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ArmA: Queens Gambit: A Queen's Ransom

Company: Atari

If anything, ArmA: Combat Operations will always go down as one of the more difficult games I've ever played. Though it has a great deal in common with games like Battlefield, Combat Operations placed such a great emphasis on realism that it required a completely different approach. Tactics took top priority, especially when it came to shooting since the A.I. could easily cut you down if you weren't careful. As a result, the game had a different sort of tension that may not have worked for everyone, but was good enough that the game managed to gain a decent following. Now these players have something new to look forward to with the upcoming release of ArmA: Queen's Gambit, the game's first expansion.

The conflict that enveloped much of the county in the first game has ended and a group of insurgents has begun to organize in its wake. With the U.S. forces that helped end the initial conflict out defending freedom in another part of the world, the government is forced to pay foreign mercenaries to come in and help take care of the problem.

Queen's Gambit follows a similar pacing as the original. Campaign goals are straightforward, though you are given a large amount of real estate to explore. Though little has changed as far as layout, missions are a little more involved and much more reasonable than Combat Operations. Goals are clearly stated and include everything from convoy ambushes to nighttime operations. Another addition is an arms dealer you can visit between missions, which gives you a little more flexibility in your squad's weapon's loadout, in turn giving your strategy a different twist.

Like much of the game, the number of weapons and vehicles available is similar to what was available in the first, though a few new additions have been added, including a new transport plane and new machine guns.

Queen's Gambit also introduces new multiplayer maps and modes. The new Porto Island map plays host to the "Battle of Porto" Mode, which is a "capture and hold" style game supporting up to forty players. Another Mode, "Urban Raid", is a six-player co-op scenario.

Based on a early look, ArmA: Queen's Gambit should give fans of the original a much more refined experience. It still isn't something for everyone, but is worth watching if you're bored with the current status quo for team-based shooters.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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