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Arma II: Operation Arrowhead Review

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Otis1337 29th June 2010, 09:59 Quote
I just couldn't get on with the the original ARMA 2, i got it on release date and was looking forward to it, but it was swimming in bugs and was pretty unplayable.
memeroot 29th June 2010, 10:21 Quote
Better bug wise? Also isn't there a guy with 3xgtxs here ? Can that realy not play. It?
Star*Dagger 29th June 2010, 10:39 Quote
Deserves a 9 rating. We need more Sims like this in the Pc Gamer™ quiver.
Neversoft 29th June 2010, 10:51 Quote
Arrowhead in short is ARMA II with a crap load of mods installed for you already. Pretty much everything the article claims to be new has already been a part of ARMA II.

On the technical side of things. Nobody will play Arrowhead on Max settings since its a waste to have it run that way. You can custom the settings so you have it maxed out depending on what you want to do in the game. If you are flying about, crank up the distance to 5km and adjust some features to high or very high if you have a nice card. If you are on the ground, set the view distance to 3km and jump the better features to very high. In the long run, the game is beautiful the way it is on normal settings anyways so its not that big of a deal.

As to bugs. Bohemia has pretty much optimized ARMA II to a complete game with their latest patch of 1.07. I'm awaiting my copy of Arrowhead in the mail but I'm pretty confident it will run with minimal bugs. The only thing I'm certain that will piss me of is a well camouflaged enemy Spec Op lying in wait that will most certainly kill me without firing more than 5 rounds.

Bit-Tech didn't really do a fair review of the game. To newcomers, I suggest you read Bit-Tech's original review of ARMA II as its more on track.
earlydoors 29th June 2010, 10:53 Quote
"But can it run Arma II: Operation Arrowhead Review?" doesn't have quite the same ring to it as "But can it run Crysis?"

:-)
bbshammo 29th June 2010, 11:11 Quote
Been waiting for this for ages, and will definitely be getting it... As soon as I've replaced my PSU that popped recently :(

I remember how bugged the first version of ARMA 2 was when at one point in the campaign, half of your squad would be killed during the intro-cut-scene of that mission. So you're standing there listening to the mission brief while being attacked and watching your squad die in front of you and unable to do anything about it till the briefing finished... Half the time you would also get shot during this moment!!

Obviously the campaign was over from here on as it was impossible to actually progress beyond that point >:(

Still, saying that, I couldn't agree more with the review that suggests the campaign is more an intro to what the game really offers.

On-line, playing the Hold Location game type plays just like BF2, and similar titles but with a level of realism and immersion that nothing else comes close to.

Going back to the likes of BF2, or MW2 just feels so shallow and boring that I always end up back in ARMA2.

For example, being able to take out the tyres of a HMMV carrying a bunch of enemy soldiers half-way across an open field then watching them bail out and try running for cover while you pick them off from a mile away is just awesome.

It's also the only FPS where camping doesn't bother people as it's so realistic that to snipe effectively is actually really hard, as I imagine it is in RL. Snipers have to account for bullet drop, and range, while choosing their shots as once you give your position away, it's pretty much over.

To sum it up, the level of realism allows the player to use his imagination, and common sense to play to his/her style.

You also find yourself using the terrain and the map to plan your approach as in RL. Tactics like flanking, diversions, and air support REALLY work!

One thing that can't be guaranteed is protection from idiots. You know the type, people who insist on taking the pilot seat yet can't actually fly, or those that don't check their targets (PRESS SPACE BAR OVER POTENTIAL TARGETS... OR JUST LOOK AT YOUR MAP!!) before laying waste to half their team who've just spent the last 15 mins getting into position only to have to do it all over again.

Still, these niggles aren't the game's fault imo, and just add to the experience as it sort of fosters an environment of cooperation amongst the rest; you can actually find plenty of players who carry out their roles properly. Like snipers who choose their positions based on the positions of the rest of their team, therefore being able to provide real cover, or tank crews that hold high positions and resist giving their position away by firing on infantry in order to defend against enemy armour, or pilots who focus on ferrying people to and from spawn points and hot-spots. When this happens, this game's on a whole new level of its own.

I just hope they've fixed the ridiculous HDR in night vision mode. Useless if there's so much as a camp fire in your line of sight as the HDR over-compensates and makes the view so dark you can't see anything.
bbshammo 29th June 2010, 11:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by memeroot
Better bug wise? Also isn't there a guy with 3xgtxs here ? Can that realy not play. It?

Not sure if SLI, or Crossfire is actually supported as they weren't initially. Maybe the subsequent patches and updates allowed this?

Does anyone know for sure?
Lizard 29th June 2010, 11:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neversoft
Bit-Tech didn't really do a fair review of the game. To newcomers, I suggest you read Bit-Tech's original review of ARMA II as its more on track.

In what way wasn't the review fair? We explored and listed the new features and new maps while making gamers unfamiliar with Arma II aware of the limitations (buggy AI, poorly scripted campaign) and brutal hardware requirements. Yet, despite all that we gave it a score of 8 and a Recommended Award.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbshammo
Not sure if SLI, or Crossfire is actually supported as they weren't initially. Maybe the subsequent patches and updates allowed this?

You can hack the ini files to work with 2-card SLI, but it doesn't get any faster with 3-way SLI or Quad SLI. On the ATI side of things, I'm not sure how well it responds to CrossFire.
Stewb 29th June 2010, 11:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neversoft
I'm awaiting my copy of Arrowhead in the mail but I'm pretty confident it will run with minimal bugs.

You can't ask someone to review fairly and say they are wrong about bugs if you haven't even got the game yet...

On topic... I've always wanted to try a milsim maybe I'll get this and see how it goes
Jack_Pepsi 29th June 2010, 11:35 Quote
:(

Would have liked to have seen some performance figures (I know you save that sort of thing to hardware reviews) but as you said it performs around the same as ArmA II so I presume you used the same rig to test it on.
Lizard 29th June 2010, 11:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack_Pepsi
as you said it performs around the same as ArmA II so I presume you used the same rig to test it on.

Yes, I reviewed it on my main gaming rig at home, which is the same as the one I used to review Arma II on.
Neversoft 29th June 2010, 12:12 Quote
"In what way wasn't the review fair? We explored and listed the new features and new maps while making gamers unfamiliar with Arma II aware of the limitations (buggy AI, poorly scripted campaign) and brutal hardware requirements. Yet, despite all that we gave it a score of 8 and a Recommended Award."

Well for starters, you left out the good stuff. The game is MP and that was hardly if at all talked about which wouldn't happen if this was MW3. There was no performance charts to base on, just your word that it will crush your hardware. Which isn't entirely true. I've been playing MP with people still using 8800 and Dual core CPUs on ARMA II on a regular basis and they are able to keep up while still keeping most of the eye candy. ARMA II is most definitely going to tax your hardware more than Operation Arrowhead since there is far more of a lush environment to account for than just a barren land with some trees and rocks.

Score really doesn't mean anything in your review if you forgot to include important details.

"You can't ask someone to review fairly and say they are wrong about bugs if you haven't even got the game yet..."

So is it fair to say COD4 and MW2 was drastically different? I never bought MW2 but its essentially the same game with a few things added.
memeroot 29th June 2010, 12:41 Quote
It is I'm sure its a pain to review games on different hardware platforms but I do often wonder how bit-tech means to differenciate its reviews from other publications.

I do like the reviews though, well written etc... just not so different from other review sites... having said that you do review games that other sites miss... so I'm probably just typing tripe.

btw what is your home rig?
Lizard 29th June 2010, 12:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by memeroot
btw what is your home rig?

Until the Southbridge flaked out over the weekend in the heatwave it comprised a Core i7-975 overclocked to 3.86GHz and an overlocked GeForce GTX 285, both water-cooled.
Hovis 29th June 2010, 13:03 Quote
With regards to performance figures and Arma 2 this is something of a dark art. I've been playing Arma 2 a couple of times a week with my clan since it came out and even I have only just about got a handle on what needs to be done to what setting to get an optimal visuals and frames per second balance. Some settings will break you if you turn them up past Normal, others can sit happily at Very High. It's kind of ironic that if Arma 2 simply capped it's own settings much lower it would still get the plaudits for looking amazing yet it wouldn't get the criticism for being such a relentless system emasculator.
Bindibadgi 29th June 2010, 15:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by memeroot
I do like the reviews though, well written etc... just not so different from other review sites...

Then what's the point of having more than one review site if you want them all to be the same? ;)
Phil Rhodes 29th June 2010, 16:12 Quote
I don't think he does want them to be the same, I think he wants them to be different. Isn't that what he's saying?

Can we have some sensible minimum system specs please, I'm about to buy a complete new machine and I'm interested in this.
Lizard 29th June 2010, 16:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
Can we have some sensible minimum system specs please, I'm about to buy a complete new machine and I'm interested in this.

There are a load of graphics options you can tweak to match your spec, but the most important thing to know about Arma II is that unlike most games, the CPU and GPU are both very important. What were you thinking of buying?
cheeriokilla 29th June 2010, 17:08 Quote
How can this be called a mil sim if AI is as stupid as a rock. I really can't get into this game with the stupid AI and the robotic voices
Jack_Pepsi 29th June 2010, 17:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheeriokilla
How can this be called a mil sim if AI is as stupid as a rock. I really can't get into this game with the stupid AI and the robotic voices

Are you talking about the SP Campaign(s)?

In MP it's a lot more fun when you play with mates against more mates (or others online). That's what it's all about (for me anyway).
Lizard 29th June 2010, 17:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheeriokilla
How can this be called a mil sim if AI is as stupid as a rock. I really can't get into this game with the stupid AI and the robotic voices

As the review says, Arma II is all about MP (preferably with a squad of people you know), not the campaign AI.
bbshammo 29th June 2010, 19:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizard
As the review says, Arma II is all about MP (preferably with a squad of people you know), not the campaign AI.

I agree, the SP campaign is good fun and more than playable when the game's fully patched up, and I expect Operation Arrowhead to be just as optimised at least. There've been so many updates since release, it's a lot different. Not just bug fixes, but optimisations and tweaks to things like ballistics, sound, physics, ai etc...

The problems I had were with the first release of arma2, un-patched.

As for the MP game??

Seriously, go to dao.nu and have a go on their Hold Location maps/servers. 64 Vs 64 BF2 style game-play on a huge scale.

I warn you though, you might have to drop some of your settings a bit as anything more than 30 players slows things down a lot, and their server(s) regularly max out at 128 players!!


Once I got onto this, I never looked back :)
Redbeaver 29th June 2010, 19:07 Quote
wow, so i can just buy the Arrowhead and dont worry about original ArmaII? sweet!
Krayzie_B.o.n.e. 29th June 2010, 20:31 Quote
ArmA II is a game that represents the level of play that PC gamers expect. Arma II is not for casual gamers, N0obs, or entry level PCs as the game takes time to learn and master.

Once acquainted with the controls and game play Arma II is beyond real. Patch 1.07 has the game running smooth and Arrowhead brings in a lot of mods that the community has already made plus some new vehicles weapons and gadgets like improved night vision.

I'm running Arma II on a Phenom II x2 550 @ 3.9ghz w/ a 2 XFX HD 4890 crossfire @ 1ghz each max settings and the game is smooth and looks better than Crysis as the vehicles explosions terrain and NPCs are all very well detailed in a game on this big of a scale imo. The 1.07 patch utilizes 4 core CPu better now as well.

Yes like most great PC games Arma II was buggy but once patched to run on the million different PC configurations out there it's one of the best and most realistic FPS out there. Arma II is as real as it gets without having to see your local military recruiter. Excellent Game for HARDCORE GAMERS.
Blackie Chan 29th June 2010, 21:25 Quote
"more realistic thermal imagining engine." I have found ze glitch!
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