Anthony "Tony" Magestro--or known on the field of battle as Metzge--is an avid writer, gamer, and entrepreneur. When he's not writing, gaming, or entrepreneuring, he enjoys cooking, trippy movies, and trying to be awesome to varying degrees of success. Feel free to check out his LinkedIn page, especially if you need freelance help with content writing or digital marketing. Or just like to network, that's fine too.
There’s nothing like tactical realism that gets the blood pumping. I’m not talking about sissy FPS games like Call of Duty that let you feel like an ub3r1337 lone wolf, running and gunning and firing your gun from the hip like some jackass, apparently needing three .50 caliber rounds to fell a single enemy in front of you. The irony lies in the fact that despite having such a high-powered weapon, your knife is imbued with the powers of Ares, killing anything it touches instantly. No, I’m talking about a game that forces you to get along with strangers, relying on them to keep you alive and be successful as one cohesive unit. That’s what war’s all about, son: teamwork and trust. And Project Reality has a buttload of both.
The Epitome of Tactical Realism
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of tactical realism, it is essentially how it sounds: people take on the roles of their characters within a first-person shooter environment. It’s like a fan-powered version of roleplaying, but for shooters. Nerdy, perhaps, but it’s pretty fun. Based off of Battlefield 2‘s engine, players join squads of up to eight and assume a plethora of different roles ranging from squad leader, grenadier, breacher, anti-tank/anti-air, medic, spotter, marksman, sniper, and many more. There’s a class for every situation, and a situation that would need every class.
POP QUIZ: Your squad finds itself outside the walls of a town occupied by the enemy, yet the walls themselves are too high to just hop over. What do you do? There’s a number of options.
- Risk going through the gate, despite it being heavily guarded by the enemy.
- Call in artillery, armor, or air support–provided there are available manned assets to accept the call–and soften up the enemy position before moving in. (It’s common practice in a PR game that certain squads are designated to operate certain vehicles, like one squad solely crews an attack helicopter which interacts with other infantry squads in the field).
- If you have a breacher, have him throw a grappling hook over the wall and scale it like a boss. Wouldn’t hurt to scale the wall of a tall building overlooking the enemy position and declare open season on their sorry asses.
- Mix and match. Use your creativity to your advantage. You have a squad of willing participants; utilize that!
Seriously though, if you’re looking for a game whose players have that sort of team-oriented mindset, look no further.
A Friendly Community
With the sheer scope that Project Reality has to offer, from its level of tactical awareness, to the spacious maps, and all the other UI nuances the mod developers have added into Battlefield 2, everyone understands what it’s like to be the new guy.
Provided you’re willing to be instructed, your fellow soldiers are willing to show you the ropes. Having Mumble and microphone support is heavily encouraged so you can actually talk and communicate with your squad because relaying information back and forth between yourselves and the rest of your team will truly determine who wins in 99% of the matches you play (don’t get cocky; that 1% is sheer luck).
Though it’s a little intimidating at first to try and work together with complete strangers, the openness of the community and your willingness to be a part of a team melts away any anxiety you might have. Trust me: I’m generally pretty shy among new people I don’t know, but there’s something about Project Reality that pushes that side of me away, knowing that the people I’m playing with are just as nerdy (if not more so) than I am for being a tactical realism nut.
Giant Maps with a lot of Vehicles
As I mentioned before, most of the maps you’ll find yourself in are vast, encompassing a few square kilometers easily. Back in the day, a lot of games like Battlefield 2 had large, spacious maps until the trend shifted to tight, close quarters combat. Project Reality seeks to revive that, following along the lines that the more space you have to play in, the more options and attack and defense methods you have to choose from.
“But if I die, how can I get back to the action quickly?” Well, hapless reader, fear not. Provided your squad leader and overall team are competent, they would probably have constructed fire bases in strategic locations, allowing for frontal spawn points. These are especially useful during Insurgency maps where the rebel factions who are poorly armed (and poorly dressed) rely on ambushes to get the upper hand on the better equipped modern factions.
APC and transport helicopter crews are also usually available to ferry troops to and from the front lines and sometimes a dedicated engineer corps will set up entrenchments complete with mortar pits, machinegun nests, and AT/AA turrets to create choke points, staunching an enemy advance. Motorcycles, technicals, jeeps, land rovers, and a plethora of other land-based vehicles are yours for the choosing. Just choose wisely.
The Battles are the Stuff of Memories
There are quite a few members of the Start 2 Continue gaming community that play Project Reality on a regular basis (if you’re looking for people to play with, this is your hint to hop on our Teamspeak and play with us). And like any good game, it provides for great memories. Constantly, I’ll overhear conversations of, “remember that one time where we held that ridge/captured that point/completely wasted that squad of confused Russian soldiers?” Sometimes I’ll have flashbacks.
I’ve seen some things, man. And some stuff.
ArmA 3 on a Budget
Now, naturally if you’re looking for state-of-the-art tactical gaming, ArmA 3 is going to be your best bet. Granted, it doesn’t have the tightest community that Project Reality boasts, nor the level of tactical gameplay that it has, but then again, Project Reality also has lesser system requirements given that it’s made from a game that’s almost a decade old.
That isn’t to say PR is ugly. It’s not in the least, especially since its developers have been working tirelessly to keep it looking great. But if you can’t afford to buy a decent rig to run ArmA 3 on decent settings or the bandwidth necessary to support it, Project Reality is a natural second choice for those of us who play for cheapsies.
At any rate, Project Reality is definitely a game that first person shooter fans and tactical realism junkies alike need to play. I’m not saying should want to.. I’m saying need to play. I’ve made it one of my personal goals to recruit as many people as I can to play this game BECAUSE IT IS THAT FRIGGEN AWESOME AND YOU’RE FOOLISH FOR NOT TRYING IT OUT WITH FRIENDS THAT GOT YOUR BACK IN THE MIDST OF HEATED BATTLE.
*pants heavily and goes back to playing PR*