A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
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What's it about?
Based on Stephen Ambrose's best-selling account of a group of paratroopers separated from each other during the invasion of Normandy, BROTHERS IN ARMS: ROAD TO HILL 30 is historical re-creation of eight days in the lives of an embattled company from the 101st Airborne. Players control Sgt. Matt Baker, a reluctant squad leader tasked with clearing the French countryside of entrenched German forces and leading his men to the climactic battle at hill 30. Along the way he must accomplish a series of missions -- blow up a bridge, secure a town from German forces, or capture machine gun encampments.
Baker has the ability to direct as many as two additional teams of men to support him in his endeavors. Without the ability to rush enemies, take damage, and heal, players are forced to use real military tactics such as suppressive fire and flank maneuvers to outwit the enemy.
Is it any good?
The easy-to-use squad controls do not overly complicate gameplay. This is a good thing, because the enemies in this realistic and challenging game are smart, vicious, and fire bullets that do realistic damage. The game features elegant visuals, notable for their restraint. The finer, understated details -- such as marked gravestones or waving grass in a field -- make the game's realism all the more impressive.
Characters use all varieties of obscenities. And while the violence is not gratuitous, it is war, and Brothers in Arms presents a gamut of brutal images -- dead soldiers hanging from trees, blood spurting from fresh wounds, and gory sheets used to cover the dead. The opening cut scene contains some of the worst the game has to offer in the way of language and violence. While the violence is too much for sensitive players, older teens will appreciate the complexity, and the history presented here.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the historical details of this real campaign or read the book (or watch the mini-series adaptation on DVD) to get a complete sense of the story and consequences. Parents may also want to talk about the protagonist's ambivalent feelings; how does this thoughtful portrayal contrast with some of the more gung-ho, one-dimensional depictions and characters?
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