Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway is the third main entry in the Brothers in Arms series of video games which follow a squad of men of the 101st Airborne Division, led by the player-character SSgt. Matthew Baker, through the larger Allied Operations in World War II. This game once again puts players in the role of Matt Baker during Operation Market Garden in the later stages of WWII in The Netherlands
The game was released on the PlayStation 3, Windows, and the Xbox 360 in August 2008. The game has many new features, including the ability to command a further squad from a selection of new specialized units ( including a Special Weapons fire team, an Assault team, and a Base of Fire team). When a command is issued, the player model uses hand signals to issue the command to his squad, just like the previous games in the series. The player also has the ability to take cover behind objects, in a manner similar to Rainbow Six Vegas, which is an integral part of the game's strategy. The game is built on the Unreal Engine 3 and the PC version can take advantage of the features in DirectX 10 which allows for an enhanced graphical experience.
The game has many new features, including a selection of new specialized units (bazooka and machine gun teams). When a command is issued, the player model uses authentic WWII infantry hand signals to issue the command to his squad, similar to its predecessors. The player also has the ability to take cover behind objects and fire from a third person perspective which is an integral part of the game's strategy. The player no longer need to command the tank controlled by AI, instead, the players will command the tank themselves. A new “health” system has replaced the much more punishing set health per mission system of previous titles in the franchise. With this system, the player's screen begins to turn red as he exposes himself from cover and will return to normal when he return to cover; failure to do so will result in Baker getting shot and killed. While the Baker is tougher for the Germans to kill, his squad members are still vulnerable to enemy fire, but the friendly AI has been improved and if used properly, your teams can do a lot of damage. The original 'Situational Awareness' system of the first 2 games has been replaced with a simple tactical map that includes historically accurate recon reports based on period reconnaissance of the exact missions the player is currently playing.
One of the newer features of Brothers In Arms: Hells Highway, is the "action cam". Whenever the player gets a head shot, good grenade kill or orders a particularly explosive bazooka blast and even kills from Sherman Firefly, the camera will sometimes zoom in on the action and go into slow-motion showing the gory death.
History Setting Edit
Operation Market Garden was a plan devised by British general Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein. The plan was to send in three divisions of Parachute Infantry, two of the U.S. Army (101st Airborne Division and 82nd Airborne Division) and one of the British Army (1st Airborne Division). It is one of the largest parachute invasion in history. These divisions would land in The Netherlands, behind enemy lines, and secure three bridges at Eindhoven, Nijmegen and Arnhem (the furthest bridge from the front line). The British XXX Corps would then make a rapid advance along connecting roads and link up with the 1st Airborne Division, this would then cut the German lines and leave them very vulnerable to attack. It would get the Allies over the Rhine and hopefully into Berlin by Christmas 1944. The operation was executed on 17th September 1944, four months after Operation Overlord of the previous games in the series.
Unfortunately, whilst initially successful (but with drawbacks and large delays) with secured bridges at both Eindhoven and Nijmegen, the well equipped Panzer Division stationed at Arnhem proved too much for the (comparatively) modestly equipped British 1st Airborne Division. Supply drops frequently missed target, which made it difficult for the British in Arnhem to survive as they could not re-arm and thus found it difficult to fend off the attacking Germans until XXX Corps arrived. Again, unfortunately, XXX Corps never arrived. The British armor reached Nijmegen and then decided it was too risky to continue the advance, essentially abandoning the besieged 1st Airborne Division at Arnhem. Rescue operations were staged to get the surrounded British soldiers back to safety. However, of the 10,600 British Paratroopers who dropped on 17th September, only 2398 were left. What made matters worse was that because the position of the Allied troops was along one stretch of linked roads, the inevitable (and expectedly swift) German counter attacks were fierce, locking the Allies onto a narrow stretch of Dutch land which extended beyond the previous Front Line. The narrow stretch leading up to Eindhoven (which the 101st Airborne Division had to defend from counter-attack whilst XXX Corps made its way up the road) is what became known as "Hell's Highway", and that is where this game gets it's name from.
Staff-Sergeant Matt Baker is a squad leader in the 101st Airborne Division. He, and surviving characters from the previous games, are reassigned to Fox Company's special recon unit before the drop into Holland. Hell's Highway follows the 101st's assault and securing of Eindhoven, and the subsequent defense of the surrounding area from German counter attacks.
It starts with a recap of previous two games, Road to Hill 30 and Earned in Blood of Baker and Red's campaign in Normandy. It soon flashes to Eindhoven where it suffered bombardment from the Luftwaffe. It shows Baker talking to the mysterious soldier before Red save Baker from a German. The soldier dies and Baker grief his death, Baker took his dog tag and Grease Gun before debris fall on the corpse. Baker and Red navigates through the asylum and fight off the Germans in here. As Baker reach the amphitheater, he was knocked out by bomber through the roof. He was caught by three Germans who is ready to kill Baker while Red saw the shots fired.
Operation Begins Edit
In September 16th, 1944, 3 months after the Normandy campaign, the paratroopers are preparing for their new campaign, Operation Market Garden. Baker's platoon is reorganized with new replacements with Franky, the new kid, Jasper and Connor, the MG and Bazooka specialists, Dawson, the superstitious British, Holden, the new platoon radioman and Roselli, the fire team member. Mac stayed with Cole's command whereas their recon platoon is independent from any unit except the 101st Airborne Division. Dawson have been interested in the Death Pistol that happened in Normandy and Corrion have doubts on the new kid, Franky.
In the 17th, all the planes and gliders head to Holland and land to began Operation Market Garden with the 82nd and 1st landing near Nijmegen and Arnhem respectively. Baker's platoon meet up with each other and discuss their objectives. Their first objectives is to help secure the landing zones and meet up with a Dutch contact. Baker, Jasper and Connor goes to a nearby farmhouse to meet up the contact while the rest secure the nearby landing zone. The contact introduces himself as Nicolaas and gave intel involving German patrols in the area before leaving the area. Baker's team soon clear the Germans in the farm and defeat a small counterattack, they reach to the 502nd drop zone where they meet Mac and Cole. Cole ordered Baker to secure more landing zone with a jeep support from Baker's own platoon. Together with the fire team and the MG team, they headed to the landing zone and fight off the Germans that tries to attack the survivors of the gilder crash. After securing the area, Red inform Baker that they follow Sink to Son to capture the bridge at Wilhelmina Canal and together drive there with a jeep.
Soon, they are bombarded by artillery and mortars with the German garrison led by Captain Auckland. Baker have Jasper's team carrying the Bazooka and Corrion's assault team following Baker to assault the town head on while Red's team flank the town. Soon the 506th assault proceed and clear the Germans at the outskirts of town. As they reach town, they are welcomed by the residents of Son who is happy to see their liberators. However, the celebration is cut as they are ambushed by the 88 led by Auckland, Corrion and Franky had a small argument over orders before following Baker to seek an alternate route through town. Baker's squad fought the Germans through a manor with Baker enter alone to clear the MG nests that suppressing Baker's squad. Inside, he saw a glasses similar to Leggett's one and have a nightmare over it. Baker soon snapped out and destroy all the MG Posts. Baker and his squad push forward through the bridge where an intense fight happens. Baker and Red meet each again and prepare to assault through the bridge but was blown off by the Germans, Sink now order to 506th to cross the river and secure the remaining part of town and destroy the 88. The platoon managed to cross the river and complete their objectives. Despite a tactical victory by the Americans, the bridge destruction made a setback over the Operation.
Assault on Eindhoven Edit
The flashback is shown with a meeting between Dawson who was a pathfinder at the time and Leggett. It shows that Baker have Leggett hide a secret to protect his own life. Leggett told Dawson the secret he was holding. Flash forward to the present where the platoon rests with the 502nd who is attacking Best for an alternate crossing. Baker goes to meet Mac as Zano mentioned that Mac needs to talk to Baker. On the way, he heard Dawson asking soldiers about fate and the Death Pistol. He also saw Gideon sad over the corpse, Baker asked Mac about the corpse and revealed to be Robert Cole which shocked Baker. The 502nd with Robert Cole leading the attack on Best as the paratroopers are underwhelming fire, during the chaos, Cole was shot by a unknown sniper. Mac and his team tries to trace the sniper but only find his mark. Baker soon goes to Red and mentioned Cole's death which frustrate Red and criticize on Cole's recklessness. As Baker and Red are arguing, Mac interrupted them and mentioned that they follow Sink on the assault on Eindhoven. Before leaving, he gave an advise not to fight with each other and instead their enemies.
Baker's platoon and the 506th are ready to attack Eindhoven through the outskirts at the north. Sink first priority is to capture the church nearby to set up a CP. The platoon punch through the heavily defended Germans and reach to the church inside. Baker and Paddock alone traverse through the church from ground floor to upstairs and fought the Germans. As they reach on top, Baker was ambushed by a German but luckily Paddock saved Baker from the German and threw him off the roof, killing him. Baker spotted the mark and deduced the German Paddock killed was the sniper that killed Cole. Baker and Paddock leave the church and meet with his squad, the 506th and dutch resistance groups with Nicolaas and his son, Pieter. The Dutch gave info on the vital German positons including the 88s. With the intel, Baker's squad and the 506th are ready to push through the streets of Eindhoven. They managed to destroy German trucks, fuel dump and communications before heading towards the 88 in Kloosterdreef and Woenselschenstraat streets. The 506th managed to destroy the 88 and the remaining Germans that defended the 88. Baker was met by Nicolaas who mentioned he is searching for his son as he went off on his own to kill Germans with the pistol he gave. Baker regroup with Red and asked whether he saw a kid, that question disturbed Red as he worried about his family back home.
The Operation is continuing swelling as the 506th push into the urbanized area of Eindhoven. Baker's platoon is tasked to eliminate German resistance in the Philips factory which are harassing the XXX Corps that are coming through, they have a secondary objective of finding Pieter who is suspected to be around here. The platoon meet up with the Irish Guards who are the vanguard of the XXX Corps and one of the tank commanders gave Baker a M1928 Thompson as a gift. Soon, Baker's squad eliminated all Germans on the ground floor before moving up through a lift. Upstairs they faced not only German squads but also Panzerschrek teams as there are anti tank units in the Holland. Baker and Holden moved up to the roof while the remaining team clear the factory. After Baker kill the sniper, he use the sniper rifle to scout the area, he spotted Pieter fighting Germans but was pinned down, Baker also saw that Allied planes are shot down by 88 in the train tracks. Baker kill the Germans that attempted to kill Pieter and Pieter move to safety in a toy shop nearby. Baker also order the tanks to destroy all 88 in the train yard, the tank units eliminated all Germans in the area and rendezvous with Baker's squad. Baker proceed to the toy shop and find Pieter who was scared, as Baker mentioned his father name Pieter was relieved and hug Baker.
Tragedy Struck Edit
The next day, the XXX Corps and the 506th PIR have a celebration parade in Eindhoven where the citizens cheered for the their liberators. Pieter reunite with his father and Nicolaas thanked Baker. Meanwhile, Franky is walking down with the parade until he met a beautiful Dutch girl, together he kissed with her and talked to her about his unit achievement before dragged away by his team leader, Corrion. Dawson and Red talked about the Death Pistol which Red agrees but mentioned that many are touchy about their dead members. He also talked with Baker and Campbell about the Operation progress which was late and delayed by setback in Son and Best. Red wished that he could meet his daughter as fast as he can. At night, the army are stationed outside of Eindhoven and patrolling the area. Dawson talked to Baker about the Death Pistol which gave Baker a nightmare daze before going back to reality. Their conversation is interrupted by air raid alarm and Luftwaffe bombers bombing Eindhoven, forcing them into action.
The 506th and Baker's platoon engage with the Germans who are attacking amidst during the chaos. During the battle, Franky deserted his post to try save the girl he kissed that day, Corrion tries to warn and stopped him but to no avail. After dealing all the Germans, Baker's squad meet up with Red's squad and found out that Marsh is killed during the battle. Not only that, both Nicolaas and Pieter are killed in the bombing as the building collapsed on them. This made Baker frantic as he tries to save Pieter but was snapped out by Friar who mentioned that more of Eindhoven needs saving. Baker's squad goes through a Dutch Resistance bunker network to navigate through, Baker have glimpse of a girl with white dress running through and Pieter in his dead face appear in front of Baker. The squad fight all the Germans in the area and trying to save many citizens and allied soldiers as they can. During the battle, they spotted Franky running with the girl and chase after them. As Franky entered the building, Baker entered but was entrapped by collapsing burning debris. Baker forced to crash a window and fall into a river before going unconscious.
Baker wakes up in the side of the river and witness the girl killed by the Germans outside an asylum. Only his pistol, he fought the Germans by himself. He entered the asylum hoping he can find Franky but have to evade German patrols. While searching for Franky, Baker have nightmares of Leggett haunting him. Baker found Franky but the latter refused to return and tries to save the girl unknowingly dead. As Baker chase Franky, the former found him dying of his wounds, Franky asked Baker whether the girl survived which Baker lied to comfort him. Franky replied liar and Red killed the German before the latter tries to ambush Baker. Franky dies and Baker grief his death, Baker took his dog tags and Grease Gun before the debris fall on his corpse. Baker and Red together leave the asylum and fought Germans on the way. As Baker reach the amphitheater, he was knocked out by a bomb and Red heard the commotion. Red arrived the scene to see Baker firing three shots into thin air, revealing the Germans Baker saw on the first mission was just a hallucination. It ends with Baker thoughts on Franky actions.
Tensions Rise Edit
Although the situation is resolved in 101st sector as the counterattack is repelled, Baker's platoon suffered from their loss and sad over two deaths in Eindhoven. As the jeeps continued to drive, Dawson asked Corrion to stop and confront a British soldier he saw earlier on the road. It reveals that the British took Franky's jacket and Baker confront Dawson on his attitude, he ignored the issue and ordered Dawson to continue their trip to St. Odenrode where the 502nd are stationed after capturing it. Red talks to Mac about Baker's mental health as he lost it when his men died, Mac advise Red to talk to Baker about it.
The Germans managed to recapture Veghel and Baker's platoon mission is to support the 501st to retake Veghel. Before Red and Baker split, Red asked Baker a meeting in a cafe after the battle. The 101st slowly but surely retaking parts of Veghel and engaging German forces including Panzer tanks. They also have support from stranded force of XXX Corps tanks which turned the tide of battle. Although the battle isn't over, the 101st virtually recaptured Veghel with only artillery outside of town. Baker meet with Red only some of 2nd Squad men, Red confronts Baker's mental health and actions in the hospital and Red chatises Baker for his actions and handling of the squad. However, it was intercepted by a mortar hitting the cafe. It killed Friar, wounded Red and Campbell and only scarred Baker. Campbell's throat was hit and Red barely survived, Baker was devastated over the situation and hope Red recover.
Sink visited Baker to inform that Hartsock is out of commission and need replacement of a new Sergeant and ask Baker personal choice as he know these men better. Baker chose Paddock to be Sergeant for 2nd Squad but Corrion felt frustrated that he wasn't chosen. Baker then scold Corrion for letting Franky died which hurt Corrion emotionally.
The Truth Revealed Edit
The 101st new task is to secure the highway near Uden to keep the XXX Corps moving. Zanovich and McCreary are talking about Red's condition while Baker stays silent. They are suddenly ambushed by German artillery and forced to stop, Corrion was also wounded in the battle. The 101st soon pushed through what is now known: "Hell's Highway" and destroy many German positions, even engaging the Panzers and 88. They reached the train station and Baker went inside to see a corpse similar to Leggett. This made Baker flashback to his death and see hallucinations. Nevertheless, Baker and his platoon cleared the train station and defended from German waves until the XXX Corps reinforced the 101st. They also take Corrion to medical attention as well.
The next day when the XXX Corps kept moving to Nijmegen where they are currently stationed. Dawson talks to Baker about Leggett secret that Leggett told the former in Carentan. The secret involving Allen & Garnett's death. While on the way to Uden base, Paddock confessed that he blamed himself for causing Marsh and Friar death with Baker hallucinating his dead comrades. As they reach the traffic, he saw hallucination of Leggett, Allen and Garnett. It broke Baker to tell his squad about what happened in Normandy. Leggett told Baker what happened before Baker's squad reach to Leggett. It is revealed that Allen and Leggett was arguing each other which alarmed the Germans, causing Allen and Garnett's death. However, Allen managed to kill three Germans before died of his wounds. Baker told Leggett to keep it a secret to prevent Leggett death, Baker lied about Leggett not involving. This caused Leggett suicide in Hill 30 and Baker guilt over it.
Sadness Flows Edit
Baker had a nightmare of Leggett again before waking up. He joined the final assault on Koevering, the final obstacle in the highway. Despite the Operation's failure, the 101st still need to clear the highway. The platoon have orders to set up communication in a windmill, destroy 88s and German resistance and rendezvous with 502nd and 506th to finish the assault. The tanks also helped the assault and finishing capture Koevering.
The 101st soon rest up in Uden and Baker and Mac talk about their squad and the Operation failure. Baker also mentioned that he told the squad about Leggett's secret which surprised Mac. Mac told Baker to visit Red to check on him. Corrion meet Baker and angry about hiding Leggett's secret and refused to contact Baker. Baker enter the tent and meet up the Doc Gideon about Red's condition. It is revealed that Red is paralyzed and need to be inform and Baker suit to tell the news. Baker told Red about the squad situation and about how he is going home and Red's paralyzed. Baker promised Red that he will find Red. This made Red happy and ask whether the rest of the platoon is worth. Baker saddened over the news and goes into a forest to grief on his own, he is confronted by Leggett's ghost once more about Leggett and Baker being the same situation and his actions that caused Leggett's death. The ghost ask Baker whether he can handle snow which Baker replied yes. Baker returned to the camp and told a speech about their losses and the need of unity in the platoon. After a speech, only Corrion left as his relations with Baker shattered over 8 days with Baker asking himself whether it was the brain or the heart that makes a good soldier.
These are the chapters that are in this game:
- The Story So Far
- Prologue (Hell's Highway)
- Operation Market
- The First Bad News
- Written in Stone
- Operation Garden
- Baptism of Fire
- The Rabbit Hole
- We Happy Fewer
- Black Friday
- The Right Man
- Hell's Highway
- Those We Lost
- Tooth and Nail
- Farewell is Goodbye
On September 15, 2008, Ubisoft and Gearbox Software announced that the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game had gone gold. The Windows version went gold two days later. Playable demos on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Marketplace are available now.
Gearbox has officially announced a special, limited edition version of the game. The limited edition includes a 6 inch Sergeant Matt Baker figure with 13 accessories, a blister pack holding the figurine and accessories, a 32-page Brothers In Arms First Edition Comic book, a full color map of Operation Market Garden, special packaging and 2 more playable multiplayer characters.
The game was met with generally positive reviews. It was received with praise for its gritty realistic, highly authentic and true-to-life portrayal of soldiers in combat and the bonds that form amongst them, however, not all of Hell's Highway's reviews and aspects were ideal, with many citing the lack of any real support for its multi-player and the uneven gameplay and modes as steps backwards from the previous entries into the series. Positive things cited by many critics included the voice work, which many reviewers noted as a high step up from previous entries, as well as the story, which worked on a much grander level as well as personnel to show the true horrors of war.
Other issues cited were a collection of bugs, primarily in multi-player, which some saw as damaging to the games overall worth. In summary, the single player was seen as an incredible and well written trek through the horrors of Operation Market Garden, while the multi-player component was seen as sub-par. As the single player was praised and the multiplayer fell short of what was expected, Brothers in Arms was mostly seen as a single player game.
Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway has also been published into a popular companion novel for the video game by the video game's historical director, Colonel John Antal, who served in the United States Army and retired after 30 years
The uncensored version was banned in germany. There is a censored version available there, which lacks the killcams, blood and gore as well as the hanged woman in Five-Oh-Sink. Also, Paddock's line "And then he pulled out one of those Hitler Youth Knives and tried to shank me with it" was changed to "And then he pulled out some strange knife and wanted to stab me" in order to avoid Hitler's name. This version is rated USK 18, which is equal to the PEGI 18 and ERSB AO ratings.
- There are rarely any friendly NPCs outside of Baker's squad who assist in combat. The few exceptions being two British soldiers in Baptism of Fire, and some scattered Americans in Operation Market.
- The "Hell's Highway" was a nick name for Highway 69 in Holland by 101st Airborne Division during Operation Market Garden.