442nd played so far


Genre: Strategy/Shoot ‘Em Up
Platform: PC
Year of Release: 2006
Developer: Bohemia Interactive
Publisher: 505 Games/Atari Games

There are a lot of army-based shooters out there – Call of Duty has, depending on your perspective, either a lot to answer for or set a good example. As we might have intimated, we’re not a fan.

ArmA: Armed Assault comes from the same – in a fictionalized war, you go out into the world as a member of the US Army stationed on an island in the middle of a war. You need to make sure the good guys win…

Our Thoughts

If you want to beat the king of a (sub)genre, you’d better bring something new to the table. As informal sequels to the Operation Flashpoint series, we would presumably see some of that brought to the table as well.

For ArmA: Armed Assault, one of the main differences seems to be squad management. You don’t just go out on your own, but become part of a squad, soon leading it. It adds a different dynamic, although one slightly ruined if, like us, you’re not used to army lingo and spend some time guessing at what’s meant to be going on. In part, the options to communicate give a lot of options, which you can’t necessarily all go through in the midst of battle chaos (which you are thrown into quite early).

And that is an issue for us. We did go through the tutorials (more on that in a minute), but the first proper mission throws you in what feels like a bigger battle which mostly led to confusion the first two or three times – until running away from everything turned out to be the best way to make it out, without engaging anything. A bit unfortunate for a game like this.

Later missions keep ramping up the difficulty – I think, we didn’t make it past a second level. A second level, that is, as you get a choice which ones you do – side missions making the proper missions that follow easier in different ways. One of them involves sniping the drivers of a convoy, which proved to be tricky in how good their aim was without sniper rifles while you were unable to do any damage. Another involves infiltrating a base and doing stuff we never actually managed to do.

We did the tutorial, which sort of helped… but the helicopter one broke quickly because it messed up on us taking off and not sticking to the exact same height… and by getting out earlier. An earlier one, with weapon training, doesn’t explain half of how the picking up of weapons works, giving a lot of awkward fumbling while losing points. The controls felt clumsy, not helped by the incomplete explanations.

Final Thoughts

I can see the quality in this game. When you know it, it feels like there’s a deep game in here, with some interesting choices that will define your campaign and quite in depth play with the squad mechanic. There’s something really good here.

I just couldn’t play the game far enough to really get to experience it.