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The AN-94 is a powerful gun but must be bought from the Item Mall

     The phrase "online shooter" usually evokes several emotions and thoughts. I think I can say that, when first presented with the concept, everyone pictures them as poorly done, graphically disappointing, and lacking in gameplay. Well, that is true about some online shooters, however a few do stand above the rest, and have proven to be playable at first, and later on downright addictive. One game in particular is Combat Arms. Perhaps you have seen an Ad for the game on a site as you were browsing the web. Maybe you've heard friends talk about it. Regardless of how it is you came to know about Combat Arms, unless you actively play it, it is reasonable to assume you may associate some of the negative stereotypes of online shooters with it. However, this review will correct that belief, and I hope, make you consider playing it for a day or two.

     As it is with most games these days, nearly everyone is concerned with how well a game runs, and what they can expect to see graphics wise. Luckily, unless you are the unfortunate user of Windows 7, of any kind at all, Combat Arms will run smoothly on your computer, so long as you purchased the computer, or built it at least within the last 4-5 years. That said, the game currently is having compatibility issues with Windows 7, which has resulted in many, if not most Windows 7 users to not be able to launch the game, until they get lucky. This could be on your first try, or your 30th try. However, if you aren't on Windows 7, you're fine. It goes without saying that online games never have as good of graphics as games like Bad Company 2, C.O.D., or recently Crysis 2. However, that's not to say Combat Arms has bad graphics. The graphics are actually fairly decent for being online, and taking into account this game was published in 2008. Naturally, they will look good in 1080p, but for those of you who aren't able to access that, don't worry. The graphics still stay good and crisp. just be sure your computer can handle the extra load before you go cranking them up. nothing s worse than dying because your computer lagged from Graphics.

     Now, one thing Combat Arms definitely has going for it is it's large number of Guns, Explosives, Gear, and even Mercenaries and Specialists for you to hire. Boasting a very wide array of guns from the common AK-47, to the high tech AN-94, or even going back in time to visit the M14, Combat Arms has made sure to span a huge variety of weapons for your enjoyment. Of course, it doesn't stop with assault rifles, they also features vast quantities of Snipers, Machine Guns, Sub Machine Guns, Pistols, Shotguns, and some very interesting Melee items. If you go for a specialist, you can use powerful weaponry such as the Minigun, Flamethrower, M32 Grenade launcher, and tons of other items exclusive to Specialists.

     While the characters aren't unique, and let's be honest, 2 genders, 4 bodies for each isn't that diverse. What can be diverse is your play style. Feel the need for speed? Grab a Light vest or a recon vest, and some other speed gear and your gun and smash through the enemy lines with amazing speed. Of course, for all you turtle tanks out there, you can grab yourself a Heavy or Tanker Vest and survive the onslought of enemies. you could even buy the Mercenary Hauser, who has the highest bullet resistance in the entire game. So regardless of how you like to play, Combat Arms has you covered.

     Of course, does the staff have you covered? Like just about any game, there are hackers, and some days they are worse than others. However, as a veteran of Combat Arms, i can say that they have certainly improved over the years. Forgive the hyperbole, but back when the game first started, three in every four players was ikely to use, or at least have hacks. Now, I might encounter one, maybe two hackers a day, and I usually never see them again. I wish i could say Nexon had amazing customer support, but that'd be a lie. Sadly, their customer support requires maitenance. If you ever have a problem with their games, you may as well find something else to do while you wait, as tickets can sometimes take up to a week to even be looked at, and even then, there is no guarentee that they will even be able to offer you anything you didn't already know. Still, as an online game, the fact taht they do regular updates to the game, and are very good about repairing the game, does a bit to restore my faith in them.

     Of course, these regular updates generally contain new maps for a change in scenary every once in a while. Across these maps, there a wide variety of game modes to take part in. You can hunt down spies in Spy Hunt, slay zombies in Quarentine, or team up with your friends and clan members to conquer missions in Fireteam. Naturally they have the full complement of standard game modes as well, from Team Deathmatch, to Capture the Flag, to Free for All.

     Still, games and servers don't pay for themselves. While the entire game is availible to you at no cost. An Item Mall supports the game. This item Mall contains more powerful versions of weapons, and also the exclusive Specialists and their gear that goes along with them. While most are wary of using the Item Mall at first, many eventually succumb to it's embrace, and become immersed in the game. While not without its flaws, Combat Arms has turned out to be a very good game over the years, and while not the pinnacle of the graphics industry, the Clan Wars, and events help to keep away the spectre of repetition. Sadly, as this game still has hackers, and has lately become unplayable on an entire OS, I can only give it an 8, and cross my fingers that this rating is not proven wrong by Nexon.

Good luck getting across that bridge while Im around! STOP! Sniper Time!