Brothers In Arms: Double Time Review: Hell’s Highway Indeed
The year is 2005 - Ubisoft releases “Brother in Arms: Road to Hill 30,” a historical game first-person shooter that introduced players to a more personal, and mature World War II storyline. There isn’t much sugar coating in this game, as there is plenty of uncensored dialog encompassing situations that would probably haunt the most of us for a very long time. However, it was a somewhat heavily flawed game with repetitive, and retarded, “I need a babysitter” AI.
Why did I just waste a paragraph on a game that came out in 2005 I’m supposed to be talking about one that came out in 2008? Because, “Brother in Arms: Double Time” is a port of this three year old game, or, should I say, games. Without any sort of indication on the package, “Double Time” is actually two games in one. The first is “Brother in Arms: Road to Hill 30” and the other is “Brother in Arms: Earned in Blood.” Ordinarily it would sound like a good deal, assuming the port wasn’t a desperate half-assed attempt to swindle gamers from their money.
Despite the three-year difference, there is hardly any improvement over the original PlayStation 2 games. There is no multiplayer, the graphics look like they belong on the N64, and the frame rate stutters worse then a Nazi Propaganda film. I would go so far as to say that this is one of the worst shooters I’ve ever played on the Wii.
First and foremost, the narrative is, according to the box, “based on a true story.” Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean much as the game bombards us with poorly made cut scenes using the in-game engine. The dialog and plot are great, but because of the fugly graphics, it comes across as a sock puppet abridged version of Band of Brothers or Saving Private Ryan, despite the superb voice acting.
But the fatal flaw that cripples “Double Time” is the graphics. There is no excuse for just how bad this game looks, or how poorly it runs on the Wii. The textures are so blurry that the characters don’t look remotely human, and the frame rate is the worst I’ve ever seen. The only reason I’m mentioning the frame rate again is because it can barely make it above 30 frames per second, and, to top it off, it sometimes stops for random three-second pauses. Shooters are all about reflexes, and you need a decent frame rate to accommodate them, but “Brother in Arms” simply fails at that. The combination of the frame rate being so horrible, and the controls lagging, it makes it a complete bitch to aim all throughout the game.
Unfortunately, the gameplay hasn’t even improved much over the originals either. The AI is bad, just like before, but even more so in “Earned in Blood,” requiring you to micromanage your platoon of idiots. The game is gets really repetitive since you’re mostly telling your men to either take cover, or fire at a target while you go around to flank. Like many other third party games on the Wii, the motion controls feel tacked on and just don’t make proper use of them. The only noteworthy gestures, beside aiming and issuing commands, is that you get to make a “throwing” motion to throw a grenade and a “circle” with the nunchuk to fall back. Otherwise, “Brothers in Arms: Double Time” is simply not using the Wii’s full potential.
In short, if you’re going to do a port of an old game, you better put some effort into it. “Brothers in Arms: Double Time” is the shining example to other developers on how not to release a game. It’s instantly obvious after spending the first few minutes with this game, that it’s nothing more than a quick cash in for Ubi, with hardly any quality assurance testing involved. If someone were to give you this game for free, don’t. It’s overpriced.