Brothers in Arms 3 : Sons of War

By Sharad Hirjee - January 16th, 2015


Over the holiday season I picked myself up and iPad Mini (with retina display), so when the opportunity came up to review Gearbox Software’s Brothers in Arms 3: Sons of War (iTunes or Android), I put up my hand. As a lover of first-person shooters, I was curious to see how this genre made the jump from the console systems and PC to the hand-held device. I must say that I was impressed with the game-play and that I have continued to play the game after the completion of my review. However, as fun and entertaining as this title is, the game-play is detracted from – but not for the reason that you may think.

The game itself is designed well and suits mobile devices perfectly as each mission only takes 5 minutes or so to complete – so it is ideal for almost any environment. Game controls consist of a virtual D-pad on the left side of the screen to control your character’s motion and a group of triggers on the right side to fire your weapon, deploy consumables (rocket launcher, hand grenade, etc.), or engage one of your brothers. The controls are very intuitive and I found that there was almost no learning curve at all; it took just a few seconds after installing the game to start unleashing my arsenal on the enemy, making my way through Normandy in 1944.

“You’re not in the Matrix, son.”

The movement, namely running and turning your character, does take a little time to perfect, and aiming is very easy to get the hang of. Every once in a while when you line up a perfect head-shot, you are treated to a little Matrix-esque vignette that follows the bullet in pan-and-scan slow motion. It is a very cool effect, and adds a little cinematic flair to the experience. Being a mobile game, I wasn’t expecting too much in the way of content and aesthetics. However, there are a good number of maps and game areas to run around in, which impressed me; and the quality of the graphics and textures also exceeded my expectations of a game on this platform.

In addition to your own weapons, there are several brothers that can accompany you – but you are only able to assign one per mission. Each brother has a unique weapon that he brings along to help in completing the mission: one carries an assault rifle, one carries a sniper rifle, one brings along a rocket launcher, and one can call in air strikes – there are 12 in all. So, obviously, assigning the right brother to the right mission is important.

Each completed mission earns you tags/points which can be used to upgrade your weapons or your the skills of your brothers. This is where you encounter what is the only significant downside of this game. The game has all sorts of timers – some of them bordering on ludicrous. Let’s say, for example, that you are upgrading your sniper rifle’s stability to level one; even though you have earned the required points, there is a timer that you must wait out to complete the upgrade. The duration of the first timer is maybe only a minute or two – so no real inconvenience. However, as the scale moves up to the better weapons and higher levels of stability, you have to wait a shocking two-and-a-half hours for the upgrade to complete!

Pranking your buddy by shooting him is frowned upon – especially by your buddy.

In addition to the upgrade timers you are limited to how long you can play the game at any given time based on your energy level. Of course you can wait 15 minutes to earn 1 unit (the average game requires 4). I understand that this is a free-to-play game, but all of the imposed timers really start to test your patience after playing for a while. Alternatively, of course, you can buy credits and use them for additional instantaneous energy, upgrades or consumables. Understandably, Gameloft is really pushing for the real money purchase of tokens/credits – unfortunately, I feel that this creates an imbalance to the point where it is actually annoying.

While I really enjoy the actual game-play, and the quality of the build, I feel as if I cannot recommend this title to the average gamer. Unless one is ready for an aggressive push for in-game purchases using real money (which feels a bit out of whack), or unless Gameloft decides to change the ratio of free to premium content, I’m not sure how much the average gamer will enjoy it before it wears thin. If you’re still interested, you can check it out on iTunes or Google Play – it is free after all.

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