Publicada: 14 Abril
'Do you recommend this game,' Steam asks me. I do, emphatically. I hope this anecdote from an in-game multiplayer experience I had will explain why. Prepare yourself for ARMA2: The Review: The Movie.
Spring, 2011; early in my ARMA career, first tour of duty after a Steam Sale. I'm a fairly fresh recruit, seasoned with a couple dozen game-hours spent trudging through an expansive and swampy learning curve. Spent today at work, drove home, made dinner, cleaned up; it's Game-O'clock. Steam. ARMA2. Launch. Menu surfing, looking for multiplayer. Server browser hits my face with lists of information. -AWP-Warfare Capture the Island
mode looks appealing tonight. Played it a couple times before, and I feel comfortable with the basics by now. Server connection established.
Click! I'm in, filling the boots of a digital NATO badass. Apparently, international treaty organisations occasionally require the service of men with guns. Disturbing thought, but I'm no politician. I'm just a nobody with a rifle, taking orders that filter down the food chain. Those orders fill my mind now. Objective: town. Location: nearby...as the crow flies. Heh, the team's commander does
have airborne technology unlocked, I just don't have the cash to buy a lift yet. Looks like I'm taking the scenic route. A quick check of my map tells me I'm at one of our hidden frontier bases and that there's two whole mountains between me and the nearby town. Great... I'll be taking the scenic route to the scenic route. The map tells me more: several of my team members and their A.I. controlled task forces are currently approaching the town. I'm already late for the party :(
Might as well bring the fireworks.
The base I'm at has only an armour factory and infantry barracks, but both will well suit my rapidly forming battle plan. I'm thinking heavy calibre fire support from high ground, overlooking the town. The topographic information in the map shows that the road I'll be taking is nestled around a minor hill as it approaches the town. Perfect. I'll park two BMPs there and they'll provide overwatch of the whole area while my comrades finish their capture of the town. An LAV will ferry me and one squad of A.I. infantry to the combat zone. I spend the required funds and set the plan in action.
Wait a tick, BeatYourHeadIn, are you telling me you actually have to plan how you’re going to get your troops and equipment from point A to point B in ARMA2? Logistics in a game!? Yes, actual logistics...in a game with a map so FRIGGIN’ big you need to employ logistical planning skills to see any sort of success. And it's not boring!
Back to the story. Formation of a military convoy. A few orders issued to my A.I. controlled task force later and the BMPs are on point while I lounge in the command chair of the LAV at the rear of the column. I man the turret-mounted automatic grenade launcher, a devastating weapon. Its barrel is ominously pointed at and tracking a lollygagging friendly player as my convoy departs base. Yeah, that's right chump, make one wrong move and I'll end you!
Though itching to test the power of my new toy, I decide it's not worth getting banned over. I let my teammate live, for now.
The A.I. drivers of my convoy are as dim as a new moon, but I can fine tune my plans and keep up with current events while they drive. It's an 10 to 15 minute (realtime) drive that negotiates a winding mountain pass through an elegant evergreen forest. These are backroads, unpaved; enemy forces unlikely to be using this route. I feel secure enough that I spend most of the trip looking at the map, reading topography, lanes of fire, positions of friendlies. I smile when I realize I could probably minimize ARMA2 and play a few rounds of Counterstrike while my convoy travels.
Dying immediately is certainly the last thing I'm worried about as I crest the peak of the second mountain.
Suddenly: EXPLOSION..DEAFENING SOUND..FROM BEHIND..MASSIVE DETONATION..JESUS H. CHRIST WHERE IS THAT VOLUME KNOB! What is going on here!?
My turret pans to the rear of the LAV. The sight, what a sight...I'll never forget. Fire. Wall. 60? 70 feet tall? A wall. Of fire. Taller than the trees in the forest, literally FILLS my view from left to right. There is nothing in view except the fire. I'm in awe. Confused. Shaken. I've seen 'splosions in this game before, BUT NEVER LIKE THAT! Did somebody tried to nuke me FFS!? I know there's no nukes in this game mode, so...
Over the cacophany of destruction: the scream of jet engines. Very close. As the flames die down, a large shape traverses the air over the crest of the crag. Airframe, Sukhoi configuration. Enemy. Wing tilted down slightly; canopy visible. I know he's surveying the carnage below him. Hunting me. Cursing his aim when he sees the LAV still intact. I feel small, molecule small; what I just witnessed was caused by his war machine. Napalm bombs. Heavy ordinance. Whatever it was, it dealt complete destruction to that forest.
Understand this, readers: in this game, air superiority is a literal phrase. Air is SUPERIOR in this game. This isn't your Battlefield "oh look I can shoot a few rockets from my jet fighter and maybe kill one or two goofs on the ground and then reload (because reloading rockets on a flying jet makes a lot of sense) and kill a couple more goofs" experience. No! In ARMA your aircraft can have a payload of more than a hundred devastating rockets and you can fire 'em full auto like a machine gun and destroy an entire town worth of goofs on the ground if you wanted to. Ha! Forget about balance! This is the real life Shiznit. Modern air forces don't invest heavily in war planes because they're "balanced". They invest in them because they can kill a hell of a lot of people quickly! ARMA2 knows this. Simply put, the developers have a big Bohemian boner for air power.
But BeatYourHeadIn, what happened next? Tell us! Okay, I'll tell you. A miracle happened. My convoy survives the 'splosion to end all 'splosions. My battle plans go up in smoke like the forest around me. My current objective is to live through the next 30 seconds. The LAV is the only reason I'm still alive. It is damaged, but drivable. I order my drivers to haul ♥♥♥ in a forwardly direction. I track the Sukhoi as the convoy labours onward. The receding bogey performs a wide highspeed U-turn. He's heading straight for me again. Relentless much? He's the UPS guy we all wished was real: the one who comes back after he missed you the first time, instead of leaving a note telling you to pick up your package at the office near the airport!
Then, from beyond the first mountain I had passed: a smoke trail racing skywards. Anti-aircraft missile! Ha! RETURN TO SENDER, A-HOLE! Two vectors intersect in a puff of smoke and light. Direct hit! Booyah! Wait, uh... he's still flying at me. HEY! HE'S STILL FLYING AT ME!
With black smoke billowing out of his engines, this topgun is still determined deliver my severance package. Frantically, I order the BMPs to target the limping jet. Cannon rounds arc through the sky in attempt to smite the airborne menace. Sukhoi Dude is getting closer and closer, but he's losing altitude. Fast. He's now descending below my level on the mountain, looking up at me through the trees as he approaches. None of the BMP fire connects, but it doesn't matter. THIS GOOSE IS COOKED BOYS! Relief. Now, his desperation salvo of rocket fire is way off-target; falls harmlessly some distance away. I watch him frantically yaw right and nose up as his fighter loses the last of its life-sustaining lift and plummets in a sideways cartwheel into the trees. The inferno he leaves behind is a feast for the eyes. There was nothing left but a dark crater.
Now, I can start thinking about that town again...
What, are you apes gonna dig him a grave!? We got our own mission to die for! Forward march!
All that's left to say is: play this game!