seraphim2150's ArmA 2 (PC) review

ARMA II - A Crazy Girlfriend

Developer – Bohemia Interactive
Publisher – 505 Games
Platforms – PC
Release – 19/06/09

Anyone who is used to the conventions of other FPS games, its recommended that you leave your normal playing style at the door. This is because you are entering the world of the Milsim.

ARMA 2 is the latest version of a game idea stretching back to 2002. Operation Flashpoint was released by Codemasters and developed by Bohemia Interactive (a company who also makes games used to train soldiers in both the UK and US military). Then, Bohemia and Codemasters had a falling out which lead to Bohemia taking the tech back the the Czech Republic and Codemasters keeping the name. Bohemia then produced ARMA (released 2005) and now ARMA 2.

ARMA 2 is set in a fictional ex-soviet bloc state called Chernaus where a civil war between the democratic government and communist insurgents has been taking place. In the singleplayer campaign you take the role of a US marine special forces team sent in to assist the locals alongside a Marine force. As well as this there are some other self contained missions of varying levels of enjoyment (the mission Eye for an Eye is the best example and requires a very specialised technique to play properly). Overall they are reasonably good. But not the main reason for buying ARMA 2.

Once again, the phenomenal editor which was featured in ARMA returns. It is easy to use and yet exceptionally powerful if you delve into the dark arts behind it.  A casual player can use the wizard mission creator, allowing most of the common mission styles (such as defence or assassination missions) to be constructed with a few clicks of the mouse. Put a bit more work in on the full editor and add waypoints yourself and missions close to some of the single missions can be created. However, if you start using the scripting then missions at the level of the campaign or better can be made. And all of this is done inside the game making it very easy to tweak and test. Multiplayer is another key part of the package that is ARMA 2. Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Sectors and Warfare (a mode involving base building and point capture) are included, but the main method of ARMA 2 multiplayer is co op. The main campaign is almost designed for co op play with your four man squad. This is the best option for people not wanting to get extra maps, but other maps from the community promise to be better than the stock ones. ARMA 2 acts more as a platform for community addons rather than a complete game

Another thing ARMA 2 does well is the sheer amount of units, weapons and other objects that appear in the game. There are men and machines for the USMC, the Russians, the CDF, the Communist Insurgents, the National Party Guerrillas and the civilians. There are even playable versions of the local wildlife. So yes, you can run around a war zone as a small rabbit. All the vehicles and weapons are detailed to the extreme (showing the obvious training tool routes) and all sound, react and have the feel of the real thing. The same applies to the gameplay. In ARMA 2, bullets and other projectiles act like they would in real life. Aiming is affected by stance, breathlessness, wind, weather, distance… The list goes on. It requires the skills needed by real life shooters to be able to get kills at long range. Another difference between COD and ARMA 2 is the command system. In my opinion its a bit clunky, as it has hardly been changed since Operation Flashpoint. The changes that has been done is a quick commands menu which makes it easier to lead troops, but not by much. Another addition is a step over key allowing you to cross obstacles like fences easily, as opposed to having to trek around it. There are countless other changes between ARMA and ARMA 2.

One change that, unfortunately, hasn’t been made is the number of bugs. ARMA 2 still has some problems, even after a few patches. Quite a few of these are random, and will take place at any time. Admittedly its a lot better than ARMA at this stage, but the bugs are still there. Also the learning curve is quite steep; expect to put a long time into learning how all the different weapon systems work. Another flaw is the engine itself. It is in need of a bit of optimisation and so runs sluggish on almost any PC. However, the visuals are, in many cases, well worth a drop in performance. Some of the views over the main island could be called picturesque while a battle in full swing when rendered is a sight that will stay in your mind for a long time.

ARMA 2 is a bit like a slightly crazy girlfriend. Its beautiful, its nice to be with but at any time, it might turn round and rip your face off or fall over dead. Its also a vast improvement over Armed Assault I’m looking forward to seeing how the community can improve and add to this amazing experience of war.

I give ARMA 2 for PC 89%

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