Armed Assault 2… anyone who was a fan of the original Operation Flashpoint (by Bohemia) will have at least had an eye on ArmA2 at one point or another. Indeed if I was to don my rose tinted glasses… they do share a few similarities; the most notable being that slightly wonky communication. Regardless, that is all by-the-by, there was a point last year, seriously disappointed by Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising’s rather overtly buggy nature, that I decided I’d see how the veterans did.
Sure enough, I was initially impressed… enough to convince my clan mates to have a crack at it themselves. So once we had a merry band of 4, we dived into the campaign in a co-operative jolly. It didn’t last long, it must be said; starting with the instant failure upon the permanent death of any one team-member. Continuing with AI piloting skills, often proving somewhat lacklustre; often finishing with flourish atop a tree or two.
Finally, the seemingly terminal bugs in the campaign – resulting in sitting around waiting, wondering whether that foe, transport or team-mate will actually show up; and that vague sense of helplessness as you haven’t the faintest clue about whats going on.
Many months later…
That was sometime late last year, perhaps even as far back as summer. We haven’t touched the ArmA2 games in quite a while – out of the blue I decide to pick it up again, but this time, in singleplayer. The experience, while not perfect by any means, is a darn sight more smoother – the AI pilot skills are still fully in swing (from a tree); yet most of the bugs we encountered disappear when in singleplayer.
Furthermore, with just the one player controlling all 4 troops, there’s no scope for variation – chances are if something needs doing, the whole squad goes, or the player takes the squad leader while the others cover. In otherwords, they’ve missed a trick by not allowing the squad leader to ‘nominate’ another squad member to venture out and do their task; mainly regarding the participation of other human players.
In effect, the playthrough becomes more likely to succeed; less prone to a human assuming something will happen when it won’t. Perhaps an oversight on the developers’ side of things, perhaps the largest reason for many of the community falling back on creating their own custom missions, something perfectly capable of being achieved – but less likely when the community in question is small.
On that note
I must say, ArmA2 has impressed me, the moment I realised I could load Stinger missiles, Javelins and SMAWs into the boot of the Humvee (HMMWV), amongst other equipment and weaponry… I suddenly had a game crush; I could take my small special operations squad in a vehicle packed full of the stuff I might need on the field.
After you’ve fought through the system requirements, the bugs, the AI’s various transport skills and of course the games quirks, there’s a little gem in there; it just needs a great deal of cutting and polishing to get it refined… which is why now, so late into ArmA2′s life have I become rather excited for Armed Assault 3.
This, perhaps, to remind folks that although DayZ has propelled ArmA2 yet again into the media for another nice spotlight, the game itself does have some things to offer too.