101 ways on how to get killed
Operation Flashpoint's sometimes challenging, sometimes insane mission design has been carried over to ArmA. The game has two levels of difficulty, Regular and Veteran, and a selection of specific difficulty opti 2183 ons, but the problem isn't in the settings - it's in the numbers. After dying a couple of dozen times in a campaign mission, I developed a slightly unflattering image of ArmA's designers. In my mind those guys are die-hard military enthusiasts, who are bitter and indignant of how unrealistically modern combat gets represented in games and action movies. "We'll show them," they swear, "we'll show them that one guy doesn't stand a chance against a hundred". Why else would the majority of ArmA's missions put the player against insurmountable odds? Why would an outnumbered force send its soldiers on crazy solo missions instead of trying to gain local superiority? Sure, going Rambo just does not work. I personally got that point with Operation Flashpoint, thank you very much. Can we please get some realistic missions already?
While the included missions do a pretty thorough job of showcasing the game's features, it's obvious that campaign, storyline and mission design took a second seat during ArmA's development. However, thanks to a full-featured mission editor and a large Flashpoint fan base, you'll almost certainly find user-made missions that are better than most of the included content. Multiplayer cooperative games are more balanced and fun, but there are too few co-op missions included and for some bizarre reason, single player and campaign missions aren't available for cooperative play.
As real as it gets?
Reflected sunlight glints from where the paint has worn off of the angular hull of this Soviet-era APC. Vehicle models have some impressive details
Armed Assault takes a shot at modelling almost every feature of the modern battlefield. The game lets the player get in the shoes of a regular private, sniper, squad leader, tank commander - you name it. Unlike vehicle-based simulation games, the player is free to go on foot, ride a jeep and fly a helicopter, all in the same mission. Missions can be designed to either keep the player on a tight leash and finish a given task in a specific way, or give them free rein to explore and improvise. Unless a mission is triggered to end after a certain time period, the player is free to wander the entire 400 square kilometer island. On foot, a trip around the island would take more than 16 hours in real time.
That's why you might want to hop in a car when you go sightseeing, or when a mission demands that you move to a distant location. When you get behind the wheel, you can see the dashboard instruments, some of which even function. However, ArmA brings little new to controlling vehicles that wasn't already introduced by Operation Flashpoint. Since 2001, controllable vehicles have become standard fare in FPS games, so ArmA has only the realism claim to stand out from the crowd. Some things certainly feel different from most FPS titles: reloading a tank's main gun takes much longer than you're used to in action games, and most vehicles struggle to drive off-road and uphill (too much in fact, as even tanks slow down to a crawl when driving up a moderate incline). You can sense the weight of the vehicle you're driving: you can bump lighter objects around if you run into them with a jeep, but hitting an APC is like hitting a wall. Every bump and enemy bullet has a chance of damaging your vehicle, which starts losing speed, handles even worse, and finally dies or explodes.
Damage to infantry and vehicles is modelled with reasonably high detail; both have hit locations and different levels of damage resistance. Damage to the environment isn't quite as accurate, even though you can knock down trees and telephone poles with a tank, and destroy buildings if you damage them enough. Unfortunately, the game doesn't visually simulate continuous physical damage to structures: anything that isn't severe enough to completely destroy a building will only leave a slight cosmetic mark, sometimes not even that. The destruction does accumulate though, behind the graphics, and eventually buildings come crashing down as if demolished, leaving only rubble behind.
Games: ArmA: Armed Assault
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