Brothers in Arms DS
Brothers in Arms DS is going third-person so the player can feel a "stronger emotional factor." Wait, I thought that's why games went first-person? I'm confused.
War is hell. Games that depict war should do a good job of conveying this. What they shouldn't do is play like hell. The Brothers in Arms franchise is finally making its way to the Nintendo DS. But unlike its cousins, Brothers in Arms DS is not a port but a game designed from the ground up for the platform. Brothers in Arms DS promises to bring out all the rigors of battle while taking advantage of the DS's unique abilities.
Not much is known about the game at this point. Ubisoft is doing a pretty good job at keeping the information limited to screen shots and their sparse press releases. However, this isn't to say that there is nothing to say about the title. Quite the contrary, there is already a lot to be said about where this game is headed.
Brothers in Arms DS will have a decent amount of missions; sixteen to be exact. The game takes place over many of the fronts of WWII. Players will be fighting from Africa to Normandy, covering many of the hot spots that have become things of legend in WWII shooters.
All of the aiming in the game is done with the stylus. The bottom screen appears to have a grid where players aim their reticule (displayed on the top screen). The camera also follows your stylus movements as you aim. This could be an incredibly precise aiming system for a hand held if it is made well. Think Metroid Prime: Hunters.
Unlike previous iterations of Brothers in Arms, the DS version of the game will not be a first-person shooter. Instead the camera will be third-person, positioned in a way that looks similar to Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter. According to the Ubisoft website, the third-person camera will present a "stronger emotional factor." The idea appears to be that the player will get a stronger connection to the character through seeing all of his animations and actions.
The game's action has been completely redesigned as well. Unlike in FPS Brothers in Arms', where you could hit a crouch button to take cover, this version has "contextual movements." Contextual movements are triggers that happen when the player does certain actions. In the case of Brothers in Arms DS, this is implemented through an auto-cover ability and an auto-regeneration of health. When the player brings their character close to a wall their soldier will automatically take cover. If their player is hurt, they will regenerate health, probably in a similar fashion to that of the Halo series.
Players won't always be all run-and-gun as a foot trooper, but will also get to operate vehicles. The two that are detailed in the information that is currently provided are a 4x4 and a tank. Vehicle missions, if done well, will prove an invaluable way for the game to break up the pacing. They could also serve as a terrible reminder of why you don't mix two types of action into one game.
The DS version of Brothers in Arms will also have a multiplayer element. Players can play both team and regular deathmatch games. However, before you get your hopes up of carrying out large scale battles it should be known that the multiplayer will only support up to four players. While this may seem small it will really come down to how the maps are made. Small maps that are geared towards small and fast skirmishes could more than make up for the lack of a massively multiplayer experience.
One thing that appears to be missing from this version of Brothers in Arms is the ability to give orders. While there has been nothing released that insinuates that it is not going to be in the game, there is nothing to suggest otherwise. While the game could definitely still be a lot of fun even without the ability to issue commands it seems strange that any game that was part of the Brothers in Arms franchise would release without such a trademark feature. Guess it will be a "wait and see," sort of issue.
Brothers in Arms DS shows a lot of promise. For those who have been longing for a proper shooter game on the DS (besides Hunters) this could be the answer.