Okay, there really should be a big warning or sticker or something on the case that says "YOU MUST PLAY THE FIRST TWO GAMES IN THIS SERIES FIRST." Because they're not going to do a damn thing to make you care about ANY of the characters in this game alone.
This game really does seem to pick up where the last game left off, and despite a "Previously, in Brothers in Arms" segment, I really had no clue what was going on. Also, understand this: I'm something of a WWII history buff, so I already know that this isn't going to end well. But the game talks about characters that I don't know about, dropping info that might have seemed relevant if I knew who the hell they were talking about, but I didn't, so it was completely lost on me. Plus, it got kind of hard to care about any one soldier in my squad, because when they bite it in gameplay, they just magically sprang back to life for the next cutscene. So when a character dies in a cutscene, I just wait for him to spring back to life at the next checkpoint. But I guess they took notes from Halo, where in game a story-centric character can absorb an unholy amount of enemy ordinance, but a single bullet will put them down in a cutscene. So much for the story.
The visuals, oh man, the graphics in this game are ATROCIOUS. If I didn't know any better, I'd think this game was RUSHED. [It wasn't, this game had an absurdly long development cycle] Muddy visuals, a horrific framerate, absurd texture pop-in, just run the list of possible graphical issues, and this game has them all. This game is just UGLY. And normally I don't really care too much about graphical quality, but man, it's hard NOT to notice.
Okay, on to the gameplay. I'm a fan on smart, tactical shooters. I'm thinking, especially old-school Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon. I like shooters that require you to use your brain and come up with a plan as much as they require you to pull the trigger. The tactical element in this game is kind of a mixed bag. Sometimes the soldiers in my squad would do what I told them to, and other times it seemed like they were just lollygagging around, doing whatever the hell they wanted. When they did what I told them to do, the plan would usually go off without a hitch, I mean, it's pretty rudimentary strategy, set up a base of fire to pin enemies, then flank them and mow them down, rinse, repeat. But when those same soldiers would just stand out in the open, rather than take cover behind the wall in front of them like I told them to, man, they'd just get cut down like wheat before the scythe. Your squadmates seem to have the self-preservation instincts of a lemming. Still, for a baby's-first-tactical-shooter game, it works, sometimes. They just milk that one-trick pony of flanking an enemy position for all it's worth.
I mean, this isn't the worst game I've ever played, but if you haven't played the first two games in the series, STEER CLEAR OF THIS GAME, because it certainly can't stand on it's own as a game or as story.