ArmA: Armed Assault

Operation Flashpoint enters next-gen? Hmmm.

Bohemia Interactive
505 Games

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By Ian Dransfield

You've got to love spiritual sequels, really - they tend to be the best ones, bore from a desire to create something for the fans that crave it so, rather than something that's shovelled out because the first one put some dollah in some pockets.

ArmA: Armed Assault is precisely one of these things. That's not to say Operation Flashpoint, this game's spiritual predecessor, didn't sell well. It was quite popular, in fact. And it's funny how it says everywhere "this game is the spiritual successor to Operation Flashpoint, but has NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH IT PLEASE DON'T SUE US CODEMASTERS." Cheeky.

Anyway, those who have played Flashpoint will, oddly enough, know what to expect here: massive war on a massive playground with massive realism. It's hard, it's unforgiving... and it feels pretty damn buggy and unfinished throughout.

It really is like OF, in other words. Obviously events have been spruced up somewhat, with battles now even more massive than ever and capable of supporting some 100 people, with a mix of both human and AI characters possible.

"Whilst it may have a heavy emphasis on multiplayer, singletons are presented with a few options."

Whilst it may have a heavy emphasis on multiplayer (more later, children), the singletons out there are presented with a few options by ArmA. First up is a campaign spanning some 20-or-so missions, following the trials and all that jazz of a group of American troops who were meant to go home before fighting broke out on the idyllic island of Sahrani.

This leaves the poor chappies fighting for their survival (then striking back admirably), helping Kingdom of South Sahrani against the evil forces of the Democratic Republic of Sahrani. Evil Democrats? Who'da thunk it...

The next option available is the mission mode, which sees players tackling a number of different scenarios with a multitude of stipulations attached to them - a nice distraction if the main campaign gets too hard or is finished. Finally is one of ArmA's real selling points - a mission editor.

This thing is pretty damn sweet, offering players the chance to edit the hell out of things and make playing the game go exactly as they wish. Want a line of cars and a plethora of high explosives? Good, you're just like me. BOOM!

Multiplayer, however, is where ArmA comes in to it's own, offering players excessively large battles and the ability to tackle any mission they so choose - including ones created by others. A lovely touch, it has to be said. The game - from what I played, at least - was fortunately populated in the vast majority by at least half-serious players, meaning for once you are able to play a first person shooter online without being spammed by some fourteen-year-old bellend.

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