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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Meridian 4

 

Developer

Bohemia Interactive

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

August 27, 2010

 

 

- Same high quality graphics and sound
- New perspectives for military combat

 

 

- Some graphical glitches
- AI feels less attentive and aggressive
- Radical character shifts have potential to confuse players

 

 

Review: ARMA II (PC)

Review: Left 4 Dead 2 (PC)

Review: Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield (PC)

 

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Armed Assault II: Operation Arrowhead

Score: 7.0 / 10

 

arma ii          arma ii

 

When people come up with something good like ARMA II, they want to give the fans more. Sometimes, that means a full blown sequel. Sometimes, it's an expansion pack, and Bohemia Interactive decided this was the way to go. With Operation Arrowhead, they give us some new goodies which were missing for one reason or another in the original game. At the same time, they take away the tight storyline focus that made the base game so intense.

As this is an expansion, there's not a whole heck of a lot to say about the graphics and audio that wasn't mentioned in the original review. It still looks sharp, it still sounds great, though a few issues have seemingly crept in. Some texture cracking

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was noticed inside the smaller buildings and guard posts, and during one scenario I "fell" out of a guard tower because of it. The musical score is a little more noticeable in the expansion, but it's predominantly during cutscenes, so it doesn't really break the flow of the game. The voice acting is still generally quite good, though there's some accents in there which are more jarring than in the

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original game, and thus tend to break the player out of the game.

The titular operation in the game centers around the fictional nation of Takistan. When rebel forces trash two-thirds of the country's oil wells in an effort to destabilize the lingering Soviet-style regime, the regime responds by threatening to unleash chemical weapons on the neighboring country of Karzeghistan if valuable oil fields currently held by Karzeghistan aren't immediately ceded. Players are put into the boots of four very different soldiers over the course of Operation Arrowhead as they try to neutralize the Takistani threat and hopefully win the hearts and minds of the populace. While it's good to explore different roles within the military forces involved in the operation, the execution feels kind of off. Rather than selecting a role and following that character's arc throughout the course of the operation, we're bounced around from one character to the next. This keeps the player aware of the narrative flow of the operation, but at the same time, it can engender some confusion as you try to adjust from being a front line infantryman to a tank driver to a pilot to a SpecOps shooter. Giving players the option to follow a single character arc through and then go back to play another character would have been the better way to structure the campaign.

 

arma ii          arma ii


The addition of UAVs is a good nod to the reality of current combat operations, though there's part of me that wishes you could control them directly rather than just setting waypoints for them on the map. The flight controls for fixed wing and rotary aircraft have been simplified, but they're by no means dumbed down. The addition of backpacks seems to be a mixed blessing. Having extra space for items is good, but it feels like a bit of extra effort that shouldn't be needed. The enemy AI feels slightly more forgetful and unobservant than the highly focused enemies faced in the original game. In one instance, I managed to clear out a room of three soldiers without any sort of attempt on their part to try and shoot me, even though I was practically at point blank range.

When the smoke clears, Operation Arrowhead is a decent addition to ARMA II. It adds more avenues for players to experience military operations, and view them with decidedly different perspectives. However, the radical shifts in character viewpoint, combined with the weaker AI and limited UAV options, might turn away those who aren't as dedicated to the high fidelity in simulation that the series provides.

 

- Axel Cushing

(October 14, 2010)

 

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