The game's campaign can be played online or via LAN in a four player co-op mode. Tactical games are built for co-op, and ArmA 2 is no exception to the rule. Each player can gear up to a specific role and pick their own loadout of weapons, and while it's wise to stay in formation players are free to roam anywhere. Hopefully you have a set of pals lined up to play though, because if you go looking for people to play online you won't find them. That's not because people aren't playing co-op - oh they are - they are playing custom missions and mods with 50+ players. A really slick feature of the game allows you to create custom missions on the fly in the editor and test drive them in co-op play. Downloading these take only a few seconds and it's off you go. There were a few large scale battles I was in with planes, tanks, and helicopters that rivaled Hollywood style war movies; but for the most part things are pretty low key with small skirmishes here and there.
There were plenty of cool moments to be had, and it's sort of surreal to sit in the belly of a transport plane with 10 other players -chatting in real time about the upcoming battle or drop point. For the serious player there's definitely some immersion to be had, and players online frequently role-played their character to an almost annoying seriousness. I was impressed with how smooth it ran online with very little lag as well, still it felt that there was a lot of downtime between the action, and when the action actually happened it was a bit too disorganized.
Perhaps I'm getting impatient in my old gaming age, or perhaps I only remember the highs of Operation Flashpoint - but I was a bit disappointed in ArmA 2. There's almost too much content and depth here. I never quite knew what to do next. 60 player co-op sounds good in theory, but in execution it's just beautiful chaos. If military sims are your thing and you have a lot of patience ArmA 2 is right up your alley.
The Co-Op Experience: Up to four players can play the single player campaign in co-op online or via LAN.Users can also custom create scenarios, download maps, and generate missions on the fly for up to 60 players in co-op.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.