Daily Archives: May 21, 2007

Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30

Although I’m not fan of WWII games, this one was fairly cheap, so I bought it. I ended up liking it a bit more than other WWII games. Perhaps it was that it didn’t glamorize the war or maybe it was simply that you generally didn’t get that close to the Germans and so they weren’t humanized very much.

Unfortunately, there are also some rough spots. First off I can’t ignore the question, “Why another WWII shooter?” Like Susan Jeffords’ Hard Bodies: Hollywood Masculinity in the Reagan Era, I suspect that they are reflective of the current political climate. The USA is in the midst of a very unpopular war so perhaps there is some attempt to recapture that feeling of the “good” war or like Faludi argues in her book, Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man, men are attempting to negotiate a modern way of performing masculinity. I guess someone is going to have to write a dissertation about that…

So if we must have to have another WWII shooter, how about one about the experience of African Americans during the war? That would at least be different.

Another thing I noticed during this game as well as while watching movies like Saving Private Ryan is that while this is supposed to be taking place in France, with the exception of one scene in Ryan, there aren’t any French people. Where were all the French people during World War II?? I don’t know any specific details about France during the war, so maybe there were all evacuated or something, but it sure seems odd going through these cities and through buildings and not seeing a single French person.

The effect is to make the game sterile, as if there weren’t any innocent people and that everyone who died was a soldier. Specifically in WWII, with all the deaths, it is difficult to play a game like this and not think about all the atrocities that occurred.

Brothers in Arms” Road to Hill 30 is a pretty good game, but with more depth it could have been much more interesting.