Name: Arma 2 Combined Operations
Developer(s): Bohemia Interactive
Publisher(s): 505 Games
Age rating: 16 (PEGI)
When it comes to first person shooters you think of the names Call of Duty, Battlefield, Halo or Bioshock, but there’s a new name that’s come about recently – Arma 2. Although this is only available on PC, it can be said that the ever increasing popularity of this game puts it up there with the most played first person shooters, but does it’s popularity mean that it’s a good game?
Arma 2 Combined Operations includes Arma 2, Arma 2 Operation Arrowhead Beta and the Operation Arrowhead full release. This alone is a huge amount of content which can last an experience gamer for at least a week on the easiest difficulty alone. This is due to the enormity and complexity of the campaign mode which really gives an insight and showcases the best parts of Arma 2. Unlike most first person shooters, Arma 2 has some of the most intense and realistic tactical game play you could ever find in not only a shooter, but any game out there.
It allows for you to control your own movements, your whole squad or even an individual by calling specific call outs which can be altered at any given time. This not only brings a unique technicality to the game, but when in the heat of battle, making one small error can not only cost the lives of just a single team mate, but possibly of your whole squad, making missions even harder than already given. Not only can you control your own squad with voice controls, but there is also the ability to control strikes, attacks and even decide what weapons to use. Although this is pretty impressive, it’s nothing compared to the complexity of the world you play in. Although Arma 2 has set missions, the landscape is vast, allowing you to fully explore certain areas of the map, each with insane levels of detail and fantastic graphic features which really showcase off both one of the high points and low points of Arma 2.
Arma 2 contains some of the best visuals there is in a first person shooter, combining superb detail such as extremely high quality trees and environmental graphics, to extremely high quality and superbly rendered characters and vehicles. Not only is this a great feature, but also creates an extremely immersive game which allows the gamer to get even more engrossed with the game and allows for a better gaming experience. Although this is fantastic, there is also the down side to such advanced and detailed graphics. Even with a pretty high end computer system, graphics can be at times somewhat lagged and most lower end computers even on lower settings. This can be a massive pain when playing in greater detailed environments and can not only be a slight issue but also ruin your complete gaming experience. You need a pretty high spec PC to get the best out of the graphics, and sadly, a lot of gamers don’t have the money to buy such a high spec machine.
Furthermore, vehicles also play a big part in Arma 2. Vehicles range from military vehicles such as tanks, 50 cal boats, Humvees and the inclusion of choppers to normal day to day vehicles such as motorbikes, 4×4’s and saloon cars. These are only a handful of the vehicles which are included in Arma 2 and although there’s similar vehicles in a lot of other open world games and first person shooters, the level of detail in Arma 2 something which not a lot of games contain. When using vehicles, supplies are low, a simple shot on the tire may cause a blow out and therefore the need to get spare parts, supply kits and materials to fix your vehicles is vital. This makes the tactical side of things even more important than usual and requires the gamer to think about routes and be a little more prepared than they usually would be in a game like Battlefield or Call of Duty. This adds to the unique style of gamer Arma 2 has been created for. Although the vehicles don’t directly come in to the campaign or story mode, when it comes to multiplayer this plays a big part and multiplayer is by far the best part of Arma 2.
As with many PC games, Arma 2 has a selection of modifications which can enhance the game and make it even more impressive than in its original state is. The most impressive and most used of which is DayZ. The main aim of DayZ is to stay safe from hordes of zombies which populate all towns and cities, and starts you off with the bare minimum in terms of food and water, which will only last for a few hours in game time. This means you have to forage through the various areas to pick up ammunition, new equipment and to keep stock of food and water to keep you going.
If this isn’t hard enough, to go with the zombies, up to a maximum of 79 other members will be trying to hunt and shoot you down. This changes the game from being a straight forward first person shooter to a game which has incredibly detailed tactics and the need for a sharp mind to get yourself out of tricky and somewhat difficult situations. As with the rest of the game modes, DayZ has a selection of vehicles scattered round the map, with random spawn points meaning each server will have different spawned vehicles. This all adds to the lottery of the game, but equally requires skill and cunning to secure the vehicles, as every player goes for them, meaning huge gunfights usually ensue around the locations of the vehicles.
Although DayZ is the most played and talked about multiplayer mod contained in Arma 2, other online modes are available such as Wasteland. This is your standard online mode, where all DayZ features are included but with no zombies. This makes it somewhat simpler than DayZ but none the less still includes all the fun. Because of this, online mode is an extremely important inclusion of Arma 2, and is much more light hearted and less tense than DayZ. Although you’re still always using tactics to secure the best positions, you don’t have to worry about the constant zombie threat – only the other players on the server.
Because of the complexity of the game, controls can be somewhat difficult to get to grips with. Although basic shooting is the norm with all keyboard and mouse shooting games, using the tactical modes can be a little difficult. This wouldn’t be so difficult had there been only a few different menus to navigate through, but due to the complexity, it makes it increasingly difficult to keep control and takes a long time to get used to it. Because of the amount of controls, it also makes it incredibly difficult to be able to use a gamepad, therefore making the only real option to be using a keyboard and mouse which, although is great, takes some getting used to.
All in all, Arma 2 is a fantastic game. Not only does it combine some of the greatest graphics that an open world shooter contains, but the gameplay and quality that it contains is superb. Not only is the content provided at an extremely high level, but the online multiplayer modifications also live up to this standard. To me this shows off what a fantastic community the Arma series contains, with incredible amounts of detail and although still in its early development stages in the gaming market, Arma creators Bohemia Interactive have shown what they can create. Yes there are slight bugs and issues within the game such as the gaming controls, but it can’t detract from the true meaning of the game – an incredibly detailed and realistic shooter.
Although this may not be for the Call of Duty or Battlefield fans, this is definitely one to try and with it being nurtured through years of development, is the full package! Let’s hope Arma 3 can live up to expectation and with even greater graphics and development being given, should blow us away!
+ Superb Graphics allow for great immersion
+ Incredibly detailed gameplay with fantastic multiplayer modes
- At times too challenging for some gamers
Summary: A fantastic PC exclusive, with some great mod to try out. The multiplayer just keeps giving
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