In light of Bohemia Interactive's PR not getting me the review copy of ArmA they promised Tom at Pro-G they were meant to be sending about a month ago, I picked up the game for twenty quid in Game at the weekend.
I wish I hadn't bothered now. If this is what masquerades as retail standard code these days, I'm going to have to set up my own software house and show people how it's done. And I'm a terrible programmer...
Simply put, this is the shoddiest heap of badly optimised shite I've had the misfortune to play since, well... Battlefield 2142. And the PC I'm playing this on is (by comparison) at least three times more powerful. A brand new dual-core, SLI rig with twinned GeForce 8800GTS cards and 2GB of RAM, and this brings it to its knees AT DEFAULT SETTINGS. The control lag is awful, the 3D engine has a comedy half second lag in the rendering that presents you with six year old, dozen polygon 3D models holding paper cut out weapons in cutscenes before catching up to showing you two year old semi-decent avatars that don't quite make your eyes melt. Graphically, this is no Unreal Tournament 3. Hell, it's not even UT2004. And with the difficulty level being off the scale (learning curve? try the North face of the Eiger), it renders the whole thing utterly unplayable.
Operation Flashpoint (one of my favourite games ever) was harsh, but ultimately fair. This is just digital masochism in a box. The code's not really in any better a state than the equally unplayable preview code I got at Leipzig last summer (though at least then I had the excuse to not give it a scathing preview it on account of being preview code, so I held my tongue, didn't write a piece at all and gave them the benefit of the doubt). So now, in the interests of journalistic fairness I have to download 470MB of patch tonight to find out if that even remotely fixes the brokenness. But I'm not holding my breath.
The reviewing claws are being sharpened. Expect blood... and I had such high hopes for this one too.