Brothers in Arms: Double Time Review

Double Time gives you double the frustration for half the price.

Despite arriving on shelves the same day, Brothers in Arms: Double Time has nothing to do with the new Brothers in Arms game released on the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. It might have a new name, but the games inside the box--Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 and Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood--are more than three years old. Though they're dated, being able to pick up two excellent last-generation shooters for the price of one should be great, which is why it's a shame that these ports are terrible.

The terrible frame rate makes running through the war-torn countryside feel like a slideshow.
The terrible frame rate makes running through the war-torn countryside feel like a slideshow.

For those unfamiliar with the series, Brothers in Arms is about two things: historically accurate, emotionally compelling storytelling, and tactical gunplay. The stories in both games are similar in that they follow two men and their squads as they learn the cost of war. In the grand scheme of World War II games, the stories aren't unique. What sets them apart is their realistic and mature take on the brutality of war. Like in the Band of Brothers series of movies, well-acted voice-overs and poignant music give way to hellish depictions of battlefields. Overall, it's a serious and gritty presentation of war, or at least it was in 2005 when it was originally released. Now, a number of frustrating technical problems overshadow the somber plot.

Brothers in Arms takes a tactical approach to gunplay, forcing you to think and strategize before taking on a group of enemies. Using the Wii Remote as your cursor, you can order your squads to move around the map, suppress enemies, or charge with an assault. Though it had its missteps, the AI in the original games usually did what you wanted it to do, making you feel as if you were really commanding intelligent troops. In this port, your squadmates are as reliable as a rusty pistol. If they can manage to navigate the environment and join you in battle, you'll be lucky if they survive, considering that they have a knack for standing in the line of enemy fire. Your incapable allies will be a constant point of frustration against the tenacious enemies, who have a tendency to pop up out of nowhere and flank you at every opportunity.

The controls do little to ease the frustration of being stuck with idiots for teammates. The setup works adequately for shooting, with the remote handling aiming and looking, and the Nunchuk handling movement, but in hectic battles with flanking enemies, they aren't responsive enough. You can turn up the sensitivity and turn speed, but it never quite clicks together like a shooter should. You spend a lot of time thinking about and fussing with the controls, and it really pulls you out of the experience. A few motion-controlled gestures have been added, but most of them--such as grenade throwing and melee attacks--are hard to control and can leave you disoriented.

Visually, Brothers in Arms was at the top of its class in 2005, but you wouldn't know it from this port. Nearly every texture has a blurred, muddy look. If it weren't for the big red circles that appear over their heads, you wouldn't be able to tell a Nazi from a bush. The frame rate isn't good, and the game will frequently freeze for two or three seconds to catch its breath, giving you ample time to soak in the blurry countryside. The plodding frame rate and sluggish controls destroy the pace, making you feel like you're playing in slow motion.

Your squadmates will frequently get stuck on low rock walls and shrubs. Aren't you glad they've got your back?
Your squadmates will frequently get stuck on low rock walls and shrubs. Aren't you glad they've got your back?

The sound fares a bit better, though some of the gunfire is a little underwhelming. The voice acting is appropriately grim and laced with expletives. The music isn't showcased often, given that the game prefers to let the jarring sounds of battle take the forefront, but what is there is orchestral and heroic.

If you're looking for a WWII shooter for your Wii, don't be fooled by this "deal." Stripped of their multiplayer modes and loaded with technical issues, these two games aren't even worth the asking price of one.

The Good
Gritty, mature stories are entertaining
The Bad
Horrendous frame rate
Sluggish controls
Ugly, eye-straining visuals
Multiplayer modes have been taken out
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Brothers in Arms: Double Time More Info

  • First Released Sep 23, 2008
    • Macintosh
    • Wii
    Relive the story of Sgt. Matt Baker and the 101st Airborne paratroopers, who were scattered over the French countryside durinv the Normandy invasion.
    Average Rating132 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Brothers in Arms: Double Time
    Developed by:
    Gearbox Software
    Published by:
    Feral Interactive, Ubisoft
    First-Person, Shooter, 3D, Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language