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on July 22, 2009
Arma II is the ultimate military sandbox simulator. Keyword being simulator. As stated elsewhere, if you go into this game expecting fast-paced arcade gameplay, you're missing the point. Though it does have it's flaws: robotic radio calls, game crashing bugs and trigger-laden campaign, there is simply nothing like it on the market.

I recommend reading the IGN review of ArmA II, or watching the X-play review of Operation Flashpoint Elite, if you want to get an idea of why fans love this game. It's simply a love it or hate it game, which I believe is more rooted in what type of gamer you are: sim-nut or mainstream gamer. If flying from VOR to VOR in a 2 hour real-time flight on Flight Simulator seems ridiculous to you, you're probably the latter.

- Numerous usable vehicles in singleplayer and multiplayer: tanks,
airplanes, boats and even bicycles
- Unsurpassed mission editor
- Cooperative gameplay on user created missions or campaign mode
- Active mod community
- Graphics: some of the best photorealistic landscapes outside of Crysis
- Realistic engagement distances, 10km up to 20km with setviewdistance
- Ambient sound: stock sound finally as good as mods, speed of sound
accurately portrayed (sorry BF:BC, Opflash did it first)

- Vehicle physics still need some work
- Talking animations very odd-looking
- Frustrating AI
- Game crippling bugs
- Singleplayer campaign too heavily reliant on triggers
- Steep learning curve for new players, controls etc.

Despite it's flaws, I love this game. I whole-heartedly recommend it. It may be hard for some people to justify paying $50 on a game that has a broken campaign among other things, but if you enjoy creating your own missions to play with a friend online and just general goofing around scripting and messing with a mission editor, this may be the game for you.

Pepsi challenge: create a mission with an airborne attack on an armored column at night, spawn as a civilian and try to survive a car ride through the exploding tanks. Now tell me, for some reason that wasn't stupidly fun. Alternately, just Youtube Arma II and see if you find any of the user created videos appealing.

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on September 5, 2009
I've been involved with COMPUTER combat simulations since 1988 at Lawrence Livermore National Lab for the US Army (LLNL has produced two simulations of their own, JANUS and JCATS-these are non-commercial; for use by the armed services and other government agencies) and have added 12 years on since military retirement as a contract employee on Battalion and Brigade simulation exercises; toiling as a database manager to create these large scale exercises. Earlier this year, Bohemia Interactive won an Army contract to roll out "Game After Ambush" based on the newer Virtual Battlespace2 (VBS2) engine to train soldiers in Squad/Platoon leadership actions before taking these soldiers to the field at 53 locations worldwide (including mine). ARMAII uses this same engine and shares a host of similarities that I'm commenting on. (I own ArmAII and work/play on both VBS2 games many hours weekly).

As a SIMULATION - the ArmAII game (which I own and play at home)is very similar to what I deal with at work. Weapons,rendering of people, terrain and structures is as good as anything the Army has right now. To be clear, I'm a systems Admin and training instructor - not a 'player', and can comment only on what Bohemia has taught us so far as system administrators - plus the home discovery learning recently taking place. The editing capability is indeed world class, as we construct training scenarios, using maps that correlate to our larger "Federation of Simulations" to create as accurate and realistic a training environment as possible. Buildings and terrain deform realistically and blood flows as personnel become casualties. Doppler sound effects are all too realistic - radio traffic is indeed 'lame'.

We also create scripts and waypoints in the 'instruction sets' for demonstration purposes to show our junior leaders what 'right' might look like in interpreting an operations order. Many of our 'trainees' are just back from combat and we are compiling a list of suggestions to improve obvious and not so obvious faults or shortcomings in the VBS2 engine/simulation. Patches will be available as quickly as they can be programmed into code and tested. I have no idea how quickly this will pass to the ARMAII game world.

The Army community has already established a forum and repository to add new equipment, maps, etc and I hope major parts of this will also find its way into the commercial version to add to the simulations enjoyment.

As a GAME - many here in this discussion can compare their first person shooter experience where I honestly cannot with other products. With certainty - there were/are soldiers already playing the original ARMA (as well as other games)and the opportunity for our uniformed young men and women to officially participate in this type training is looked forward to by the US Army/Army Reserve and National Guard. (run around in the field with 100 lbs being carried on your back, hot/humid/cold/freezing, terrible food, etc - or slap on the earphones in an airconditioned environment and 'get it going') which would you prefer? We still send them to the field - but now they know what right looks like before they go.

Hardware demands for VBS2 are moderately steep. We were fielded HP 17" laptops, INTEL quadcore 2.5gh speed chipsets, 4 gb on the motherboard, 1 gb on a discreet video card and 2 - 500gb hard drives powered by Vista. We never stressed the the hardware too much in class - but a shared video memory on your low end home machine won't cut it. There WAS lag as we approached the entity limit - as well as combat that rendered multiple exposions and heavy smoke. What you can accept as gamer performance may have more to do with your purse or wallet than the VBS2 software.

For home use, I recently purchased an ASUS CG series - INTEL 2.5 gh quadcore, 8 gb on the motherboard, 1 gb on the discreet videocard and a 750 gb (7200rpm) harddrive. The laptop handles almost all situations - occasional bogging as we approach the entity limit (in a local network environment). My home computer is better in that the increased memory seems better utilized. I make no hardware recommendations for VBS2 - other than don't fall too far below recommeded hardware standards.

As noted by other reviews - we also got a couple scripting/software errors - experienced by field engineers in class. Patches - hopefully will find their way to the commercial VBS2 environment soonest.

The VBS1/VBS2 environment has been utilized for a longer time by the Australian, British Amries, the US Marine Corps and now the US Army. The US Army's effort is currently in a building stage - with only about 60% of sites recieving New Equipment Training as of this date.

This is a departure for the Army training environment - our troops - unofficially have been doing it for years and now should get an official great training experience.

The views expressed are my own - and do not represent those of the US Army, DOD or Bohemia Interactive or any participant companies...

Gamers have told us to wait for the patches or a follow on commercial game using VBS2.

I personally enjoy the creative construction and editing - and indeed - as an old soldier - find the action realistc, compelling and totally immersive. As one who can't wait - I'm glad I made the purchase.
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on July 5, 2009
The previous reviewer sounds like a bit of a disgruntled BIS fanboy, which is a shame. I avoided the original ArmA because it just didn't quite "feel" right in terms of controls, but this one is a keeper. Certainly not for everybody - it is extremely unforgiving (one shot kills); there are certainly performance issues, though I have resolved all of them through patient tweaking; the radio system still sounds robotic and generally awful; the AI still has some annoying advantages, such as being able to see through cover like grass, while you cannot; and so forth.

Despite these problems, I keep coming back to ArmA II. There really is nothing quite like it, well, anywhere. Playing a co-op mission with your friends is totally engrossing. The sound effects are generally excellent, the ability to move your head independently of your body is incredibly immersive, the graphics are very nice, the sheer scope of the game is tremendous.

As long as you know what you are getting into - a very hardcore and unforgiving milsim with some rough edges - I recommend this game. If you are used to, and want more of, the Call of Duty series, you should probably stick with that type of game.
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on September 21, 2012
I was a big fan of the original Operation Flashpoint and when I read about DayZ mod (GOOGLE IT!) I knew I had to try it out.

If you are buying this for DayZ that you need the Operation Arrowhead expansion as well. You're better off saving $10 and getting ARMA II: Combined Operations which includes both ARMA II and Operation Arrowhead. ArmA2: Combined Operations [Download]

I didn't realize this until I had started downloading, but Amazon Customer Service is amazing and actually refunded my money for this so I could purchase Combined Operations instead.

I have not played the campaign, but getting this game for the Add-Ons and Mods alone is worth it. Even if DayZ isn't your thing there are a lot of other great MODs for it.

Plus the Mission Editor in this thing is awesome. Can't tell you how much time I've spent messing around with that. Kind of a steep learning curve, but there are plenty of great tutorials on Youtube.
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on November 7, 2009
To the shooter enthusiast who laments auto-aim, refuses regenerating health, tires of over-protective cover systems, balks at recoilless rocket launchers, and rolls his eyes at infinite respawns, Arma 2 is a love letter perfumed in cordite.

You're a member of Razor Team, a Marine squad deployed by the United States to assist the Chernorussian government against a well-armed insurgency. Your fire team hits the ground with weapons and equipment modeled after real-life counterparts, tackling objectives with patient tactics as the conflict evolves into a full civil war.

But narrative (even if it's more of an asset to Arma 2 than its predecessor) isn't the draw. For gamers who grew up with titles like Comanche, the original Rainbow Six games, and Operation Flashpoint (which was also created by developer Bohemia Interactive), Arma 2 is a platform of comprehensive war realism that appeases those who value complexity, don't mind obscure keyboard shortcuts (hit Enter on your Num Pad to change between first/third person), appreciate accurate audio modeling (if a tank explodes a mile away, you'll hear it five seconds after it actually blows up), and know that an M-16 can't kill someone from three miles away (hello, Call of Duty).

The "ultimate military simulator" tagline isn't far off, but it does come with some well-attached strings. Namely, buggy code that can't always keep up with Arma 2's ambitious attempt at realism. For every moment of accurate weapon physics and war atmosphere, there's a corresponding miscue of brainless AI or broken mission scripting. You can fly teammates over a war zone in a C-130 transport plane to execute a tactical air drop, but sit puzzled when parachuting 10 feet from the ground lets you land unharmed.

Realistic ballistics modeling will have you compensating for bullet-drop and recoil during firefights--but if you're shot, your AI teammates usually leave you writhing on the ground because they forget to heal you. Fighting against unscripted AI in an unrestricted, 225-square-kilometer slice of fictional Russia means you apply the tactics you want to, but strategy won't count when an enemy rifleman ignores the bulky shrubs you're lying prone in and snipes you from a half-mile away. Call out targets with a fully voiced (in Russian, no less) command system, but cringe when your war buddies shout like a Speak & Spell running on dying batteries.
Disciplined tactics and squad maneuvers are key to getting ahead in ARMA 2. Ramboing into a war zone won't get you very far.

Whether or not these incongruent bits of design break the game or just distract you from the fun at hand depends on your patience. And as most of them are AI-related, it's fortunate that the prime moments still exist in co-op mode. Loading into aircraft with a few buddies, laser-marking an APC while a teammate drops a bomb toward the target, calling out military jargon over voice chat--Arma 2 thrives on these emergent war scenes; it's at its best when your actions, and not the game itself, are scripting the battle.

That openness-of-experience extends to a deep mission editor that will delight modders. And graphically, Arma 2 has system-busting credibility. Explosions feel organic and the motion blur and first-person head-bob when you sprint is incredibly immersive, but for all but owners of the beefiest systems, the unscripted AI means the frame rate dips as more objects and action enter play.

If looking down the barrel of dozens of nuanced firearms, unpredictable warfare, and plugging in a flight stick float your gamer boat, Arma 2 is a refreshing shift from mainstream gun games that suits the PC's complexity, even with a few bugs.

+ Comprehensive realism; complex, open warplay; unique and intense co-op experience.

- Schizophrenic allied and enemy AI; some unintuitive controls.

Verdict: 8 out of 10
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on September 14, 2009
After re installing the first Armed Assault after not playing for a year or so, i quickly picked up on the control scheme. I forgot just how good it was. Now ArmA 2 is out and i bought it via Amazon and it has been pretty awesome.

- Intense Gameplay
- Realistic
- Rewards Patient and Tactical players who have been here before
- Realistic Graphics no matter what settings (pref. High tho)
- Non scripted A.I. allows for a different experience every time you play.
- Requires a power house pc!
- needs Optimization
- If your a first timer, play the boot camp maps to familiarize yourself with ArmA
- Will need patches till the game is up to speed.

Overall Arma 2 is a solid title that will not disappoint. With a long Campaign and Excellent Multplayer and Scenario missions, AmrA 2 will be in your system for quite a while.
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on August 30, 2009
Armed Assault 2 is a game that I wasn't sure I should buy. On the one hand, I loved Operation Flashpoint (which the Arma series was basically a sequel to), and on the other hand, the early reviews talked about a buggy game, maybe too ambitious. So I held off until a few patches came out, and I was impressed by the long lists of fixes on those patches, so I took the plunge.

I certainly have not been disappointed. The game has very few major bugs, and the minor ones are quite minor indeed. Sure, the game has some "Eastern European quirkiness", but it fills a niche that no other game does. It's a game that strives for authenticity over everything, and it succeeds in many ways.

It's definitely not a game for everyone. It's very slow paced at times, and during the campaign you can potentially go awhile between encountering enemies. That's because it's a gigantic (225 sq km) world, beautifully detailed. You sometimes spend a lot of time traveling. I say sometimes, because things are pretty random. You never really know when you're going to run into resistance, and that's part of the strength of the game. The firefights are very tense, because the enemy loves to ambush you. You'll be creeping along in the forest with your team, when suddenly (very realistic sounding) gunfire erupts from the hill above you, and within seconds you and/or your team is down. I can be frustrating, but it teaches you to be paranoid at all times. It really instills a sense of realism, especially coming off a more mainstream game like something from the Call of Duty series. That difficulty simply increases the level of satisfaction when you make it through a fight. The battles are so dynamic and fierce that I find myself wanting to talk about them afterward.

And that's just the campaign. The mission editor is a holdover from Operation Flashpoint, and that's a very good thing. It's incredibly flexible and easy to use, and is one of the reason that OpFlash and the original Arma still have devoted communities. Between the editor and the excellent mods that are already being released, the sky is the limit as far as content goes.

So it's not a game I immediately recommend to everyone. If it hooks you, it'll hook you hard. However, if you liked Flashpoint or the original Arma, you can buy this and feel good that you won't be disappointed. This is like those games, but with much better graphics, and a much, much better campaign.

On the subject of graphics, it's a double-edged sword. The graphics are terrific, and all 225km of the world are highly detailed. It can be very beautiful. However, I have a quad-core Intel processor, 4gb of RAM, and a 9800GTX+, and it took me awhile to find a nice balance between gorgeousness and frame rates (I ended up settling at about 25fps, which sounds low but this isn't a twitch game, so it's fine). I can't imagine there's anyone out there who can crank the settings right now, but it scales up very nicely. This game might actually be more demanding on hardware than Crysis was, so expect this to be a game that will continue to scale through at least your next computer as well.

If any of that sounded interesting to you, you owe it to yourself to at least check out the demo. Or pick up a cheap copy of Operation Flashpoint, just to get an idea of the "feel" of the game. Much of it is practically identical. That is to say, excellent but a little unpolished. It grabbed me and I love it - your mileage may vary.
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on December 16, 2009
Ok. Let's get a few things straight. You will hate this Sim if:
1.) Your PC isn't current, multi-cored with a killer graphics card.
2.) You like to "run and gun" as in Call of Duty or Battlefield 2.
3.) You hate to tweak, adjust and mod your sims.

You will love it if:

1.) You have a killer gaming rig.
2.) You are patient and enjoy tactics over unlimited ammo.

The game is very deep, and it still has bugs as of Patch 1.04
I am amazed at the depth of the simulation. The graphics are unreal. (I have a Core I7 2.93ghz, NVidia GTX-260, 6mb Ram, and although the graphics look great... I can't run it on the highest settings. This Sim needs some serious PC power.)
Sadly, the voice acting is atrocious.

That said, I have never had so much fun playing a combat sim. Every time I play I discover more features, commands, tips and tricks.

Comparing this to CoD or BF2 is like comparing Chess to Checkers. Sure they both use the same board, but that's where the similarities end.

Arma 2 is deep, it's involved, it complicated and it is not for someone looking to rack up kills, score points and rewards.

If a massive, tweakable, non-linear sim with a gigantic 140 sq. mile map is what you're into, and you have the hardware to run it... aside from hitting a few CTD (crash to desktop) and mission trigger bugs here and there won't be dissapointed.

The editor let's you create nearly any scenario you can imagine. It's like the ultimate combat sandbox.
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on December 23, 2012
This is a great game. It provides a true authentic simulation. I would consider myself a hardcore gamer on console, not too much PC games. So the learning curve was really stiff. It was hard to know what to do sometimes. That has nothing to do with story or anything, just the way the game plays. It requires plenty of practice to become a decent player. Map is HUGE! Gives you the sense that you are in a real world. Some would be intimidated by the map size, but there are plenty of vehicles to use. All of which provide their own benefit to the fight. The vehicles are really cool to operate but just like the game in general, each requires a lot of practice, especially the jets and helicopters.

Also, I am a gamer who wouldn't mind having average graphics so I can have amazing gameplay. This game has really good gameplay, but the graphics seemed washed out, textures get repeated too often. Every town you come across looks the same, just set up in a different manner. After a while of playing though, the graphics can be looked passed. It would've been nice to have a bit of difference in the smaller towns besides the layout.

Overall, Great game, deserves a 4/5.
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on January 5, 2010
ArmA2... Personally, i absolutely love this game, it's incredibly realistic, forces you to think while still needing to be a good shot. The single player campaign isn't bad, and it branches out into several different ending depending on the choices you make during the game, though it is known for being a bit buggy. The multiplayer is really what saved this game, to be honest. There are many different modes, probably around 10 or so different modes, though i honestly haven't counted. Arma2 really is a great for for tactical PVP, where you actually have to have some kind of strategy to defeat your opponents. Now, this game IS NOT FOR EVERYONE!! When i say it's realistic, i mean it is realistic, you are probably going to die in one shot, maybe two if you're lucky. However, you can't just go running and jumping around the map like a crazy person magically getting headshots on anyone you see. first off, the map is something like 225 square kilometers, at least the big map, Chernarus is. There is a smaller map, an island called Utes as well. Anyway, if you play this game like Call of Duty or Counterstrike, i can assure you, you will either die repeatedly or throw this game out the window. If you are one of the people who can actually appreciate the fact that you really can't go Rambo on everyone's ass, then you will probably enjoy this game. The majority of game modes are PVP, but there is co-op also. Personally, i like the co-op modes the best, mostly because i enjoy working with a team of friends to defeat an enemy that can make decisions much faster than a typical human. Unfortunately, with the AI, Arma2 gets a little more realistic than reality. They have tried to fix this through various patches, to some effect, and although it has indeed helped, the AI in Arma2 will always be a bit superhuman. As far as their accuracy and tactics and such, it's a very good balance, however BIS must've thought it was a good idea to give the AI some kind of built-in radar that allows them to see through hills and past tall grass and trees that would obscure any normal human's view. Now, i do realize that it would be extremely difficult, and resource-heavy, to recreate a human's sensory capabilities in AI, but it's ridiculous. They can hear you from the other side of a mountain. On another level though, it does make it more challenging, therefore much more satisfying when you manage to defeat the AI. As for community, well, i'm going to be honest, at this point in the game's lifespan, the giant community it has following it is basically the only thing updating the game. However, there must be a lot of very good developers devoting time to mods and maps and such because the community addons for Arma2 are mostly amazing. Especially with the recent release of ACE2, which almost completely fixes most of Arma2's more common failings, as well as adding tons of content. Graphically, Arma2 is going to kick the crap out of your computer if you don't have a recent computer. I am able to run the game on a nVidia 7900 with a dual-core 2 Ghz processor at a decent resolution with low settings at about 25 FPS during calm scenes, and about 15 to lower twenties during more frantic scenes, such as large airstrikes, explosions, etc. However, if you have a high-end machine that can max out the settings, let me tell you, the game looks damn near photo-realistic. Incredibly stunning graphics, as long as you have a good machine. There's also a ton of customization options for your soldier, mostly faces that come with the game but the large community has released loads of skins, faces, even soldiers from different countries. The in-game editor is also a very powerful tool that is actually fairly simple and powerful to use after a bit of practice. You will be able to make a mission probably straight from the first time you use the editor, although i'll be honest on this point, triggers are a bit more complicated. I still haven't figured out how to allow you to win the game, although there IS a way, i just haven't bothered to google it yet.
So, my final statement : Without mods, the game, though still fantastic, will feel as though they released it while they were still working on it. Then, you update it and maybe pick up ACE2 or some of the other mods, and the game will probably be one of the best you've ever played.
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