Set in Sahrani, a fictional island located in the Atlantic Ocean, ArmA: Combat Operations consists of a northern communist dictatorship fighting a southern democratic monarchy. Great graphic texture, radio chatter and immense options/online participation put this recommended title in the thick of the fight for best military game this year.
The strongest mode of play in this first-person shooter, multi-player, includes capture flag, aerial dogfights, flag fight, sector control, survivor and seize the area (co-operative). More than 60 players can play online after they first enter the server’s "lobby," then download the mission and receive necessary data. The host always boasts the most with plenty of discriminatory power, so play nice or your participants dissipate quickly.
The single player mode features story or separate missions (complete all of them and unlock the library mode). The high-powered mission editing option works for single and multi-player modes. Players can even merge separate mission files for more variety.
Players get plenty of challenges, especially the bridge mission, while training missions help novices. Inexperience in military terms can also be a disadvantage. Novices should read the manual and check out the website to master vehicle designations. All players will need top level intel on voice chat and communication options for a high success rate. The mission variety covers all the bases including basic (reach destination alive), target (destroy planned items) and defender (enemy doesn’t take your base).
Movement incorporates several team commands based on seven different formations. Varied movements, GPS systems and map markers help you find your way relatively easy. Oh, be sure to keep the sun out of your eyes – a key component of field battle in this game… maybe a little too much. Stealthy players will have it made in the shade.
Players can choose from a cache of approximately 30 infantry weapons held in a raised or lowered position. Firing these weapons lying down or crouching improves your accuracy. If the weapon has a sight on it, then players can look down the sight and graphically blur out the weapon for even more accuracy. The realism is great. Your rifle will sway in the wind. Your aim can also be greatly affected if you’re really fatigued. The violence can be jolting (blood off option is available) especially the spurting shots.
Players can also choose from over 30 vehicles including civilian vehicles like the hatchback, sedan, tractor and pick-up. Water vehicles and artillery support is also available. Tanks sometimes have limited mobility. New elements like cycle patrols and multiple gunners on vehicles create some original scenarios while challenging seasoned veterans of this popular game genre. Overall the total control players have to achieve objectives and the graphics/realism make this title a solid recommendation.
ArmA: Combat Operations is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood, Strong Language and Violence.