The in-game sounds do make up for a lot, though. Audio cues abound to alert you to nearby action. I hear an explosion nearby and hit the ground. As I do, my gun and equipment clink together and the gravel makes a sound below me. Vehicles, weapons and nature all add a spice to the pot to draw you into the game world. Soldiers (including the one you control) will constantly describe enemy locations which is helpful to pick them out from what little cover they’ve found.
At one point, though, I rescued three hostages who wouldn’t stop talking. One would be thanking me for saving their lives while the other two would be updating me on enemy locations. Since when did civilians afraid for their lives start giving updates using military terms? It felt out of place and actually made me laugh at their lack of focus.
Overall, the campaign was enjoyable and offered diverse missions even if it was very brief. Rescuing hostages, leading an armored vehicle convoy through multiple hot zones, and piloting an attack helicopter are all woven into the story. The realism added tension because I knew that one mistake could quickly kill me. Additionally, each mission gives enough leeway to choose which objective to tackle first which adds replay value. Since this isn’t a heavily scripted affair, missions rarely play out the same.
This lack of scripting also causes issues when you don’t meet the exact criteria the game expects. If you have to clear a town, a lone soldier lying on a rooftop can keep you from completing your objective. This leads to “hide and seek” moments that aren’t enjoyable in a game even if they are realistic. Plus, the AI in Operation Arrowhead is atrocious. It’s apparent for two reasons: enemies and teammates.
The enemy AI is almost non-existent. Turning up the difficulty will make them more deadly, but that’s only glossing over the issue. I could walk into a room and shoot one of three enemies. The other two would remain at their post, unaware of both their dead comrade and my loud assault rifle. Occasionally I would walk right past an enemy thinking they were a neutral unit only to have them shoot me in the back when they realized who I was.
My team acted a little better. Other squads would tackle objectives and even complete side missions for me. However, that is where their brain power stops. It even felt like my squad had road rage; if I drove to slowly, I would get rear-ended and literally pushed along. In other instances I was rammed by a friendly tank. That’s when I decided to order my squad to waypoints, both to stay out of my way and not to hurt themselves.
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