ArmA: Combat Operations Review
Ironically, the game is pretty difficult even though the AI is pretty suspect. On the few occasions when you’ll get the drop on the enemy you’ll see that things aren’t quite right. Enemies will drop to the ground when you open fire, but a few minutes later will inexplicably get up and start moving around in the open. Some enemies will realize that they’re under fire and move to flank you, but just as often you’ll see some milling about completely ignoring the fact that their comrade a few feet away is eating a lead sandwich. By far the enemy’s biggest advantage over you in the game is that they will almost always spot you first and from quite a distance. Once you’re spotted you’re as good as dead because they are deadly accurate with their weapons.
If your tolerance for frustration is sapped by the game’s campaign, you can switch to online multiplayer games. You can play cooperatively with other players against a computer-controlled army or go after each other in a competitive game. When you’re online the game is easier to play because you’re on even footing with the other players and don’t have to worry so much about being blindsided by a single bullet from 300 yards away. I was always able to find plenty of servers online, although sometimes it seemed that there were more people playing the multiplayer demo than the full game.
ArmA will appeal to a small group of gamers primarily consisting of Operation Flashpoint fans and those looking for a realistic military experience. The campaign and its missions are well-designed in that they capture the feeling that you’re a part of a large and dynamic conflict – they just also happen to be brutally difficult to complete. If you regularly complain that the Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six games are far too unrealistic, then you probably want to check out ArmA. Everyone else will probably want to save themselves from all of the teeth-gnashing and hair-pulling this game inspires.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 70%. ArmA is probably “too real”, and too frustrating, for most FPS gamers.