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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bohemia's Faded Rhapsody

Operation Flashpoint harboured leprosy. At Codemaster's behest, a company named Macrovision developed an insidious embryo named Fade and cocooned their creation within Flashpoint's scripting. Macrovision's foreign mass had the potential to become malignant at the slightest scent of a software pirate. Should Flashpoint be installed illegally, Fade would awaken and begin to degrade the guts of its host. Oddly, this was exactly what Codemasters wished for - a new strategy against piracy - greedy gamers would observe their illegitimate bounty's highly realistic world as it corrupted, then dropped chunks. Fade's influence would rapidly render Flashpoint unplayable, a frustrating foray into the abyss.

I installed Armed Assault yesterday. Armed Assault is the sequel to Flashpoint in all but name, developed by Bohemia but published by another. Although Fade is not included with ArmA, its spirit festers on through Bohemia's bodged attempt at releasing a finished game. ArmA might as well be released accompanied by the suffix 'Limited Addition' because its qualities are significantly limited. In 30 minutes of ArmA I've been frustrated by: a convoy unable to turn corners, trucks with no texture, merging squaddies becoming frozen squaddies, and this repeating, game-breaking dialogue:

Squad Leader: 9 - Move To 4x4 at C67
Number 9: Roger
Number 9: Negative
Number 9: Where are you?

The above took place on the second primary mission, as the enemy began to outflank us to the East. My squad was ordered back to the 4x4s so that we could maneuver and counter-attack the flanking forces. Number 9 played coy but disagreed with my squad leader, thinking himself a superior tactician. I found him standing in a field, mouthing 'Roger' but secretly thinking 'Negative'. I shot him in the face, but my friends didn't understand.

Currently, ArmA is not worth your money, or worthy of your time. Download a copy of Flashpoint if you'd enjoy a similar experience. I may review ArmA later, but only when it's fixed.

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