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  ArmA2 : Operation Arrowhead preview by Armed  

The Littlebird is flying over the rocky summits and deep valleys of Takistan. No animals, no Takistanis, no one is living here around. Only the sandy dust is to be recognised. It's so hot here, it must be Hell.
We have been ordered to locate the Captives, held by the Takistanis in the Coltan Mine. We creep down the dusty hill slopes till we see the Coltan Mine. With my M110 TI Scope I have killed fast the first Takistanis. Ok, let's go! Damned, Reinforcements are coming closer. No problem for me I was thinking, but the Takistanis split into 2 groups and flanked us. God! We lost 2 and 3. I'm on a good way to failed the mission. But my Team mate Howard Drake kill them all.

In the background, US tanks are attacking an enemy camp in the valley with Apache support, quite an atmosphere is provided, while we protect the mine. Now let's search for the Captives. We've found an old civilian man in the house, hold by an Takistani. RIP Mr.Takistani! And then another Takistani shot me down. I failed the mission.

No, it was not Hell. It was Operation Arrowhead! The official standalone expansions pack for the great game ArmA2. We from ArmedAssault.Info had the big honour already to begin with testing the Preview version of ArmA2:Operation Arrowhead extensively. We played the first mission Coltan Blue from the Campaign of Operation Arrowhead. And by now we venture the prediction: Arrowhead will offer a lot for what Arma2 fans hope from a successful extension.

A lot has been announced in already published Previews, that's why we want now to aim our Preview straight on novelties and improvements.

Operation Arrowhead gaming environment:
In Operation Arrowhead Bohemia Interactive makes available us immediately 3 maps for operation areas. No island here, continuous terrain all around with high summits in the background, the water is scarce here. Each of the mainland maps are looking like sandy and stony Afghanistan with wide steppes and some green areas.
Vegetation is scarce on the map and the performances has thereby become a way better then on chernarus, as long as you don't fight in one of the bigger cities. Here the old-haunting performance problem still exists at the moment.

Big forests like in ArmA2 have no place in Operation Arrowhead. Luckily must say, because the performance has thereby become a way better.

Takistan Map:
The large Takistan is the nicest map by all. Lot of small cities as well as numerous smaller villages and places obtain a nice landscape. Indeed, the vegetation is scanty with wide steppes, however many stony mountain ranges in connection with smaller green areas prove an absolutely realistical general look of the map. Also near all houses and building are enterable with a large amount of details. The performance in the city are at the moment on the same level that in Chernogorsk on Chernarus (ArmA2).

Also a mass of unplanned housing, shops and market squares are around. Shops littered with sacks and boxes, homes lavishly cushioned and carpeted. Passable balconies invite to the conversation with the neighbours. Threats are easier to spot, but the cover opportunities are sparser, which calls for extended use of vehicles and long-range weapons.

Military facilities in Takistan:
In Takistan there are 2 big airports, several small bases, as well as hidden camps between the mountain ranges. Military logistic is provided here on full.

Zargabad Map:
Zargabad map is featuring a 8 km strech of a narrow valley. All around there are the wide sandy steppes and dusty rocky slopes so the environment looks very dry and a bit desolate. The mountain river is dry but a dam is still bringing some water in fiels and orchards. Here in the middle is staying Zargabad , a large city with an adjoining airport, and some smaller places and villages around. In town, some buildings as the mosque or the palace are eye catching. This map looks like a standard and interesting operation area.

In the middle of the city a nice enterable mosque decorates the realistic townscape. Here are also near all houses and building enterable with a large amount of details. Bohemia Interactive has managed to create something that feels more like a real town.

Military facilities in Zargabad:
In Zargabad there are 1 big airports, as well as several small bases. Military environment is limited here, but it's enough for this small map.

Desert Map:

At first sight this map has to offer virtually nothing at all. An oil conveyor arrangement, as well as several pipelines dress the desolate and empty landscape of the map. Wide steppes and sandy areas looks as they are only made for endless desert fights.

And with one of the modules, the new "town generation module", placed anywhere on a map spawns a random settlement of villages and smaller cities. So mission makers can create different scenarios on this map.

Playsides and vehicles:

In operation Arrowhead 4 play sides are available again. Besides, all 4 sides offer a total of 9 different unit groups. Besides, the US Army has now Little Birds as well as the transport helicopter CH-47 Chinook. Now on the ground armored vehicles, the Stryker in 6 different variations. In addition, 10 different HMMWV models fill the mobile inventory of the US armed forces.

While the US armed forces are equipped with the most modern weapons and vehicles, the militia and Takistanis must be content with old Russian weapon supplies. It doesn't mean the Bluefor are stronger, but they have better equipment than the Takistanis.

We have here a short overview about all sides and groups we've found:

- US Army
- Czech Units
- German KSK
- Takistani Locals

- Takistan Army
- Takistan Militia

- Takistan Locals

- Takistani
- Special

US and Takistani vehicles, tracked vehicles and aircrafts
We've make screens of different US and Takistani vehicles, tracked vehicles and aircrafts from the Boot Camp missions. Not all of them, but the new ones from Operation Arrowhead.

New features and improvements:
Of course Bohemia Interactive created not only an extension with new unities and weapons. Besides, Operation Arrowhead offers an improved engine with major new gameplay features and enhancements. It is also possible to use the original ARMA 2 content combined with new OA content. Users that already have ARMA 2 installed will be offered an option to install OA into it and run it as a combined, never seen before size and experience.

UAV Systems
Completely new are the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles whom you can even command to laser-marked opponent for rocket attacks. In Operation Arrowhead there are 2 different UAV systems available to use ingame. For the choice stand a quick RQ-9 Predator drone (UAV) and a remote control Little Bird (ULB) helicopter.

Unamanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
The RQ-9 Predator drone is already used for scouting operations and attack missions. The drone is remotely controled from a UAV terminal. For example by an HMMWV Terminal. If you are nearly close to the terminal, you can activate the UAV via action menu. Now you fly the drone in the air and see all from above by the UAV camera. The UAV camera has 3 different modes of view.

- Normal vision
- Night vision
- Thermal vision

With the RQ-9 Predator you can also remember a specific enemy spot on the ground marking its position on the map.

Unmanned Little Bird (ULB)
The Little Bird (AH-6X) works as support for an Apache helicopter, targeting enemy units for long range distance. The main purpose of the ULB is to infiltrate enemy territory and mark targets for the Apache (AH-64D) Hellfire missiles. The AH-6X is equiped with a laser designator which is used to guide the Hellfire missiles fired by the Apache.

The AH-6X is remotely controled from the Apache itself. You can activate the ULB via action menu. Now you fly the AH-6X in the air and see all from above by the UAV camera. The UAV camera of the ULB has also 3 different modes of view.

- Normal vision
- Night vision
- Thermal vision

Town Generation Module
Bohemia Interactive provides here one of their miracle item : the "Town Construction Set" Module, one click on the map and you get a city, two cliks 2 cities or a large one looks like a powerful enhancement for the sandboxes missions creators as well as for the casual gamers. Also here near all houses and building are enterable with a large amount of details.

Each settlement has its own name like Elsafi, Nesaraw, Farinjal, Khawak, Pasan or Hejan. We tested over 20 different settlements, disconnected from any roads they resemble a ghost towns in the middle of the desert. We tested also the performance in the spawned towns and how works the AI in this different settlements. And we can say that the AI have no problems to go through the towns. They went also into the houses, used the balconies and attack sometimes enemy forces from there.

The Mission Editor
The mission editor is the same great one as we know from ArmA2. The first look on it brings the new color of the Editor Interface. The new brown Interface is a little bit unusual, but it makes the editor not worse. Beside new moduls are the new colors of the group sides placed on the map. BLUEFOR units are now in blue color, OPFOR units are in red color, INDEPENDENT units are in green color and the CIVILIANS are now in orange color.

New Modules:
We've found a lot of new modules in the Editor, but we don't test them all. But we notice any of them:

- Alice2
- Armory Manager
- Armory MP Manager
- Town Construction Set
- Environment Colors
- Environment Effects
- First Aid Battlefield Clearence
- Simple Support Module

Who would like to try out many vehicles and weapons besides the campaign, will get the opportunity in the Showcase missions. Here you can start immediately on one of these three maps in an vehicle or helicopter of your choice and if requested, get small mini-missions with evacuation or destroy tasks. We've try out all available vehicles, tanks and helis and have a lot of fun.

The Showcase missions shows you near all useable vehicles, aircrafts and tanks from the US army and the Takistani army. You can make yourself close by every vehicle and airplane to be armed well in later applications of Operation Arrowhead. We make a lot of screens of US and Takistani vehicles, tanks and aircrafts.

Boot Camp:
In the Boot Camp you can allow to train yourselves to right soldiers. You learn here the control of Weapons, vehicles, airplanes and tanks, as well as the guidance of the player ingame.

Operation Arrowhead is more than only one extension. Bohemia Interactive has created here a true masterpiece which will inspire not only ArmA2 fans. Indeed, OA still needs a lot of work next few weeks till it's final, but with Preview version shows that that something great is growing out. However, fans of ArmA2 can be glad about sensible innovations, many-sided applications and fresh units. Remain only to hope that Bohemia delivers this time, finally a more or less perfect product. Operation Arrowhead gives an astonishingly positive impression by now.

Some ingame videos:

ArmA2:Operation Arrowhead preview M110 TI Scope

ArmA2:Operation Arrowhead preview - Dayfight

ArmA2:Operation Arrowhead preview - Nightfight

  May 29th, 2010 - 17:38   Comments (4)  

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