Author: Edward Harding Osborne
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Date: 2009-10-02 22:46
Submitted by: TV-PressPass


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[p]Arma2 is what reviewers would call “a hardcore game.” Its a game that takes some effort to understand, some effort to play, and generally expects a lot from its players. Most people who play Arma2 have an interest in the genre already, and understand some of the basic tenets of tactical games. There is very little hand holding involved when you first start playing. But that doesn't mean Bohemia Interactive only makes games for the elite few. This week we walk through four different people playing Arma2 for the first time.[/p]
[p]Kent is 56, divorced and rides a vintage triumph motorcycle. He spent his childhood years on an American air force base in Japan, watching jets take off and land. Then in the mid sixties he moved back to Canada where he lived on another training base in the middle of the prairie.
Kent had never heard of the Arma series, he usually sees whatever blockbuster movie is out, and plays only a handful of older war games.[/p]
[p]When Kent plays Arma, he plays as a pilot, no matter the scenario or faction. He doesn't like having to walk, doesn't like having to give orders or obey commands. But he loves to get behind the stick of an A-10 and rain fire down on tank columns. He's had an aging sidewinder joystick for years, and happily dusts it off to try playing online. He murmurs to himself as he flies: “Keep it up. . . where is the sucker?” And when he sees the column of smoke from a successful hit he cackles. On one mission he tries helicopters, but the fact that he needs a crew and a gunner to go with them limits the appeal. Kent prefers to ride alone, both on his bike and virtually in the cockpit.[/p]
[p]Kent thinks he will keep playing Arma2, but probably only a few times a month.[/p]

[p]Meredith is a 16 year old student at a Catholic school. Her key concern in life is getting a cell phone so she can text her friends. At home she mostly plays on her Wii, and occasionally an RPG on her brother's PS2 slim. She uses the computer for facebook rather than games. She doesn't get Arma2 initially, explaining that she doesn't like war films either.[/p]
[p]“I mean, if I were there I'd be terrified. I feel bad when my team-mates die.” She couldn't finish Saving Private Ryan; too many characters she liked died. At first this is discouraging, but her first real entertainment comes when she finds her niche. During a simple search and destroy mission she is playing as the squad's medic. Her team leader comes under fire on the outskirts of a town and the whole unit of marines stops to engage. Here Meredith finds herself in her element, tasked with helping the wounded instead of attacking the enemy. She is deeply involved while crawling behind cover to apply aid to a machine-gunner; and actually shrieks a little when running out into the road to drag her commanding officer to safety. She's never heard the phrase corpsman before, but now she associates immediately with it.[/p]
[p]Meredith thinks she will only play Arma2 when wants something more serious than her Wii mini-games.[/p]

[p]Andre is a hardcore gamer in his mid twenties who usually plays Eve online with a sprinkling of Dawn of War or other strategy games. These sorts of math-heavy, long term investment games are deeply appealing to him, and he initially scoffs when I offer him a first person shooter to play. Its about forty-five minutes into a protracted battle against entrenched Russians when he comes on the microphone and says “this is just like an MMO to me.” [/p]
[p]He makes an interesting point. Arma2 has lots of different characters moving around a gigantic world, customizing gear and weapons to deal with certain types of enemies. There are multiple chat channels, and a variety of quests/objectives on any given map.[/p]
[p]“That APC is just like a boss. We have to wait to take it until somebody gets here with a rocket launcher. And whenever somebody goes down they've got to be revived. Its like an army MMO.”
[p]Comparing Arma2 to an MMO might disregard some of the carefully rendered weapon ballistics and command structures, but its how Andre constructs the game for himself. He also enjoys the “warfare missions” that seem to be shunned by most players. He's quite happy when he can command units in an RTS fashion but continue to play on the ground. [/p]
[p]Andre continues to play Arma2 on a nightly basis.[/p]

[p]Zoey is a college student who was introduced to video-games by playing her namesake in Left 4 Dead. She then graduated to EA's famous Sims franchise which sucks up most of her time. The arcade shooter is where she's most comfortable though, and she found Arma2 a bit sluggish she she started. Not being able to run and shoot seemed like a major set back for her character. But after fifteen minutes or so she gets into a rhythm of identifying and engaging enemies. The tactical game play is a far cry from her usual zombie shooter, and as a result she mostly plays death match games online or a search and destroy mission generated by the wizard. Early on she decided that she liked playing the insurgent force “because they get all the gangster guns.” [/p]
[p]The involvement of vehicles is tricky for Zoey. She doesn't like driving them around unarmed, but will instead hop into a turret and use it as a stationary weapon in lots of missions. She likes to play in first person, but rarely uses iron-sights or scopes. For her, the ability to call in airstrike relates back to Call of Duty, and the first time she saw a dog in a village she shot it thinking it would attack.[/p]
[p]Zoey still plays Arma2 on the weekends, usually after dying too many times in other shooters.[/p]




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