by Rockstar Games, this title has been out on consoles for a full six months before finally making its way to the PC. This “Complete Edition” of the game features improved graphics, keyboard/mouse controls, and every bit of previously-released DLC for free. But was it truly worth the wait? Read on and find out!
Mass Effect 3 PC Demo Impressions Mass Effect 3, EA/BioWare's third iteration in their series of sci-fi action RPGs and one of the most anticipated titles of the year, is fast approaching its March 6th release. This week, though, they released a playable demo on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 that offers a glimpse into both the single-player and multi-player portions of the full game.
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