Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead Review

Usually when I'm handed down an assignment I know about the title a few days before the disc actually arrives on my front door. This gives me some time to peruse the developer's website, and watch whatever gameplay videos are available. Most of the time I don't really need to do this because there has been a decent amount of money poured into advertising and PR, but with ARMA series this was an encounter of the first kind. Imagine my level of shock and intrigue when I read that PC Gamer had already selected ARMA 2: Operation Arrowhead to receive an Editor's Choice award. I mean what the hell? Am I somehow so far out of the loop that not only have I never heard of a franchise, but also one that has received some pretty decent awards? Read on for the answer to this and a few other questions as we review the latest stand-alone expansion pack for ARMA 2.

ARMA 2:OA takes place in Takistan, a small town in the northern region of Iran. Given the area, a conflict between pretty much anyone isn't too difficult to understand, so the story offered up doesn't take long to get behind. One of the impressive aspects of the ARMA series is the realism incorporated into pretty much everything. From weapons to vehicles, there (almost) never feels like there's any shortage of detail. And as with most detail oriented shooters like this, you'll need to spend some time brushing up on some semi-realistic skills to survive more than five minutes in battle. Luckily for you, there are tons of useful tutorial levels to hone those skills before stepping into any of the regular game modes.

If you're into hyper-realistic military simulators, you're probably used to the types of controls that are similar to ARMA 2:OA. I personally had to study the two full-page layouts for about 20 minutes before I ever launched the game, and even then I still only knew enough to be kind of dangerous. Controlling your character in first-person mode handles like you would expect any top of the line shooter to do. However, as soon as I hopped into any vehicle the control sensitivities seemed to jump all over the place. One thing I never got to play around with extensively and might have fixed my control issues altogether is the insane amounts of customizations you can set from the options menu.