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Overview and Premise
Armed Assault II, more popularly referred to as ArmA 2, is a story oriented tactical First Person Shooter from Bohemia Interactive due to release in June of 2009, exclusively for Xbox 360 and PC. In the first Armed Assault game, ArmA: Combat Operations (ArmA: CO), players taking on the role of U.S. Military forces were emersed in realistic combat situations where there successes and failures had a direct effect on the storyline of the game. Not only did this make for interesting gameplay and a high level of storyline involvement, it created strong re-play value for the game, in essence dictating that no two play-throughs would ever be exactly the same.
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ArmA 2, in the same way as ArmA: CO, is set in a modern time frame. The storyline takes place in Chernarus, a post-soviet nation in Asia. Players put on the role of US Marine Force Recon soldiers who are sent in to handle a destructive uprising, protect civilians, and restore stability to the nation.
This is in no way an original theme, though I believe the execution of it will far surpass any similar themes we've seen in gaming to date. More remarkable than the premise of the game is the way that the players actions will have a direct effect on the storyline, which will ever be evolving. At E3 the developers gave an example of the kind of actions that would change storyline, saying that if a player were to harm or terrorize civilians then that could lead them to sharing crucial information with the enemy, thereby changing the outcome of a given battle, or even setting the stage for a battle that could have been avoided.
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Thus far the graphics that have been released as stills look fantastic, featuring huge environments with very lifelike details. While some of the early in-game video clips seamed to leave something to be desired, I believe that the games visual appeal will only continue to grow throughout the development process. Bohemia Interactive has put massive effort and dollars into creating a realistic game as far as combat, AI, and storyline go. There is no way they're going to skimp on graphics.
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Besides featuring realistic graphics and an interactive storyline, ArmA 2 will also bring an improved realistic combat system. Beyond just pointing and shooting a gun, players will experience levels that involve thousands of units with sophisticated AI, vehicles, air support, and even adaptive communication. While little else has been leaked about this highly anticipated upcoming game, I have a feeling that what is coming is going to be like nothing we've experienced before.
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Armed Assault 2 is definitely ranking high on my list of anticipated games. I'm a sucker for highly interactive and story-oriented games, and if those games involve guns, bombs, and advanced tactics then I'm completely consumed. My only concerns at this point are related to the "epicness" of the storyline. Too many games with advanced features and graphics end up going with a cliche storyline such as the one that has been fed to us so far, thus reducing the epic impact that the game would otherwise had. Think of Halo, for example. The mechanics weren't all the much more advanced than other games around at the time, but the storyline was truly epic, so much so that a series of books based around it have become best sellers. (I've read them, they're fantastic). So, I hope that when I get involved in the storyline of ArmA 2 that its a storyline that I'm going to actually enjoy being a part of.