All Features


  PlayStation 3
  PlayStation 4
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Xbox One


Arma II: Operation Arrowhead

Score: 82%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Meridian4
Developer: Bohemia Interactive
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Simulation/ First Person Shooter/ Themed

Graphics & Sound:

Here I am once again, poised for virtual battle. I have my Mountain Dew. My flight stick is at the ready. We are "Good to go!" for immersion into Arma II: Operation Arrowhead. This is a standalone addition to Arma II and this was also my first time to touch any of the Arma series. That was a little weird given my love of First Person Shooters. I was not prepared for this level of detail. This is not a "hop in and shoot" casual FPS. This is an investment of your time and dedication.

The graphics are awesome. This is a massive game world full of enemies and innocents alike. The vehicles, weapons and people are as close to perfect as they can be for the sheer scale of this game. If you are upset with the graphics in this game, it can only be that is time for you to get a new video card. This is the type of game that makes you want to go big with your monitors and heavy on the graphics cards.

I have never had the need to fire a rocket launcher from my shoulder, but if I did, I am sure that this is what it would sound like. Sound effects are spot on. Where we hit a wall is in the Stephen Hawking computer-read dialogue that just pulls you so severely out of the game immersion.


When I claimed that Arma II: Operation Arrowhead was a commitment, I meant it. Unless you have been familiarized with simulation play in the past, you will realize that half of the difficulty is learning how to navigate the controls. You're going to really need to have a total understanding of how you move in-game. That is going to take time. Just getting through the tutorial was a humbling and long experience, but it was worth it in the end. Mostly, this was so I could even play.

The storyline for the single player version takes you to Takistan, three years after the events of Arma II. You wouldn't have seen this storyline coming, but bad people are doing bad things. Shocking, yes? It is up to the US and NATO to make it right. Ok, so there is a little more to it than that, but as a grunt, do you really need to know more than that?

As a simulation, I was happy to see that I didn't move like an Olympic sprinter across the screen. Becoming fatigued and needing to slow my movements down is just one of the hundreds of little tastes of realism sewn into the game. Bullets have physics. They are affected by gravity and the things they hit, before hitting your target. It is good to be reminded of this in games sometimes.

If learning to move wasn't hard enough, lets throw you into a multi-million dollar piece of machinery, and teach you how to use it. Operating vehicles is where all of the fun in the game was for me. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing but respect for the grunts that have to play door to door salesmen in hell, on a daily basis. I would just rather have some armor plating between me and the guy with a gun.

On foot, in a vehicle, piloting a UAV, or in an aircraft you are looking to do some serious class time before being effective. There are so many cool things to play with, but that is the appeal of a simulation. You just have to show some patience in getting to all of them. I have always equated the number of weapons in an FPS to the number of times I was going to die before I started getting a handle on the game.Yup! That's a lot of me dying.


The tutorial is intense. There is so much to take in with Arma II: Operation Arrowhead. You are immediately inundated with tons of commands and controls. There is a solid learning curve to negotiate before the thought of actual "play" is a reality. Unless you live this style of play, you will really find the beginning to be very difficult. This is a simulation, not a run and shoot Quake twitch game. Understanding every aspect of what you are doing, and why, is the main key to how easy the game can be. In my arrogance, I decided that I could simply hop into the multiplayer and succeed. Don't get me wrong, the point of the game is similar. You point the gun at the other guy and pull the trigger. That part was no problem. But, when you never see the guy? I got killed from the left and the right. I got it from above, and I am pretty sure I even got dead from below once.

Game Mechanics:

I find myself on a proverbial fence with Arma II: Operation Arrowhead. As a simulation game, this game is hands-down one of my favorites. This is mostly due to the variety. Usually in simulation games, you get one experience. If it is a tank sim, you get tanks. A flight sim, you get only planes. An FPS sim, well, you get the picture. You get everything you can ask for in one package here. Why am I straddling a fence?

I cannot in good conscience make it through this game without thinking about the Battlefield series. First off, these are two different games with only slightly similar goals. I know this. Battlefield, as a whole, is a game that balances fun and simulation, with Battlefield leaning, obviously, more towards the fun. It is in the mod community that we find the gems of simulation and realism that I really enjoy. The reason it puts me on the fence is that I wanted to have just a little more fun. I feel dirty for saying it, but I felt like I had just gotten out of class, not played a game. Honestly, when it came to the single player game, it was the flaws of the A.I. and the soothing singing voice of Stephen Hawking that took away the fun more than anything else. On the multiplayer side, it was the vast gap between player skill sets that made the game hard to get into. I know with time, I can overcome this with a solid group of players. It will, however, take weeks to find them. I don't know with my gaming time, if I want to have this level of commitment; especially, when we aren't even talking about playing this game competitively. Now that is real commitment.

With all of this being said, Arma II: Operation Arrowhead was an intense experience, one that, overall, I enjoyed. I left it feeling like I had taken part in something. I love the detail, the approach, every thing in the game. I respect the work and feel a little like I failed the developers, wanting something just a little more entertaining. Do I think they should water down the game for me? Absolutely not and never should you adjust for such a thing. Know what you like. I believe it will be worth my time to really play this game to its fullest. I just hope the family will remember my name when I come up for air. I will know I have been playing to much when there is a yellow ribbon on the door to my office.

-WUMPUSJAGGER, GameVortex Communications
AKA Bryon Lloyd

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows XP or newer, Dual Core CPU, 256 MB RAM & Pixel Shader 3.0 or better, DirectX 9.0c or newer, 9 GB free HDD space

Test System:

Dell XPS 630i, Vista, Intel Core 2 Quad, 6 GB Ram, ATI HD4800

Related Links:

Microsoft Xbox 360 DarkStar One - Broken Alliance Microsoft Xbox 360 Clash of the Titans

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated