As we reported late last month, Touch Arcade had the opportunity to visit Gameloft's Manhattan offices and spend a bit of hands-on time with their upcoming WWII-based first person shooter, Brother in Arms 2: Global Front. Tonight the game landed in the App Store and, after spending a few days with this final build, we have some thoughts to share on Gameloft's latest.

When the first Brothers in Arms title for the iPhone landed in the App Store back in November 2008, it was a highly notable release and almost certainly the most complex 3D game to be released for the platform at the time. It was (and is) a well executed iPhone take on an extremely popular console / PC franchise, wowing most but drawing criticism for a "difficult" control system.

Brothers in Arms 2: Global Front, designed from the ground up specifically for the iPhone, comes to us over a year later.  So what has a year brought us in the sequel to such a bold initial platform release? Quite a bit, it turns out.

Brothers in Arms 2, weighing in at over three times the filesize of its predecessor, brings to the iPhone a much larger game experience. This time around it's a first person affair, as opposed to the third-person, over-the-shoulder experience that is the first title. Actually, when in duck-and-cover mode, BIA2 does jump out to third person -- and that's something you'll see often, as using crates, walls, and tanks for cover is pretty much par for the course in this title. That is, when you're not sprinting across the battlefield, manning the turret in a jeep or tank, or piloting a "glider" through heavy flack. Yea, it's pretty intense.

BIA2 drops you neatly into WWII as the young American soldier David Wilson on a mission to push back the Germans and Japanese and get the backs of his brothers in arms in the thick of battle. But, before long, an ominous bit of correspondence reveals that his actual brother, Eric, has been killed and was given the medal of honor -- but that medal was revoked due to uncertain circumstances. It's Wilson's additional mission to get to the bottom of the mystery and clear his brother's good name. Pretty heavy stuff, really.

The tools of the trade are many. Available weapons include bazookas, fixed machine guns, flame throwers, Thompson submachine guns, and grenades. (The default play mode offers targeting assistance, which I find helpful, but it can be disabled.) There are three different modes of play, in all, to choose from. The default is a mission to mission progression through 13 levels across five different locales: Pacific, Sicily, Normandy, Germany, and North Africa. Any unlocked locale can also be chosen for quick play in Campaign mode. And, finally, local network play is possible by way of either WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity.

The game's control system feels a bit more workable than that of the original iPhone release. This is due, in part, to the various refined methods of multitouch, onscreen controls offered, but also to the fact that, during the year that's gone by since the originals release, we've come to know a great many 3D shooters utilizing dual-stick (and the like) controls. We're just far more used to this iPhone control mechanic than we were back in November 2008. Whatever the precise combination of reasons, you're going to find BIA2 to feel more comfortable than did the original release.

While BIA brought impressive visuals when it made its debut, so too does BIA2, and that's said taking into account the significant raising of the bar that's taken place over the past year. The environment models have indeed grown in complexity, but more impressive are the subtle visual touches that BIA2 brings. Shafts of light through the trees, HDR blooms (there's an options toggle there) -- it all comes together to make for a pretty amazing looking game, very "modern console"-like (on my 3GS).

The game features various trophies that are granted based upon particularly savvy battlefield performance, as well as for finding as many "Kilroy was here" tags as possible. Performance is tracked by way of the integrated Gameloft LIVE network.

And, while the game offers excellent action, often at a frantic pace, it does have a few shortcomings. Framerate is generally quite high on the iPhone 3GS, but occasional (loading?) lags do occur, causing brief pauses in the action and studders to the audio at times. As well, in an apparent glitch where I went off the expected story line, I entered a room and wiped out everything alive, exited the room, only to find it once again full of enemies upon revisiting said room -- though this was an isolated occurrence.

And, about that room full of soldiers, or soldiers anywhere in the game, really -- the enemy AI that commands them is quite basic. If you're re-playing a scenario after having died, the enemy does the exact same thing the second time around, making it quite easy to wipe out the lot. A little more complex / varied AI would certainly add depth to the battle experience.

See Gameloft's recent trailer video for a look at a variety of in-game scenarios.

That I can pick a few nits in the title does not mark Brothers in Arms 2 a game to avoid. On the contrary, it is a highly enjoyable, action-packed shooter that offers some of the most intense battle sequences you'll find on the iPhone, making this latest from Gameloft a gaming experience that's rather hard to pass up.

App Store Link: Brothers in Arms 2: Global Front, $7.99

TouchArcade Rating

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  • John

    8 bucks.... nah, I'll wait for a sale.

    Gameloft is upping their prices.

    • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

      The original 'Brothers in Arms' for iPhone landed at $9.99.

    • oliath

      Gameloft are also upping the quality of their games so it's justified.

      I really do feel for you if 8 bucks is a big stretch.... i mean come on... its this sort of tightness which has pushed the great ngmoco into hell.

  • http://micro John

    8 bucks.... nah, I'll wait for a sale.

    Gameloft is upping their prices.

    • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

      The original 'Brothers in Arms' for iPhone landed at $9.99.

    • oliath

      Gameloft are also upping the quality of their games so it's justified.

      I really do feel for you if 8 bucks is a big stretch.... i mean come on... its this sort of tightness which has pushed the great ngmoco into hell.

  • dumas1000

    Meh.... I played an online match and it was all run n gun meets spray n pray. Rifles were cumbersome and/or underpowered. Sights are small and there's a lot of recoil. The Thompson can be used without the sights and seems overpowered. So it's just a bunch of people running around like chickens with their heads cut off spraying their Thompsons everywhere and occasionally nade spamming.

    On the bright side, it does work with 3g unrestrictor, but I didn't find the gameplay compelling. Perhaps they should have instituted classes. Although I really had a lot of fun playing Perfect Dark Zero for the 360, which was also based on old school weapon pickups. There doesn't seem like there's much room for strategy here, to be honest.

  • dumas1000

    Meh.... I played an online match and it was all run n gun meets spray n pray. Rifles were cumbersome and/or underpowered. Sights are small and there's a lot of recoil. The Thompson can be used without the sights and seems overpowered. So it's just a bunch of people running around like chickens with their heads cut off spraying their Thompsons everywhere and occasionally nade spamming.

    On the bright side, it does work with 3g unrestrictor, but I didn't find the gameplay compelling. Perhaps they should have instituted classes. Although I really had a lot of fun playing Perfect Dark Zero for the 360, which was also based on old school weapon pickups. There doesn't seem like there's much room for strategy here, to be honest.

  • Dammster

    Great review. However I was curious about multiplayer.

  • Dammster

    Great review. However I was curious about multiplayer.

  • dumas1000

    And people do die too quickly, and the spawn system, which isn't a system at all, is broken. You spawn randomly, pretty much anywhere, with no shielding. It is possible to die literally 1 second after spawning. It is possible to spawn right in between two enemies, so your are flanked and you die instaneously. It's random chaos, really. Poor, sloppy, lazy design. Pretty much all come to mind.

  • dumas1000

    And people do die too quickly, and the spawn system, which isn't a system at all, is broken. You spawn randomly, pretty much anywhere, with no shielding. It is possible to die literally 1 second after spawning. It is possible to spawn right in between two enemies, so your are flanked and you die instaneously. It's random chaos, really. Poor, sloppy, lazy design. Pretty much all come to mind.

  • http://flare.lefora.com/ Omada61

    i like the game but the controls ruin it. they feel clunky and out dated. like they went back to the way controls were in the original. it is super hard to aim while firing. as for strategy in the multiplayer matches. i think people will find ways to use the cover system as an advantage and destroy the run and gunners. thats just happening right now because the controls suck and its hard to do anything else.

  • http://flare.lefora.com/ Omada61

    i like the game but the controls ruin it. they feel clunky and out dated. like they went back to the way controls were in the original. it is super hard to aim while firing. as for strategy in the multiplayer matches. i think people will find ways to use the cover system as an advantage and destroy the run and gunners. thats just happening right now because the controls suck and its hard to do anything else.

  • Greg

    Your reasoning of how this game has an improved control system makes no sense. Just because you have played enough games to get comfortable with twinstick shooters doesn't mean any of us have. I guarantee you've played more games than us, so of course you would be used to it.

  • Greg

    Your reasoning of how this game has an improved control system makes no sense. Just because you have played enough games to get comfortable with twinstick shooters doesn't mean any of us have. I guarantee you've played more games than us, so of course you would be used to it.

  • Iblackdude

    I can't wait to download.

    Thanks Gameloft

  • Iblackdude

    I can't wait to download.

    Thanks Gameloft

  • Creck

    Bullsh*t, this game sucks, i hate the controls ... N.O.V.A is way better !

  • Creck

    Bullsh*t, this game sucks, i hate the controls ... N.O.V.A is way better !

  • Slayher

    This is a horrible review, you don't even look at the multiplayer... Well, for those of you wondering. It sucks, just as it sucked on all of their other games.
    There's a huge opportunity for a good publisher and dev to make an amazing multiplayer FPS and make a ton of money.
    1. Get the controls right. Sandstorm was almost there.
    2.Better matchmaking and a good lobby with chat and ability to join and invite friends like on Eliminate.
    3. COD style gameplay with large maps.
    4. 6 players with 3G support.
    5. Most importantly, make the connections more reliable, seems like I get kicked out of every single match due to host problems.
    6. Take all my money.

    • MaroonFree

      1. Sandstorm
      2. Eliminate
      3. COD Zombies
      4. Brothers in Arms 2
      5. NOVA
      6. COD Zombies

      Like you said, different games have grasped these concepts individually, and yes these aspects would make a wonderful FPS cocktail on the iphone OS. I'm sure developers will get there. I remember getting the 1st gen iphone and being impressed with an accelerometer based web app. The fact that we're getting so close to a PSP like experience on our cell phones is quite incredible.

  • Slayher

    This is a horrible review, you don't even look at the multiplayer... Well, for those of you wondering. It sucks, just as it sucked on all of their other games.
    There's a huge opportunity for a good publisher and dev to make an amazing multiplayer FPS and make a ton of money.
    1. Get the controls right. Sandstorm was almost there.
    2.Better matchmaking and a good lobby with chat and ability to join and invite friends like on Eliminate.
    3. COD style gameplay with large maps.
    4. 6 players with 3G support.
    5. Most importantly, make the connections more reliable, seems like I get kicked out of every single match due to host problems.
    6. Take all my money.

    • MaroonFree

      1. Sandstorm
      2. Eliminate
      3. COD Zombies
      4. Brothers in Arms 2
      5. NOVA
      6. COD Zombies

      Like you said, different games have grasped these concepts individually, and yes these aspects would make a wonderful FPS cocktail on the iphone OS. I\'m sure developers will get there. I remember getting the 1st gen iphone and being impressed with an accelerometer based web app. The fact that we\'re getting so close to a PSP like experience on our cell phones is quite incredible.

  • Psyber

    terrible sounds. the guns sound like farting noises. and if u kill certain people without the way they tell u to, they keep respawning. i figured that out after the one mission of trying to shoot/grenade a machine gunner (and killing him a thousand times) instead of flanking from the side and shooting him. the game also sometimes freezes during the loading. other than that, great graphics lol.

  • Psyber

    terrible sounds. the guns sound like farting noises. and if u kill certain people without the way they tell u to, they keep respawning. i figured that out after the one mission of trying to shoot/grenade a machine gunner (and killing him a thousand times) instead of flanking from the side and shooting him. the game also sometimes freezes during the loading. other than that, great graphics lol.

  • http://justgolfshafts.com/matrix Matrix Golf Shafts

    I use to play brother in arm in my laptop and it is a great arcade game..Is there available download today for brother in arms 2?because my game is a old version..thanks

  • http://justgolfshafts.com/matrix Matrix Golf Shafts

    I use to play brother in arm in my laptop and it is a great arcade game..Is there available download today for brother in arms 2?because my game is a old version..thanks

  • http://Gmail.com Bob

    How do you invite a friend? A blank screen appears with the word name.

  • http://Gmail.com Bob

    How do you invite a friend? A blank screen appears with the word name.

  • OFI

    How dó you control the glider? Where is the accelerator?

  • OFI

    How dó you control the glider? Where is the accelerator?

  • BJ

    do you need to be hooked into wifi to use it or is it just a simple game?

  • BJ

    do you need to be hooked into wifi to use it or is it just a simple game?

  • MF

    Thought the story-line was a bit heavy handed. I didn't even play it through yet and I'm sick of it. Plus I don't understand why a corporal would call another corporal "sir." And they keep talking about "joining" the army. I know people could volunteer, but wasn't it pretty much a draft army? If you're going to bother giving us a whole story, can you at least make it accurate and interesting?

  • MF

    Thought the story-line was a bit heavy handed. I didn't even play it through yet and I'm sick of it. Plus I don't understand why a corporal would call another corporal "sir." And they keep talking about "joining" the army. I know people could volunteer, but wasn't it pretty much a draft army? If you're going to bother giving us a whole story, can you at least make it accurate and interesting?

  • Alamin Taposh

    nova is suck but we Play multi Online BIA2 if Gr8