Hey, World War II, it's been awhile. How's it going, buddy?
It looks like you're touting new graphics and some multiplayer - man, that's great. There's a campaign set in the Pacific against Imperial Japanese forces, which sounds like a nice change of pace after all those years dogging on the Germans.
Oh, and you've got Nazis. Well, that's okay because with all these new features the action must be pretty fresh, right?
Brothers in Arms 2: Global Front chronicles the story of US Corporal David Wilson across four campaigns - Africa, Sicily, Europe (which follows the Allied push from Normandy to Berlin), and the Pacific - as he searches for the truth behind his little brother's untimely death. It's World War II gun-slinging with a heartfelt twist.
The storytelling could stand improvement - the voice acting sounds like a bunch of fraternity pledges recorded between swigs - but the action is familiar and satisfying. Nonetheless, there are issues with the controls and game design that prevent it from being a hero of the genre.
Get a grip
A virtual analogue stick controls movement by default, while swiping anywhere on the screen adjusts your view. It's the same straightforward, intuitive scheme used in other well-to-do shooters: however, the addition of extra buttons clogs the screen and cramps the controls.
Joining the 'fire' button on the right is a 'dash' key and iron sights toggle. This seemingly small addition has a profound impact on the amount of available screen space.
Your right thumb has to start swiping much farther in from the centre of the screen when adjusting the camera due to the placement of these buttons. This results in your fingers covering up much of the screen and the controls feeling very crowded.
An option to re-situate the 'dash' button or eliminate it entirely would help minimise the problem. Alternative control configurations are provided that do just that, though at a cost.
A twin-stick scheme, for instance, feels less crowded because you trade intuitive swipe-anywhere camera controls for a more restrictive analogue stick.
Aim assist and forgiving level design counterbalance control deficiencies. While frustration is avoided, these elements render Brothers in Arms 2 hollow at times. You don't even have to put much effort into aiming - as long as you're in the general vicinity of enemy flesh, the bullets will hit the mark.
Playing through the campaign on Hard does away with aim assist for a greater challenge, but it only becomes available after you're completed the campaign once.
Scripted missions ensure thrilling moments, though they come with an equal share of groan-worthy scenarios. Checkpoints with endlessly spawning enemies that only disappear once you hit the next checkpoint are lame and the result of lazy game design. In some levels, you can literally watch the enemies pop into view as they spawn.
Rank and file
Multiplayer provides a limited escape from such inane sequences. Deathmatch, Team Battle, and Domination modes are available on five maps for up to six players via local wi-fi or online.
Some maps are much better than others (Sicily is great, Bridges is horrible). The inability to customise rules creates friction since grenade spamming is possible and rocket launchers make for aggravating one-hit kills. Rank promotions based on experience and dog tags collected for each unique kill are nice ideas.
Despite so many shortcomings, Brothers in Arms 2 remains enjoyable by virtue of its non-stop, varied action. There's a lot of gameplay here, and while it's not always of the highest quality, it's good enough to get the job done.
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