Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood is a video game and sequel to Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30, developed by Gearbox Software.
On May 18, 2005 Ubisoft and Gearbox software announced the next installment of their Brothers in Arms franchise, titled Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood. There had been rumors of a sequel following shortly after the release of Brothers in Arms, but it wasn't officially confirmed until E3. Earned in Blood was released on October 4, 2005 for the PC and Xbox, and on October 26 for the PlayStation 2.
Earned in Blood continues the Brothers In Arms saga as newly-promoted Sergeant Joe "Red" Hartsock (Hartsock was the Corporal of Baker's Fire Team), who was part of the historic Normandy invasion in the previous game. Earned in Blood includes several new multiplayer missions, weapons and vehicles, plus a new co-op skirmish mode. The AI of allies and enemies alike has also been improved considerably in this game, while level designs are more open-ended than the original.
The story is essentially told as a "reflection" on the events that took place earlier, as Army historian Colonel S.L.A. Marshall| is interviewing Joe Hartsock fifteen days after D-Day. The story is divided into three parts. The first part of the game is recollection of Hartsock's time in Sergeant Matt Baker's squad during the initial D-Day invasion. The second part picks up when he takes command of 2nd Squad, 3rd Platoon during the liberation and defense of Carentan, and the eventual link up between 82nd and 101st Airborne Division at the town of Baupte. The final two levels take place in and around Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte, concluding with you and your squad liberating the town and calling in support. Although the first part takes place under Baker's command, every mission is one not included in Road to Hill 30. The player commands Desola, Allen, and Garnett from 3rd Squad, and some soldiers from 2nd Squad at first. Then the game switches the player to command the entire 2nd Squad after the Battle of Bloody Gulch (Hill 30). Hartsock's squad consists of the remains of the original 2nd Squad (Cpl. Franklin Paddock, Pvt. Dean "Friar" Winchell, and Pfc. James Marsh, the Assault Team) and the remnants of 1st Squad (Cpl. Jacob Campbell, Pfc. Will Paige, and Pvt. Derrick McConnel, the Fire Team). In addition, the player will also be in command of Corporal (later promoted to Sergeant) Seamus Doyle of the 82nd Airborne during the initial D-Day invasion in early parts of the game.
The gameplay in Earned in Blood is similar, if not identical, to Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30. The player usually assumes command of two teams of paratroopers to use the Four Fs--Find, Fix, Flank, and Finish--tactic against the enemy. The game discourages the use of solo run 'n' gun tactic by limiting the player's ability to aim, by decreasing the player's health, and by placing large numbers of enemies behind cover. To successfully complete a mission, the player has to study the layout of the battlefield, fix/suppress the enemy with overwhelming suppressive fire with one team (usually the fire team), and direct another team (usually the assault team) to flank the enemy by sneaking to the side or rear of the enemy to finish them off.
One huge difference between Earned in Blood and its predecessor's gameplay is the improvement in enemy AI. In Brothers In Arms: Road to Hill 30, the enemy usually will not move under fire even when the player's flanking action has been detected. In Earned in Blood, the enemy will constantly reposition himself according to the player's action, regardless of danger. This change makes stealth and distraction important considerations when the player is attempting to flank the enemy. At the same time, new tactics such as forcing the enemy into kill zones is possible with the new AI system.
Although the game has been praised for continuing the gameplay and engrossing story of Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 by adding better enemy AI and more open-ended level design, the game is under some criticism for being fairly similar to the original, while the extra features and content perhaps more worthy of a proper expansion pack. Earned in Blood has been released as a nearly fully priced sequel with little new content. On top of this, a main criticism among most squad-based shooter games is the occasionally questionable squad A.I., which has been considered to be worse than its predecessor by having more troubles getting into cover.
- In the game's opening sequence, when Corporal Joe Red Hartsock recollects the event on the cargo plane during the night of the drop, he remembers that excluding Baker, he was fourth in the line to jump, while Private Leggett was first in the line. In Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 during the same sequence, it appears that after Baker, Corporal Joe Red Hartsock was first in the line to jump, while Private Allen or Garnett occupies the fourth position.
- In "The Battle of Hill 30/Battle of Bloody Gulch," Corporal Joe Red Hartsock and 2nd Squad disappears shortly after Sergeant Matt Baker is knocked out for the first time to halt the German Army's first flank in Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood. However, in Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30, Hartsock is already present with the rest of the defending force when Baker wakes up to reach the 2nd Armored Division. However, in this game, Hartsock just returns seconds before Baker arrives with the 2nd Armored division, causing a minor continuity error.
- The tanks arrives at Hill 30 are M4A1 Shermans, however, in EiB mission Bloody Gulch, they are M4A3 Shermans, this could be a developer oversight.
- Sometime before Cole's Charge in Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30, Hartsock was seen throwing his helmet at the river bed, and spends that mission, as well as the following mission fighting without his helmet until the Carentan chapter. However, in this game, the game shows Hartsock walking in the river trying to get the helmet while near the bridge he threw the helmet from, which is not possible since the helmet could have been carried a lot further by the river's current during the span of two days.
- In "The Battle of Hill 30/Battle of Bloody Gulch," three soldiers from Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 were missing in this particular battle, Private First Class Tom Zanovich, Private McCreary, and Private Courtland. Instead of having McCreary and Courtland as his Assault Team, Corporal Sam Corrion is partnered with Corporal Franklin Paddock and Private Dean "Friar" Winchell instead. As Red's fireteam, Zanovich is replaced by Corporal Jacob Campbell and Private First Class James Marsh.
- On the level three patrol action you see Corrion and Desola but you dont fight with them until the level "The Crack of Dawn" on June 7.
- When Hartsock appears in Baker's 2nd level, Hartsock mentions how he got a German in the morning while he was having a coffee. He does not mention anything about the dozens of German's he killed in Action At St. Martin just before.
The PC version of the game contains StarForce DRM which may interfere with some CD/DVD burners, burning software and disk mounting software.
Running EiB on Vista Edit
As Ubisoft has not released a patch to enable this game to run on Vista, you can only do so by installing Windows Service Pack 1 and updating your driver from the StarForce website. If you are running on higher screen settings, you may have to lower them.