Armored Fist 2 could have been a great game. The premise is sound: engage in warfare using the M1A2 Abrams tank class, a powerful beast capable of causing destruction over a mile away. Unfortunately, because of an inadequate game engine and poor execution, it falls woefully short of its potential.
If this game was supposed to be a simulation, then the M1A2 Abrams tank isn't all it's touted to be because this game makes a mockery of a fine piece of machinery. While taking part in over fifty missions spanning the world, destroying things becomes a chore. Everyone knows a 60-ton tank can run over and destroy things like campsites and tents, but not in Armored Fist 2. All you can take out is your targets, taking fun from the battle. Also, if this tank class has the power to launch powerful blasts over a mile radius, then why do most missions take place in such small settings? Missions feel cramped and small, never allowing an accurate feel of a tank's capabilities. What's even worse is the game engine is far from feasible. When trying to maneuver your tank, the engine starts chopping and jumping around, destroying the sense of immersion.
There are varieties of camera views you can use such as external and in-tank views, but none are very good. Where one view makes the game more choppy, the other lets you see more of the ugly game world in which Armored Fist 2 takes place. Even gameplay is substandard. Strategies feel limited and inhibited because you have to give orders to allied tanks with only a hand full of commands (e.g. don't shoot, move in), and a fairly dumb computer AI. At times, the tanks will just sit there, killed by weaker enemy tanks. To change a waypoint, you'll have to restart the entire mission and re-map your strategy. In a real war, generals and commanders have to adapt to the situation and set up new waypoints on the fly. Not here! So, if you're looking for a decent tank simulation, Armored Fist 2 isn't the one. With in-game limitations, generally poor graphics and game engine, you never get to have fun driving your tank around. It's far too problematic to be enjoyable.
"Seize enemy bases, engage ground and air targets, call in artillery and air strikes, defend and capture territories." Sounds exciting right? Unfortunately Novalogic's bold description of its new release isn't half as entertaining as they would like to admit. Armored Fist 2 was a big disappointment in most aspects, including graphics, and even if you're an Army nut looking for that great tank game, keep searching, because Armored Fist 2 is definitely not on the recall roster! To start out with, the game was really no fun. As Duke Nukem has so valiantly taught us, crushing, killing and interactivity with physical objects that may or may not have anything to do with the actual mission make the game more fun, more exploratory and more realistic! Novalogic included nothing of the sort, except a few trees, or in the desert, a cactus. I'm supposed to be rolling around in this mammoth of a vehicle and I can't even move over the edge of some rubble that I just destroyed. What's the point? And speaking of destroying, it sucks. No satisfying explosions, not even if you shoot an oil tank. To sum it all up, the game seriously lacks consistency in its realism, which harms the overall value of this so called "simulation," of a military vehicle.
Getting back to more technical aspects, graphics in the game were detailed, but VERY choppy. I didn't understand why Comanche 3 or F-22 Raptor, which were both really good sims could get excellent frame rates with good graphics and yet Armored Fist 2 hacked its way through the game on the lowest detail setting. The game was so choppy, it was almost unplayable on my P133. I had to take it to my friend's house to really get a taste of how the game played. However, if you're running on a monster system, hopefully with a 3D accelerator, you'll find the game to be graphically pleasing. I never doubted Novalogic's capabilities in making excellent landscapes, but unfortunately the system requirements that are REALLY required of this game are outrageously high, so ignore the box in the upper right hand corner of this review.
There's not much to hear inside a tank except the engine and whatever you fire out the gun, so I wasn't really looking at sound effects to judge the game. The sounds were fine, and just to put you "acoustically sensitive" people to rest, there weren't any annoying sounds or music that make the game unbearable.
The gameplay is split into two parts. There is the unrealistic mode and then the realistic mode. Personally I'm a big fan of the highest amount of realism in my simulations, but in this game, I preferred the unrealistic mode. This way, you can control your tank, turret, and what you fire pretty much all at once. Your tank is more maneuverable, thus making it easier for you to get out of the line of fire, fast. Once you change to the realistic setting, Novalogic takes over most of the jobs and instead of being the one-man-band, the computer will handle the driving while you shoot. From what you've heard so far, you're probably thinking, "Well that's great, now someone is doing half of my job, and I just have to look around and shoot everything, how convenient!"
Unfortunately, no such luck. One of the biggest problems with this game is the AI. Your driver is incredibly stupid and drives in a straight line to your next waypoint regardless of a possible ambush, enemy fire or any other situation. And speaking of stupid AI's, your teammates are so incredibly pointless, I'd rather go solo. All they do is stick out, die, and make you more noticeable! Novalogic's lack of intelligence (insert joke here) on your side makes the game disappointing and frustrating.
To sum it all up, don't buy Armored Fist 2 unless you have a really good system, a lot of money to throw away on mediocre games, and you love tanks. This game was disappointing and just be thankful I wasted MY time playing it, instead of you!
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