Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Gaming Reviews



ARMA II: Operation Arrowhead
Bohemia Interactive
Available now, RRP £24.99 (PC Only)
Review by Rob Wade


Three years after the conflict in Chernarus, portrayed in the original ARMA II, a new flashpoint in the Green Sea region heats up and coalition forces led by the US Army are sent to Takistan to quickly restore peace and prevent further civilian casualties. You play those forces in this standalone game expansion. The game does not require ARMA II to run, a feature that I think more games need to incorporate. Strategy games tend to be pretty good for that, for the most part - I know that the Warhammer 40k games don’t all require the original game to run the expansions, but I think that there is a lot of scope for that in the industry.

ARMA II: OA is a first-person/third-person shooter set in this flashpoint. The game plays much like a team-based shooter, but be warned: this is NOT a Call of Duty style of game. If you go into it expecting something light and easy-going, then be aware that running into a gunfight all guns blazing will get you punched hard in the cock. This game is punishingly involved, a real 'hardcore' shooter if ever I played one (and I did!)

The game boasts a number of improvements over its predecessor, from new units and a brand new storyline to new gameplay features designed to optimise the experience. It has a tutorial mode, which takes you through the basic controls of how to do all the bits in the game (HIGHLY recommended), and then you're taken straight into the campaign. The game opens with a lengthy cut-scene explaining the situation that has brought you into the game world, and the first mission sees you securing a hostile region. From there, the game evolves into the single-player campaign, but there are also some scenarios to play through on single-player mode, as well as multiplayer mode as well. If this sort of game is your bag, there's plenty here to keep you busy.

Technically, the game is a really solid effort. The graphics and textures are excellent, in fact some of the more realistic graphics of these types of environments that I've ever seen in games. The sound effects in this game are great, but the voiceover in the single player is laughable, and sounds like it's been done on a Speak & Spell. I can only envisage how much piss-taking of that there is on the multiplayer mode the game offers. The AI at times is a little ropey as well, with enemies facing off to a completely different direction and engaging in some painfully slow turning maneuvers in order to face the right way.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Graphics: Polished and realistic environments, and looks great in motion.
Sound/Music: Good sound effects, woeful voice acting.
Gameplay: Punishingly hard, but ultimately a satisfying challenge if you are good enough.
Lasting Appeal: A single player campaign, scenarios and a multiplayer mode, as well as a healthy mod community online. Great value for money.
Summary: Ultimately, the game is a really strong shooter if you like stuff that's really involved and 'hardcore'. Gamers after something that is a little more forgiving would do well to look elsewhere. Fans of the full game that this expands upon should definitely pick this up, as it's a really strong addition to the franchise with a lot of new features. 7/10




Meet Kalix. She's struggling with college - and staying alive...

Scottish teenage werewolf Kalix MacRinnalch is in London trying to settle down and live a normal life. Her new friends support her as she goes to college to learn to read and write, but her old enemies won't leave her alone. Many powerful werewolves want Kalix dead, and the Guild of Werewolf Hunters is still dedicated to wiping out the entire MacRinnalch werewolf clan.

Life might be easier if Kalix's family was able to help, but her sister, the Enchantress, needs all her powers to locate the perfect pair of high heels, her brother Markus is busy in Scotland organising an opera, and her cousin Dominil is enaged in her own merciless vendetta. Kalix must carry on alone, but she's finding it difficult enough to pay the rent without having to deal with werewolf hunters and exams at the same time...

Thanks to our friends at Piatkus Books, we've got five signed copies of Curse of the Wolf Girl to give away! For your chance of winning one, send us an e-mail to wolfgirlgiveaway@yahoo.co.uk with your name and postal address before midday on Tuesday 10th August (UK time). The first five names drawn out of the electronic hat will win a free copy!

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