It’s been almost two years since we’ve seen the release of an expansion pack for ArmA 2. It’s surprising to see a release for ArmA 2 when it’s full steam ahead for development on ArmA 3. The question is, was it worth the wait?
After the release of the British Armed Forces and Private Military Company expansions in late 2010, Army of the Czech Republic marks the third entry in a series of army based expansion packs for the world’s most popular military simulator.
Army of the Czech Republic is a real “does what is says on the tin” type of expansion pack, adding little more than a few military assets such as vehicles, weapons and infantry units. It also adds two new maps to the game, Bystrica and Bukovina. Bukovina is a simple summer themed cut out of the Chernarus map with an airport sitting right in the centre of it. This quite an odd design decision, as 16 square kilometres isn’t exactly decent flying space. When trying the armoury segment in Bukovina, I found that more often than not it would randomly spawn me far outside of the map’s border which consists of some kind of flat grass nether zone where map detail goes to die. However, Bystrica more than makes up for the failings of its cut and paste partner by adding almost 100 square kilometres of new terrain, which allows for a lot of diverse areas to be played around in using similar terrain to the hilly woodlands of Chernarus. There is also a map that is not listed on the download page, which is a cut out of the Takistan map which is roughly a quarter of the size of Takistan itself. This is named “Takistan (cut out)” which is odd considering Bukovina has the same idea behind it.
Army of the Czech Republic adds 26 new vehicles. Unfortunately these vehicles fall prey to the “slightly different variant” and “just a re-skin” pitfalls of previous expansion packs. I’m all for models that give an authentic feel of the Czech Republic army, but when some vehicles are simply currently existing models with a Czech flag plastered on the side it makes me question whether or not my money was spent wisely. That said there are some new and interesting vehicles that are unique to this expansion pack, such as the Dingo, which is a very modern armoured van with mounted grenade launcher/machine gun, as well as a whole host of new jets to take to the skies in. The vehicles are certainly where the most work has gone into with a clear amount of detail to be seen on the interior and exterior of the new models. The expansion also features a Czech Republic Army showcase, which lays out all the units on Bukovina’s air-strip for you to try out at your leisure. Additionally there is a little museum style information stand next to each vehicle detailing everything from its fuel capacity to its cargo space.
The new infantry units still keep the same formula as other armies with the whole Rifleman, Machine gunner, medic or engineer etc. However, it adds a fair amount of new weapons with the Czech’s main rifle being the CZ 805 BREN and all its other variants. As well as this new assault rifle the expansion adds a new sub-machinegun, handgun and LMG which is good for any weapons enthusiast but seems to change little in the way of gunplay within the game itself. The same amount of details that has been put into the vehicles can also be seen in these weapons. When firing you can see individual rounds being chewed up by the weapon through the transparent magazines. Being able to see the muzzle breaks in the players shadow may seem like a useless amount of detail, but in a game as slow paced as ArmA that kind of love and care in the weapons can make all the difference.
The single player portion of the game feels awfully rushed. The individual levels consists of very basic missions taken straight from the mission editor itself, with very few lines of dialogue thrown on top to present the illusion of a story. As for the multiplayer content, there are no pre-set missions that come with this expansion however, given the creativity of some of the ArmA player base, we should expect some very interesting scenarios being built within the highly flexible mission editor.
This expansion pack does what it aims to do quite well and that is add some new authentic military pizazz to show that there is still some love for the game itself and the fairly niche fan base that still exists for ArmA 2. How much this content shines is up to the community and the mission editor, as there is little in the way of mission templates from the get go.
This is a nice addition from Bohemia Interactive so late in ArmA 2’s lifetime for any fan of the game. However, I believe that while it does add a nice amount of vehicles and weapons, after two years waiting, I would have expected it to add a little more to the game than it did.