Saturday, May 23, 2009

ArmA: Armed Assault (PC)

Time for a quick series of game reviews. First in row is ArmA, the successor to Operation Flashpoint, which happens to be one of my favorite games of all times. ArmA doesn't try anything risky, instead it pretty much continues Operation Flashpoint. The graphics are improved, the GUI is a little streamlined, now giving you a default action for objects and a big menu to collect weapons, but the core gameplay is pretty much exactly the same as before. So much actually that ArmA seems more like a face lift then a real successor. This is kind of a downer as Operation Flashpoint had quite a handful of issues such as awful indoor fighting, which mostly continue to persist.

The biggest change from the predecessor is probably the story. Instead of a character based story, the story is this time told via news casts and interviews only. This removes quite a bit of the immersion and lets the missions seem a little random. The story gets more interesting towards the end, but it takes quite a while to pick up. Another change is in that you now no longer have a completly linear mission progression, but instead each mission has optional side missions. While it sounds interesting on paper I found it to further dilute the story aspect of the game, makes it hard to keep track of what is actually going on between all those side missions. I also found the difficulty in the missions a bit out of balance, some earlier missions gave me quite a hard time and seem to feature and overly huge amount of enemies, giving the game a more arcade like feel then a realistic one, there are also now explosive barrel, which really don't fit the game. Against the end of the campaign those issues however seem to have gone and the game started to provide just as much fun as Operation Flashpoint did back in the day.

Overall its a pretty fine game, but it can't quite hold up to Operation Flashpoint as a whole and aside from a few tweaks here and there it just doesn't bring much new to the table. ArmA2 is going to be released in a few days, lets see if that brings anything new.

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