In the vast panorama of today’s multiplayer productions, there are some works that, in order to survive, require not so much a large number of players on their servers, as a community active enough to contribute to the development of new content, able to entertain users. For years. Following this philosophy is the Arma series by Bohemia Interactivewhich over the years has produced some of the most authoritative simulation shooters among those on the market.
Following an event entitled “The Future of Arma”, the development team announced that the fourth chapter of the IP will take years to arrive on the market and that in the meantime players will have to “settle” for Reforgera minor project that also and above all serves to test the new one Enfusion Engine, the beating heart of future Bohemia Interactive productions. After getting your hands on Arma Reforger Early Access for a few hours, we are ready to reveal all the details of this product which, despite being somewhat poor in content at the moment, highlights considerable potential.
A transitional chapter
Underlining the fact that Arma Reforger is only a passing episode is the use of a map that fans of Bohemia interactive know perfectly well. The island that is the backdrop to the adventures of our soldiers takes the name of Everon and it is the same already seen in Operation Flashpoint, with the only and substantial difference that this time we are faced with a reconstruction in the Enfusion Engine.
The conflict that is pressing over the island’s bucolic landscapes is that between Russia and the United States: we are in fact in an alternative version of the 1980s and the Cold War it did not go exactly as we read in the history books, degenerating to the point of bringing the two nations and the inevitable FIA (Freedom and Independence Army) back into the trenches.
If you are a fan of the series and are rubbing your hands at the idea of a new weapon, you would do well to curb the enthusiasm. Those used to the old shooter releases should not expect a product in line with previous episodes, neither in terms of content nor for what concerns the refinement of the technical sector. First of all, it should be noted that Reforger it is devoid of any offline mode and, apart from the short tutorial that can be completed solo, the whole experience is focused on multiplayer and some sort of editor.
Conflict is the classic race to conquer the control points of the map, but from a more realistic perspective: the path leading to victory is anything but linear and does not translate into a long series of frenetic firefights. To reach the podium it is necessary to act cunning, isolate communications, conquer outposts that favor the respawn of allies who have fallen in battle and conduct resources in these places, in order to build all the structures useful for supplying the soldiers. This is not a particularly original game mode ei dead times between actions are very long. However, it is impossible to ignore how the gameplay of such a product is able to give moments of great fun: in the middle of a game, we ran into a group of clearly experienced soldiers, and so we decided to follow them. After a long walk made of jokes and humming, everything suddenly became serious and we entered with great attention in a dense forest: the short stretch traveled through the trees favored our stealth and we came out inside an enemy camp. guarded by a handful of enemies, taken out without too much trouble thanks to the surprise factor.
After conquering the checkpoint, we dug in and eliminated all those opponents who, having heard the noise of the gunfire, rushed to the aid of their allies without much luck. Net of the current limits of the game, situations like this give us hope for the future, which we hope is also and above all full of new ways. In fact, before we talked about two different game options: Conflict is the only one that can guarantee immediate fun, while the second is much more complex.
Game Master it is addressed only to those who want to start creating content for Reforger without, however, putting their hand to advanced development tools. Starting the game, the player transforms into a kind of deity who, with an unobstructed view of Everon Island, can do what he likes best.
During our Game Master test we indulged ourselves and tried to conceive small war scenarios, placing both objects that form the background such as containers and carcasses of tanks, and troops belonging to different factions that can then unleash in a firefight. In addition to moving these ‘pawns’ as in any other god game, we can also take control of one of the soldiers and kick off some sort of little PvE missionperhaps to share with other players.
And it is precisely because of this editor, also available on Xbox, that we noticed a first shortcoming of Arma Reforger: theIA. At the moment, in fact, the soldiers’ artificial intelligence is reduced to the bone and does not even allow them to board a vehicle. The modders could fill this gap, since among the various tools included in the Enfusion Engine workshop we also find all the instrumentation useful to define the attitudes of AI.
A balanced gunplay
The most solid aspect of Reforger’s Early Access is without a shadow of a doubt the gunplay. Using the various guns is always fun and gives excellent sensations due to thebalance between realism and accessibility which doesn’t make it frustrating to pick up an assault rifle. Obviously you will have to accurately calculate the shot and have a careful management of the bullets, but beyond these factors we are faced with a game that offers shooting phases that are as tactical as they are fun. A little less cared for is the mechanism through which we can lean sideways to avoid falling under enemy fire.
In short, all aspects relating to the movement of the character should be refined and expanded with further possibilities, in such a way as to offer a complete range of options to satisfy even the most demanding palates. We do not exclude that this choice is to be found in the presence of the full support for controllers, peripherals with which Reforger lets himself be played quite well, net of a bit of frustration with some mechanics, in particular those related to inventory management and the enormous possibilities of the editor. For the rest, everything is almost perfectly enjoyable even with a pad, thanks to the good realization of the menu interface.
However, to be reviewed as soon as possible interactions with the scenario. Despite the great promises of Bohemia Interactive regarding the potential of the Enfusion Engine in terms of environmental interactivity, we found ourselves faced with a world that is too static. Between buckets anchored to the floor, petrol cans that do not respond to fire and small trees that do not uproot even if they are hit with a jeep at high speed, the interactions with the explorable areas are reduced to the bone and the few available leave a lot to to desire.
A beautiful but static island
Poor implementation of environmental interactions is just the tip of the iceberg, since the Enfusion Engine used in Arma Reforger is full of technical problems. The Bohemia Interactive title is plagued by numerous bugs that inevitably affect the gaming experience and that underline how much development is still very immature.
Whenever rain kicks in, for example, they witness annoying graphic glitches that do not disappear until the game is restarted; the respawn system suffers from problems that cause the interpenetration of models and make returning to the field annoying, while the physics of objects, including vehicles, do not always react as they should. Even simple access to online matches is not very immediate, not to mention that it is not uncommon to see network errors that expel players from the match.
As for the graphic detail, the steps forward made compared to the previous chapter are evident, but we are still far from today’s standards. The heavy game engine offers a decent visual quality that allows you to witness beautiful landscapes in the green, but everything you see on the screen is very static, and lacks any element that contributes to making the scenario dynamic. The foliage does not react to the wind, the fauna is totally absent and even the atmospheric effects fail in an attempt to diversify the territories of the island.
We wished we could also have seen animations more fluid and realistic, since all the characters move in a bizarre way and are rather rigid. In a product that pursues realism, these shortcomings are perceived with arrogance, as they tend to break the player’s immersion several times.
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