by Zee Salahuddin
reviewed on PC
ArmA II: Army of the Czech Republic is DLC that features the troops, weapons, vehicles and tactics deployed by, you guessed it, the Czech Army. There are three new maps, a variety of new weapons and vehicles, a 15-mission single-player campaign, and a multiplayer component. The long and short of it is that this DLC features more of the same, rehashing old content, throwing in shiny new things for good measure, and packaging it in a neat little bow. Bear in mind though, that you will need both ArmA II, as well as the expansion Operation Arrowhead (jointly known as Combined Operations) in order to be able to run Army of the Czech Republic.
The Weapons and Vehicles
There are a few new weapons, and they come in several variations. Examples include the CZ 805 BREN and my personal favorite, the CZ Scorpion EVO III. The variety in weapons was not impressive, but there certainly seemed to be a significant number of additions to your vehicular options.
There are standard troop transport trucks, and one variation is specifically for carrying and distributing ammunition during combat operations. My favorite is the Dingo infantry mobile vehicle, which looks like an Ford SUV and a Humvee fell in love and had a giant, armored baby. The Dingo carries troops into battle and boasts two versions, one with a mounted machine gun on top, and the other with a grenade launcher. The Pandur II APC is also quite impressive, and supports a heavy caliber machine gun on top for ripping your enemies apart. There is a standard new tank, as well as an MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) artillery truck.
There is a cool new aircraft, the Czech-built L-159 ALCA (Advanced Light Combat Aircraft), which comes in a few flavors. Other air vehicles include a standard Hind gunship, and a troop transport chopper that comes in both unarmed and armed varieties.
Almost every vehicle model, weapon model, and character model has both jungle and desert camouflage versions in the DLC. Regarding character models, I did not see much distinction between the models for the special forces and regular army. A wide variety of weapons and vehicles (and their variations) from the original game also make a return.
The Maps and the Campaign
There are three new maps in the DLC, though you should take that with a grain of salt. None of these maps are original creations. The single-player campaign is entirely set in fictional Bystrica. You are given fairly standard objectives, such as hunting war criminals and CQB (close quarters battle) situations in urban centers. Frankly, the single-player portion of the campaign was fairly forgettable and straightforward.
At first glance, Bystrica looks like a new map, with a river winding down east to west across the map. Given the countless sleepless nights I have spent in the world of Chenarus while playing DayZ, I soon realized it is a rehash of the Chenarus map, specifically the southern coast. The coast has been converted into a river. The twin coastal cities of Chernogorsk and Elektrogorsk are present, and look almost exactly the same. North of the shore, a few clicks of terrain have been used, including towns and important landmarks, before the map ends.
Bukovina is the airfield northwest from Chenarus, with some minor changes. The overall area cannot be more than 10 square kilometers at best. Finally, there is a Takistan cutout as well. This is a larger map, much more so than the airfield, but again, it is about a quarter of the southwest part of the original Takistan map, and naturally features desert terrain. The aging technology does not help matters much, and what may have once been gorgeous terrain is beginning to look dated. That said, the whole experience is now optimized, runs smoother and the smaller maps results in higher framerates.
Multiplayer and Final Words
Multiplayer is the usual ArmA 2 fare, and suspiciously devoid of zombies. The rehashed version of Chenarus is familiar. Because of DayZ, I can't help but feel a sense of trepidation whenever approaching a town, as if a zombie apocalypse is imminent.
Aside from some new skins, weapons and vehicles, everything in this DLC is rehashed from existing game assets and offers little new of value. For diehard ArmA 2 fans, this is a must-buy, given the three new versions of playable territory, new weapons, and the variety in new vehicles. For everyone else, your money is best spent somewhere else. My biggest concern is the timing of this DLC, which has been released shortly prior to the alleged release window of ArmA III. My guess would be that ArmA III is getting delayed.
Optimized, plays well, even on older PCS, Dingo is awesome.
Forgettable campaign, tons of rehashed content, more of the same.