Why I play ArmA 2
ArmA 2: Operation Arrowhead released today. It's the most realistic military sim ever made. It's the proper successor to Operation Flashpoint. It lets you missile terrorist camps from eight kilometers away with remotely-controlled aerial drones. And you should absolutely play it--but not for any of those reasons.
Steam tells me I've donated 11 days of my life into ArmA 2. Nearly all of that has been in co-op, jogging through sections of "Chernarus" (fictional Czech Republic, satellite-modeled directly after the country) with my band of e-brothers, 12 or 20-some PC Gamer community members at a time in assassination or demolition missions. This is how the most active members of ArmA 2's playerbase consume the game, downloading player-created missions by the dozen from armaholic.com and hopping in as a squad with little or no foreknowledge of the ambushes, counter-attacks, and Harrier strafing runs that may lie ahead.
Some of my finest moments in the game (a hat-tip to Mikeon for his video captures) have been driven by that unpredictability--calm helicopter rides that become panicked skydiving or spontaneous, ill-advised pursuits after a little peer pressure from the people you're riding with.
Those last-second ejections may be my favorite—you’re left disoriented, spinning in the wind, trying to spot your tumbling bird through the first-person camera shake. If you don’t see your aircraft hit the ground, you’ll hear it (if it's hundreds of meters away, that might be seconds later--sound travels more slowly in ArmA), and then spy the smoke plume soon after.
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