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Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood

Score: 71%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment
Developer: Gearbox Software
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: First Person Shooter/ Strategy/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

The gritty times of World War II are back in the latest war reenactment, Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood. In the new FPS, you’ll duck and cover all throughout Normandy to help lead the D-Day invasion. The graphics for this historic scene are fitting: dirty surroundings, shot-up buildings, and war-ravaged soldiers on both sides. If you’re looking for clean cut, all-American soldiers, Earned in Blood doesn’t fit that mold.

Something that does fit the mold is the audio. Gun fire and explosions are everywhere, as are plenty of good voiceovers. You’ll hear the fear of your comrades as they come under fire. (Parental note: the Mature rating is for the bloody violence and adult language.) Even the music has a patriotic feel to it, so you should get amped to take on the Germans.


You must earn your stripes in Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood as Cpl. Joe “Red” Hartsock. Your character recounts the heroic events, which you help tell by completing your missions. However, it’s a matter of whether you’ll really want to go through his story. The name of the game in Earned in Blood is suppression. You must strategically suppress your enemies, giving you the ability to flank your squad into a position to kill German soldiers. While you’ll get better weapons along the way, your missions tend to become the same thing over and over. By no means am I downplaying this important role in the D-Day invasion. However, I’m not sure it makes for the most exciting of video games. Perhaps if suppressing were just part of Brothers in Arms, and not the featured strategy, I’d be more inclined to keep coming back to play.

Regarding the Story mode, there are two helpful tools to help you make it through the German-invested missions. The first is the Suppression Indicator. Once you see where your enemies are, a target pops up above their position. You then must place your troops so that they can keep your enemy under fire. The Suppression Indicator changes color when the enemy is pinned down and unable to return fire. Once the color has changed, you or another part of your squad can flank in for the kill. Of course, you’ll need to know the layout of the land.

Paratroopers during WWII had to study their surroundings before they went into combat; that’s where the Situational Awareness View comes into play. At any point during the game, you can use this feature to help plan your attack. The S.A.V. gives you a bird’s eye view of exactly where your opponents are, which gives you the time to prepare the best strategy of trapping them within their surroundings.

Other than the Story mode, Earned in Blood also offers system link and Xbox Live game modes and Skirmish games. The Skirmish types include games like objective based missions, a timed assault, defensive stands, and a Tour of Duty. This is where you complete American and German missions with one life and one squad, sans checkpoints and saves.


Earned in Blood does have an intriguing level of difficulty. Besides the standard Easy, Normal, and Difficult levels, there is also an Authentic level, where Checkpoints and Suppression Indicators do not exist. This gives you a “real life” feel in the battlefield, since there obviously were no “do overs” in World War II. However, you must beat the game on the Difficult level to play it authentically.

The Story mode does a nice job of teaching you the best ways of using your squad throughout the missions. Early on, you’ll get a tutorial on how to command your crew with your controller, along with special features like the Situational Awareness View. For newbies like me to the war strategy genre, this was a nice in-game feature.

Game Mechanics:

Once you learn the controller configuration, it’s very ease to command your squad. Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood also makes your missions a little easier with auto-save checkpoints. However, something not so easy to deal with is the loading time. Earned in Blood takes forever to load, which definitely deters the gameplay. I understand it takes a little more time when the graphics and voiceovers are as good as they are, but this really was unacceptable. I should note that the load times are between missions, and not within the actual missions themselves. Regardless, get ready to be bored for a larger amount of time than necessary.

I’m all for war strategy games and first-person shooters, but I found myself a little bored with this one after a short period of time. I’d advise you to give Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood a rent before buying this one.

-Red Dawg, GameVortex Communications
AKA Alex Redmann

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