Arma 2, a pre-review

First, it:

  • is built on the same engine as opflash and arma, though it’s a new revision.
  • is the same exact type of game as opflash and arma.
  • is just as glitchy to control as opflash and arma.
  • is highly scalable and looks quite good.
  • is a simulator at its core.

And it:

  • is NOT the game we’ve all been waiting for Bohemian Interactive to make.
  • is NOT arcade-like in feel or style.
  • is NOT fun for those who enjoy FPS games like the battlefield series.
  • is NOT easy to control or master.

I am someone who has bought and played every iteration since the original operation flashpoint.

Here are my major issues with the game which you’re going to recognize.

First, the game is a simulator.  That means when you shoot stuff, you hit nothing unless by sheer luck.  Mouse controls are completely useless when  you’ve got such highly twitchy bullet physics.  When you zoom in, it affects your aim for half a second.  They are trying to be more story oriented this time.  Attempting to be more like battlefield: bad company.  That’s a good thing.  However, voice acting, as in all previous iterations, is completely terrible in English.  I know they’re russian, and they speak quite well, but they really can’t act in English.  It’s 3 shades of terrible, as always.  The black characters, and there’s a lot of them for some reason, don’t sound like black people.  And there’s only black and white characters.

We have such a mix of truly great features mixed with truly bad ones.  And the bad features are due to the simulation.  It detracts from the fun.  The engine has great control over the graphics settings.  There are only the standard 3 volume audio settings of voice, effects, and music.  One of the truly great features is the available options for input.  Keyboard controls take advantage of multi-key presses and key double taps if you like.  Joystick control is quite decent, though I would have love to have seen a dead zone setting in this one.  It did pick up my xbox 360 controller without a hitch.  The reason I wish there was a dead zone settings is because flying becomes nearly impossible when the tiniest touch of the controller sends the vehicle careening.  there is a setting to control individual axis sensitivity, which is great, but dead zone is really missing.

Mouse controls are also slightly twitchy, as always.  There is sensitivity settings for both mouse axes, but it seemed to have little effect.  I could never find that sweet spot.  It either moved too much or too little.  There is, what I like to call, over-swing in this game.  That is, momentum doesn’t let you stop on a dime.  Whether you’re aiming a rifle, or driving a car, or flying a heli, or aiming a mounted gun, it over-swings.  there seems to be no way around that.  It’s annoying at best.

Graphics are, as always, photo-realistic.  The textures are great and the world is believable.  Objects are still somewhat rigid and lack that artistic flair which make the difference someone who makes 3d models for engineering visuals and a 3d artist who makes content for movies or games or tv.  I will admit they are better than previous games.

There is a super-commander mode which allows you to control the whole army on the battlefield.  It works, but is not as intuitive as I’d like.  The command mode to issue orders to your squad is the same.  I believe the GPS is a new addition to your bag of tricks in this game.  It provides nothing the map can’t provide except you can have a mini-map on screen to drive with.  There are more weapons in this edition than before.  They are all quite fun to use.  I particularly enjoyed deploying the javelin missile system to destroy tanks.

The first-person aspect of the game needs serious work to feel more like a game.  I am not speaking about point of view, I mean how it feels to control a character in this engine.  You can control the amount of head-bob you see.  Your character also sways his body as in real life.  This is an annoyance after a while.  In order to interact with the world, you need to be in a tiny pocket to activate whatever interaction you want.  I always found myself searching for that pocket as if I were suddenly transformed into a strange alien form and didn’t know how to control myself.  It shouldn’t be that hard to control a man.  We already know how to do it in real life.  They should increase both the size of that pocket and the range at which you can activate its interactions.  I’m speaking about anything from climbing a ladder to getting ammo from a crate to getting into a truck.  It should not be that hard to interact with a world.  We really don’t want a human simulator.  We wanted a military combat simulator.  This is great, but I think some would prefer if the game were a bit more console-like.

If every nightmare scenario I’ve described sounds great, you’re a fan and weren’t going to be swayed by reviews anyway.  If you never played opflash or arma, you’d probably think these were all bugs.  They’re actually features built by design.

I buy every opflash/arma game that comes out.  I usually only play them for a few days until I realize that the game isn’t fun to me.  I desperately want to love these games.  They provided features which I had wanted for years.  Opflash was so far ahead of its time.  I have a feeling that this one will end up the same way.  My clan-mates of almost a decade won’t be playing it.  I don’t know anyone who will play it.  That probably aids in my dumping it on the shelf never to be heard from again.

Despite new content, I don’t think this game offers anything in the way of features, except maybe GPS, over the first ARMA.  Though I pre-ordered it, I might end up not playing it.  10 years ago, this would have been the greatest game ever made.  Now it’s too precise to be much fun.

8 Responses to “Arma 2, a pre-review”
  1. [...] the Arma 2 review here addthis_url = ‘http%3A%2F%2Fgamerslastwill.com%2F2009%2F06%2F07%2Farma-2-review%2F’; addthis_title [...]

  2. I disagree, the game plays much better then it’s predecessor. Also there are some additions in the game play. You can now jump over small objects for example and it works flawless. Also the graphics have been seriously upgraded, the landscape looks much more vibrant and true to life. Explosions look that much better and so do all the textures. It still has connectivity issues in multiplayer but overall, playing a 50 player coop missions with some serious gamers is like nothing you have ever experienced. Swooping down on a landing zone with 3 packed Blackhawk to see all the players get out of the choppers and approach a village or base as a group is the closest to real life warfare you will experience for quite some time to come. I think Bis did an awesome job but I hope they will fix the multiplayer hick ups.

  3. i disagree its a huge step from arma 1 look at cod 4 and 5 nothings improved because there are lazy and did not spend time. i think this is the best tatical game out . A nice change for kill kill kill to rank up

  4. Dan Keller says:

    I disagree completely with the reviewer. It is painfully obvious that the reviewer is not a pc fan but a consol player first. It has been my experience that consol players do not like the more in depth and complicated games provided by the PC and its keyboard and mouse combo.

  5. arma fail says:

    game is to hard to control for new commers if you want this game to grow big make controls easy and user friendly the delay in moving mouse is horrible aswell

    if your a bf 2 player and think this game is allike ITS NOT do NOT buy this game if you want fps with arcade
    this game is a SIMULATOR and nothing alse i bought it and i regret it to bad i cant sell it bought it on steam T-T

  6. arma fail says:

    oh and dan keller im a hardcore pc fan and even i think arma 2′s controlls arent user friendly unless u have played arma u wont understand how the controls work especially in boot camp people will just get frustrated and leave and thats basicly what i did :\

    dont buy arma2 if ur a BF2 fan its nothing allike and is not a arcade game

  7. Project Reality Fan says:

    I am a BF2 player for years now, and I always wanted something more serious and realistic. That’s why I played Project Reality Mod since v0.5. And I still play it. On the other hand, I finished the first Operation Flashpoint years ago and today I tried ARMA2, hoping that it would be more playable than the first OFP. Unfortunately, the same nagging ‘features’ which bothered me then, bother me now. ARMA2, being a real-world simulator, goes to extremes to simulate absolutely everything that happens in reality, while at the same time it restricts the player to a completely non-realistic interaction through keyboard+mouse+monitor. For example – I have no problems keeping my eyes fixed to a distant point while running in real life. In ARMA2, though, the screen shakes and after a while I end up red-eyed and with a headache. Another example – in real life I instinctively turn my head left and right while driving to get a better view of the surroundings. In ARMA2 I have to press Alt AND move the mouse in order to do the same. Not very intuitive and detracting.

    My point is, unless the game can provide exactly the same sensory input to the player as the real world, there is no point simulating every aspect of the real world, since this just makes interaction frustrating, counter-intuitive and annoying. I think I’ll pass on ARMA2 and stick to Project Reality some more.

  8. The problem is with people trying to compare this to a run-and-gun-wank-fest like BF2.
    ARMA2 is unashamedly a simulator. If you’re the kind of child that enjoys constantly sprinting everywhere without penalty, non-ballistic projectile trajectories and the complete absence of consequences for stupidity then it’s better for you and me that you stay right away from ARMA2.

    BTW Project Reality Fan, all of you’re gripes are optional – you can disable them or remap the controls.

    But for people that lack the initiative to find these options, again, a simulator might be too difficult for you.

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