Review by Zipper5
Both a picture and a description related to the mission are both included in this overview, which is always a plus. The picture also has a white contrasting border, plus a caption reading "My mates and our chariot. October 2009", which is a nice inclusion. The picture itself seems a bit squashed, making the T72 look long and the crewmen look pudgy, but that is a relatively minor issue.
The first scene starts with a simple static tracking shot of a ChDKZ BMP, changing to other static tracking shots of NAPA and USMC units ambushing the BMP. It introduces the story to the player by text displayed within the black cinematic borders, which works as well as it should. Eventually it changes to another static tracking shot of ChDKZ units moving into Solnichniy. Throughout the intro the track "Dead Forest" is also playing, which adds a small amount of atmosphere to the cinematic.
It is, however, relatively boring and only consists of either static or tracking shots. The AI does not always perform how it should as well, and sometimes they are killed before they should be and the camera hangs on them. The intro's purpose seems to have been more to introduce the story to the player with words, rather than with cinematics. I believe more could have been done to make the intro more interesting, including different shots and more fine-tuning in what the involved units do.
The tasks are all laid out for the player, and more than enough information is given to him to support him throughout the mission. A picture is also included in the “Recon” section of the briefing showing the opposition that the player will be facing, but unlike the overview picture this one does not have a frame. It is also far too large as it makes the player scroll down to see all of it.
The map is marked very well, with the key locations involved clearly presented to the player. I would have liked to have seen the tasks be assigned to the markers so that one could just double click the task and it would send you to them, but they are not missed too much here as each of the tasks has the appropriate links to the markers involved within their task descriptions.
The player is immediately granted artillery support via the SecOps module at the start of the mission, but I could never use it as either HQ could not target the location I chose, or it was out of their range, so it became a relatively useless feature for me. I also noticed that, for some reason, I had three crew members who were not in a tank. I do not recall seeing their tank blow up, or even knowing that they were in a tank for that matter.
When attacking the first and second objective, the player might find it quite difficult to control their AI drivers. They can have a difficult time maneuvering through the more urbanized areas and resulted in me having to take over from driving on multiple occasions. The first objective does not have any space at all to go around the town unless you want to risk your AI driving into the sea, but the second objective has slightly more room to move around, mostly to the open northern area. However, while this limited space to move the tanks around caused issues for me, it was hell for the completely AI driven tanks in my platoon. Many times they got stuck and I had to micromanage them to get them out.
There are some challenging parts in this mission, mostly towards the third and final objective. The AA cannons do lots of damage very quickly to your tanks, so you have to take them out fast. I had some trouble finding all three AA guns as they are not specifically marked on the map; you’re just given their general area. Also, another thing to note is that the cannons themselves must be destroyed; you can’t just shoot out their crew. This puzzled me for a while as I didn’t know what I had to do until I decided to make sure they were completely destroyed, which did indeed end the mission.
This seemed to only consist of two shots; one tracking a Su25 as it engages ground targets and one showing what it is destroying. However, it stayed on the exact same shot of the Su25 for far too long, so long in fact that the music stopped before showing the second shot. It seems as though the Su25 had to destroy a certain target before it would change shots. This was a very basic outro, and a fairly dissatisfying reward for the accomplishments made in the mission. It seemed that it was a lot of work to just have one Su25 attack a couple of empty trucks.
One of the very few tank missions available to ArmA II players who love to drive around in metal bringers of death. It is quite a challenging mission given its choice to be a tank mission, and will keep you busy for upwards of 30 minutes.
Though severely lacking in the cinematics department, preventing the player from being fully drawn into the storyline of the mission, it does make up for a lot of it in the mission itself. It does have some issues that would have been nice to have been sorted out before it was made final, but for the most part it is well paced and challenging enough for most ArmA II players, no matter if they are beginners or experienced players. It is just disappointing that the intros and outros are almost slapped on as an afterthought, but I will give props for them being there at all and at least trying to tell the story.