Plotline - ArmA 2 Review (4 out of 5)
At the surface, ArmA 2 plays out like any first person shooter taking place in a modern warzone – a central European country is one wrong move away from civil war between the pro-western government and communist rebels. The player takes the role of squad member in a US Government intervention to the nation’s trouble.
The direction which the story goes is completely dependent on the actions of the players. In this way, developers Bohemia Interactive have been quoted as saying that the game has roleplaying aspects behind it, as a player’s action not only effect themselves, but the entire game world around them.
Gameplay (4 out of 5)
ArmA 2 can be incredibly unforgiving. A single shot from a weapon can kill a player or immobilize, causing them to lie on the ground, bleeding out. It is in this environment that players must pay close attention to what they do. The game is not of the likes of Call of Duty and Killzone, where players are free to abandon cover and broadside their enemies. Indeed, cover must be found at all times, as the enemies, while not perfect by any means, will not miss the opportunity to kill a wayward soldier.
An interesting aspect of the game which is true to modern warfare is to distance firefights take place over. Most are long ranged skirmishes where enemy soldiers are barely within the sights of the player. Blindly firing weapons at the horizon will not benefit the situation either – the player must with diligence line up and take each shot with a short volley of 3-4 rounds. It isn’t the most glamorous way of taking down an enemy, but it’s right on the money to real world defence forces techniques.
The inhabitants of the war torn country add to the immersive experience the game presents. They can be communicated with for information on enemy movements, or terrorized to the point that they would rather go to the insurgency than the player for protection.
Multiplayer (5 out of 5)
The entire game is able to be played through with the assistance of up to four team mates. Not only can it be fun for a player and his friends to play through the game as if an actual soldier, talking to each other and just generally acting like one, it’s also a big help in overcoming the stupidity of the AI at times.
Controls (4 out of 5)
ArmA II’s control tend to be incredibly unforgiving, with a pixel off in a player’s aim contributing to a complete miss in longer range firefights. This is by no means a flaw in the controls, however, as this gives players a very close comparison to what aiming the weapons during long range fights would actually be like. Movement is easy, smooth and realistic.
Graphics (4 out of 5)
Along with a realistic gameplay experience, ArmA II sets out to offer a polished graphics performance to rival the most popular shooters out now. For the most part Bohemia Interactive have been successful in presenting excellence in graphics. The army kits are well constructed and fairly faithful to their real life counterparts.
It does, however, have a number of bugs which plague the game on some Windows Vista and Windows 7 systems. This is disappointing, as being a modern game, players should expect it to work on Microsoft’s newest operating systems. After some googling it was found that if the game appears to be completing lacking textures(all graphics are grey boxes), it can be alleviating by adding a -winxp in the command line, which will cause the game to run in XP compatibility mode. The downside to this is the compatibility mode makes less of the system’s RAM available, but for most modern PCs this should not be a problem.
Sound (3 out of 5)
While the weapon sounds in the game are accurate to the real life weapons, and are well recorded, it seems as though Bohemia Interactive’s budget ran out when it came to recruiting voice actors for ArmA II. It’s hard to believe that soldiers would be so nonchalant when faced with a fierce firefight against a brutal insurgency.
The soundtrack is quality listening and well suited to the game, with different styles of music being played during different events in game. For example, a firefight may trigger a more intense song then travelling between settlements on foot.
Verdict (4 out of 5)
ArmA II is a must have game for fans of military realism. While for those well versed in the typical first person shooters of the current generation of games, while it may not be of huge enjoyment at the start of its campaign, it does give an eye opening view of something closer to real life conflict than the likes of Call of Duty and Battlefield 2 offer.
For anyone considering buying this game it is essential to upgrade it to the latest version before playing, as many ridiculous bugs are present in the game’s retail version.
ArmA II is in stores now.