Brother's in Arms is a tactical first person shooter, which is a strange combination. It is set in the World War 2 era on D-Day and the next few days that followed. What separates it from other games is that you are a squad leader in charge of one or two squads. You face enemies that have a remarkably smart AI.
Your shooting abilities aren't those of a sniper, even if you are used to dominating with low caliber guns in other games. While annoying at first, it forces you to make tactical battlefield decisions instead of just running out like rambo on all-you-can-headshot Tuesdays. You do that.. and you *will* be killed.
As you adjust your position around the available battlefield the enemy shifts into as defensively superior a position as they can find. You must command your fire squad to lay down suppressive fire, which causes the enemy to become less and less likely to pop their head out at you. At this point they are most vulnerable to flank attacks, which is typically how you utilize your second (assault) squad who carry an armament of machine guns.
The missions in the game are not only true-to-history, but Gearbox goes as far as to unlock game "extras" for beating a level that show you precisely how closely the game mirrors what actually happened. Everything from the weapons, the missions, to the architecture of buildings themselves was duplicated for the game based on historic accounts of the events of that time.
Okay, so COD2.. It's a typical FPS killfest with WW2-inspired graphics. You do have allied support in the form of an unlimited supply of stupid soldiers, who rush right past you into the line of fire every time. In Brothers and Arms your squad is very smart.. knowing how to take cover automatically behind available defensive structures.
The enemies? Grab a rifle and it's headshot city. They don't hide all that effectively, usually having some part of their body protruding from the defensive position they are in. Hell, you can take out an MG42 with a single shot.. well, if there weren't a seemingly endless supply of soldiers to take the position of gunner after the first headshot. Rinse, lather, repeat.. the outcome is the same over and over.
For as hyped as COD2, BIA has spoiled me.. while I know it won't appeal to everyone, I find it to be substantially more appealing to decimate an enemy not by rambo-tactics, but by outsmarting them by utilizing true-to-life battlefield tactics. I've played paintball before, which is the closest I've ever come to playing real life battle scenarios. Anybody goes Rambo gets shot.. quickly. And I don't think it's going to differ much in real military action.
COD2 is most worthwhile for it's Multiplayer action, which will satisfy the shoot-and-kill urges of hardcore FPS fans.