Premature Evaluation: Squad

It’s interesting hearing the barks ascribed to the insurgent soldiers in Squad. They have something of the deep-voiced glowering inflection we’ve come to expect from Western depictions of Islamic terror, but stop short of hysterical appeals to Allah or demands for the blood of the Great Satan. Such depictions of the enemy in popular culture always intrigue me, not because any particular group of people is obliged to be polite to another they consider their enemy, but because mischaracterising or misunderstanding the enemy is one of the greatest mistakes a nation can make - at least according to Sun Tzu.

Each week Marsh Davies is Oscar Mike to the FOB that is Early Access and tries to find at least one thing that isn’t FUBAR. This week he’s been taking on tangos in Squad, a large-scale military shooter which claims to be the spiritual successor to the Battlefield 2 mod Project Reality.

I wonder if generations to come will recognise the universal theme tune of our current misadventures in the middle east. You know the one. You could probably hum it by now: a plangent brass section, now the Pentagon-approved accompaniment to American sacrifice, intercut with women singing “ooo” in a double harmonic scale, the eternal soundtrack of all countries southeast of Turkey. The particular country I’ve been spending time in is Afghanistan, and it’s quite realistic here – but not too realistic: a constraint not just of budget but also intent. Squad seeks to split the difference between Arma and Battlefield: the sober simulation of former, albeit thinner featured, with the greater immediacy and game-modes of the latter.

It’s easy to paint an opponent as purely evil - indeed, for propaganda purposes, it proves entirely convenient to do so - but without understanding why your opponent opposes you, without understanding what they want, without understanding why they think they’re the good guys, you may well be dooming yourself to failure.

It sounds like a winning blend to me. I’ve always found Arma a little over-encumbered with the fussiness of its many possibilities; the effort to account for a huge breadth of interaction undercuts the ease and finesse of any one experience. Meanwhile, recent Battlefield games – partly a victim of their own success – have veered further towards run-n-gun fun without the time or space for the articulation of strategy. Squad, I think, does a decent job of straddling the middle-ground, even though many features, like vehicles and reliably operable deployment interfaces, are yet to be implemented. Weapons behave with supposed realism (I wouldn’t know) but downed colleagues can be relatively easily revived. Strategy emerges from the game’s particular approach to squad-spawning: squad leaders have to build spawn points to ensure that your frontline is fed with a regular supply of new bodies. These dissolve when contested, preventing teams from simply dropping a gunman-spewing spawn-point on the enemy’s doorstep and meaning that the spawn points need to be placed with some considerable thought: close enough to the fray that they give your forces forward momentum, but not so close that any loss of ground will wipe them from the field. Of course, different squads will have to coordinate their strategies to good effect, pincering enemies or driving at a single point en masse.

Discounting the (not terribly instructive) training mode, there are three types of match. Advance and Secure, in which the two teams are engaged in a tug of war over a linear sequence of capture points, will be familiar to Battlefield players. It, like its analogue in Battlefield, runs on a ticket system, whereby the teams exhaust a finite number of respawns. Then there’s Insurgency, which sets one team on the hunt to destroy five weapons caches, the locations of which are only revealed as you kill enemies. The other team wins by either protecting these caches for the time limit or depleting the tickets of the opposing team. The final mode sees the US forces try to capture a number of locations in any order – which are then permanently in their possession. The defenders must dig in and try to outlast the assault.

The Former US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara who presided over the Vietnam war blamed many of the US’s failings there on a simple lack of knowledge about the culture: “I had never visited Indochina, nor did I understand or appreciate its history, language, culture, or values. When it came to Vietnam, we found ourselves setting policy for a region that was terra incognita.” And an ongoing ignorance has dogged Western military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan since, at the level of strategy down to the personal interactions between heavily armed men and civilians who have a very different understanding of what frantic arm movements, yelling and physical proximity indicate. Part of the problem is that the regular recycling of occupying soldiers hampers the army in building an institutional knowledge of the area.

This last is the mode I first try, foolishly joining a squad which seems not to have set up any forward spawn point, so a dozen of us end up plopping onto a small hillside a good trek away from our objectives. I wait for someone to show leadership. Someone shows us a grenade instead, detonating it right among all the newly spawned recruits.

“Oh what a dickhead,” says someone wearily, before discussing how to kickban the perpetrator. Luckily I was just far enough away from the blast that I am only wounded. My view throbs red, but I’m otherwise unimpaired. A medic called Graf_Eisen comes over and stands over me, entirely still, hands gnarled as though holding an invisible gun. A little medicine symbol turns from red to green at the bottom of the screen and I’m good to go. Arma this ain’t, for which I am somewhat thankful given the presence of teamkilling jebends.

“Let’s kill us some rag-heads,” says someone in a mock-Texan drawl, reminding me why I hate playing games with open comms. I worry that this may become a recurring theme. We trundle through some scrubland and then down a road which winds into a valley, before veering off the tarmac and over a hillock. Somebody shoots me in the back, but doesn’t kill me, and Graf_Eisen patiently heals me again. I worry that this may become a recurring theme. One of my colleagues turns back to unleash a volley of bullets back up the hill, but I can’t see anyone there.

It’s strange that this learning is so hard won by occupiers in today’s world. The Romans discovered the same truths in ancient Judea. One of the reasons the Romans had been so successful in conquering and holding territories was their ability to tolerate and absorb other cultures, particularly in reference to local religions. It was one major advantage of having a pantheon of gods. You could point to the local god, associated with, say, fertility, or crop yields, or the sun, and say, yeah, that’s actually the same as one of ours. You see, we worship the same god, you and I. Let’s all get along.

While being healed, most of the folks I was with have run off, leaving me and a handful of stragglers, none of whom are audibly ironic racists. I stick with Graf_Eisen and another soldier with the curiously apostrophised name Sniff’s, which makes him sound a bit like one of those birds named after 19th century naturalists, like a Wilson’s Warbler. Together, we crest a hill and move cautiously down into a village. Gunfire can now be heard, but it’s hard to tell exactly where it’s coming from – though the cracks are loud, they don’t have the distortion I heard when bullets were coming directly at me. I assume we are temporarily safe. We pass a guy with some sort of heavier belt-fed gun, firing long bursts at nothing I can easily identify, but as we come further down the mountainside, I can see tracer fire zipping back and forth across the township below, red and green. Tiny pixel shivers suggest movement on the hillside above the town.

We press down further. It takes some time. Sniff’s, Graf_Eisen and myself move through a village, cautiously poking through doorways. I quietly wonder why we are doing this: the fight is still very audibly somewhere else – but I’m almost immediately chastened when Sniff’s trots down some steps and is filled full of bullets. Judging by the puffs of dirt that exploded from the wall beside him, the bullets came from broadly the same direction of our spawn. Graf_Eisen and I huddle in the shelter of an alleyway, momentarily uncertain of how to avoid exposing ourselves to fire. I double back a bit to see if I can spot the shooter, but there’s no one visible, so I return, finding Graf_Eisen patting Sniff’s back to health – it seems that as long as you have a doctor nearby, even death is impermanent.

Later, as the Roman pantheon fell behind worship of a god-emperor, they continued the practice, permitting local religions to continue so long as they prayed for or paid homage to the emperor as well, by whatever customs were appropriate. (Later still, the Mongol Khans did the same, incidentally, one of the very few ways in which they might be considered magnanimous conquerors.) But this pattern of blending together local gods and religions with their own, which we call syncretism, wasn’t always so successful for the Roman’s. As my friend the author and game designer Naomi Alderman writes in her excellent novel The Liar’s Gospel, “This approach, so helpful in tying conquered peoples into Rome in all other places, was surprisingly ineffective in Judea. It was because of the particular laws of the people: not to make an image of their one God, not to accept that His powers could be divided into separate entities, not to create any statue even of their most revered prophets or to allow any such emblem to be placed within their Temple. No man, say the Jews, can become a god and that is an end of it.”

We proceed, with more caution now, scuttling through a field of tall flowers and over a ditch. We are near to the fighting and some tracer fire scuds alarmingly close – but I don’t think we’ve been spotted. We rise out of an irrigation ditch at the edge of a field and up the embankment towards a low wall. Sniff’s fires over the top and bullets are returned. I peak over and instantly take a bullet to the face. Graf_Eisen revives me, and by the time he does, Sniff’s is leaping gallantly over the wall with another soldier. I lean over to provide cover fire, but I can’t really see anything – the view of the buildings ahead is largely obscured by a row of trees – so I bundle over the wall as well, crouching and crawling towards them through the undergrowth. The gunfire is thunderous now. I find Sniff’s body a few moments later.

I attempt to revive Sniff’s with a field dressing, but it appears that this is either insufficient or he has elected to respawn rather than wait for a medic. Graf_Eisen has dematerialised, it seems, and I am alone. Happily, no one seems to be firing at me, and I’m able to crawl right up to the buildings. The shrubs give way to a road and then a makeshift barricade. I see glimpses of men with headscarves. One pops up in a window of a nearby house and, after I get over my momentary surprise at not instantly dying, as is my normal experience in these sorts of games, I shoot him in the brain. Smoke seems to be billowing up from somewhere now and I use this cover to dash across the road to be in the shadow of the building. As it clears, a chap with a neckerchief rounds the corner, and I kill him quite deftly, probably setting some personal record for survival in hardcore military shooters. There’s a lot of activity just the other side of the barricade, but I don’t appear to have any allies near me, so I decide to throw my life away in a pointless display of bravado, taking out one man before his friends cut me down.

The idea of placing statues of the emperor - a man become god - in their temples just didn’t wash. A compromise was arranged, whereby no statues need be installed, but a daily sacrifice to the health of Augustus was required. Nonetheless a gulf between the two cultures existed and it was only going to widen. Perhaps if they’d had a more sensitive man in charge, the Romans might well have held onto Judea as a subordinate state in relative peace. But they did not. They had Pontius Pilate. Fiction has often characterised him as an inadequate, a coward, or simply a victim of circumstance, but history holds him up as a right old shitlord. The kind of shitlord who crucifies two thousand people in a day. The kind that gets recalled back to Rome on charges of brutality. And Rome set a pretty high bar for brutality. A lightness of touch he did not have.

A bug prevents me from respawning, so I try a server hosting an Advance and Secure game. This isn’t as populated as the previous game and there are fewer squads to pick from – none of which seem to have put down spawn points. I join one and spend a good deal of time traipsing after them as they move further and further away from the initial spawn. The squad leader, a guy with a Midlands accent makes it clear we have to be active on microphone or get kicked. Unfortunately, mine isn’t working in the game for reasons I can’t divine. It’s working in every other application – I’ve just been recording some VO for a video and chatting over Discord – and it’s set as the default microphone. Nonetheless Mr Midlands goes off on a spectacularly supercilious and aggressive rant about how morons like me are ruining the game by being so clueless. I’m used to people blowing their top in games, but this guy’s just showboating to a captive audience – and somehow this is way more annoying than the usual stream of invective. Apparently I should stop “twatting about in the North like a cunt” and stick with the Squad. “The clue’s in the title,” this grown adult male splutters sarcastically at someone who can’t even audibly retort, perhaps forgetting that the squad did not wait for me to join them before moving onwards, multiple times, and that the city is unsurprisingly unfamiliar to me, forcing me to frequently stop and check my map for our relative positions. I am exceedingly polite as I explain the situation to him over text, but this is nonetheless one of the biggest pillocks I have encountered in any game. The kind of guy whose claim upon even this iota of ersatz power is so profoundly desperate that you would truly pity him if you didn’t have to listen to his awful barking as well – and for that reason alone I omit his name here.

I don’t think our squad is bonding.

It’s quite possible that Pontius Pilate personally set the pattern of things to come for millennia. His brutality only inflamed the conflict between occupier and occupied, igniting the guerrilla warfare that ultimately made the territory ungovernable, prompted Rome to raze Jerusalem, exiling and scapegoating the Jewish people, setting into inexorable motion the anthropological ructions and prejudices that would lead to the horrors of the 20th century, and the untold bloodshed on every side in the process of resettlement. Pontius Pilate stands astride that historical fault-line: tap-tap-tapping at a tiny hairline crack to send the entire epochal shelf of subsequent causality crashing in one direction or another. I wonder who our descendants will be saying that of two thousand years from now.

Anyway, in an effort not to waste more of the Midlands Militia’s valuable time as he plays internet games at 11.30am on a Friday, I quit out, hoping a reboot might get the game to pick up my mic. But then, somehow I don’t feel inspired to rejoin again.

I quite like Squad though, even if I didn’t like that squad. People I meet in subsequent matches are much more polite and helpful, and I find the game sufficiently thoughtful and severe that I am inspired to care a lot more about any given life. Even if it remained infantry-only, I could see this finding a happy home for itself between Arma and Battlefield, and forthcoming features sound like they will multiply the vectors by which you can assault the enemy; forward spawn points will need to be maintained by supply lines, which themselves can be destroyed, for example. Vehicles, too, will no doubt change the dynamics of battle, but the real test will be how its community suffers new players and neerdowells both. I suspect some of Squad’s players could do more to win hearts and minds.

Squad is available from Steam for the high-ish price of £30. I played the version with the content Build ID 899017.

56 Comments

  1. TheAngriestHobo says:

    It took me a good thirty seconds to realize that the gun barrel and scope in the header image isn’t a one-armed robot squadmember running down the hill. Too much time at the office does terrible things to a man.

  2. SneakyJew says:

    I played this game in the so called (Closed Beta) before it was released to Steam too and I have to say that I really liked it then and has only gotten better. I also had tried BF2 Project Reality but I have to say it was a lot more complex and not as fun for some reason, Not sure if it was because of the player restrictions on vehicles or not. All in all, you dont have to worry about whether your friends buy this game or not. I sometimes even have more fun with randoms because of the more serious attitude people bring to this game with actual teamwork being important. I can’t wait to see how vehicles change this game, as I’ve noticed you’re only playing on like 1/6th of the actual map because of how limited you are on foot.

    I”d give it a solid 7/10 right now taking into account the content, AMD CPU system drawbacks (Unreal Engine Problems), FPS drops, and the high price point.

  3. magogjack says:

    Tip top alt-text as always.

    • pack.wolf says:

      Agreed. Recently got interested in the Punic wars and hence, once again, Roman history. It’s an interesting perspective.

      • magogjack says:

        Have you been listening to Hardcore History? Dan has a really good release specifically about the Punic Wars.

        • JB says:

          Punic Nightmare I think? Thanks for the reminder to pick it up, a little Christmas present to myself, I think.

        • rabbit says:

          agree that hardcore history is, at its best at least, well worth a listen. sadly i got put off when i listened to the apologist shite that was apache tears but a lot of it’s really brilliant. might re-listen ta the khans series now actually.

        • Pliqu3011 says:

          I had heard about this series before and listened to one of the episodes a while ago, but for some reason I just can’t stand the guy’s voice.
          Just like Mark Cousins’ A Story of Film (… well, maybe not that bad) I find the subject matter super interesting and really want to like it, but at least every few minutes I get pulled out of the immersion by weird intonations, overacting, or annoying/repetitive figures of speech. It’s terrible because I know I’m missing out on a lot of good stuff but, I can’t help it.

          There should be more (amateur) historian podcasters who also happen to be voice actors. That’d be nice.

    • Premium User Badge

      Phasma Felis says:

      I realize nobody cares, but I’d really like it if I could read those historical asides on my phone.

      More generally, I’d like it if people would stop making little bits of their content harder to read for no obvious reason, but I realize I lost that battle when xkcd got popular.

      • dawolf says:

        xkcd shows images alt-attribute text below the image on mobile (touch?) devices.

    • varangian says:

      The alt-text referring to McNamara and the way the US never really understood their opponents in Vietnam (and most everywhere else judging by recent events) prompts me to recommend a few things for holiday viewing/reading. The film ‘Fog of War’ might sound a bit dull, a talking head McNamara on the lessons he learned about conflict, particularly the misapprehensions of both sides, from WW2 through Vietnam but it’s a fascinating story. Specifically on Vietnam if you can find ‘Fire in the Lake’ by Frances Fitzgerald (I got the local library to dig it out of the county archive stack) that’s well worth a read. Concerned with how the Americans and Vietnamese (allied and enemy) related to each other it’s a deep dive into things the more military fixated histories tend to skip over in a few paragraphs.

      And anyone interested as to why things have not gone swimmingly for the British Army in Iraq and Afghanistan should have a look at Frank Ledwidge’s ‘Losing Small Wars’, a good reality check for all the more gung-ho accounts.

  4. Spluff says:

    I’m a big fan of Project Reality and am eagerly looking forward to Squad. It sounds like you either got stuck in some terrible teams or the early access nature of the game ATM has flooded it with people who don’t know what to do though.

    It’s really effective at getting people to work as a team, because teams that don’t work together simply don’t have a chance. This leads to some great immersion without the awful clunkiness of simulators like ARMA. However, this reliance on teamplay can cause some people in PR, and apparently this game as well, to be real assholes to new players who don’t know the ropes.

    I’m definitely looking forward to this one though, and hoping Aus gets a solid playerbase.

  5. Premium User Badge

    sabby787 says:

    “…in an effort not to waste more of the Midlands Militia’s valuable time as he plays internet games at 11.30am on a Friday…”

    aaaand I just sprayed tea all over my monitor

    • DellyWelly says:

      “The curiously apostrophised name Sniff’s”, did it for me.

  6. magogjack says:

    It is depressing how few people understand why ISIS exists and why it is directly the fault of the Americans and Russians.

    • Pulstar says:

      Add Saudis to the mix.

      Fuck people.

      • magogjack says:

        Them too ^^

      • bovine3dom says:

        Don’t forget the Pakistanis, the Iranians, the Afghans, the Iraqis; the Wahhabis, the Sunnis, the Shiites, the Sufis, the Uighurs…

        It’s hard to find anybody in Central Asia who isn’t partially to blame.

        Anybody interested in the region should read Ahmed Rashid’s Taliban.

    • wengart says:

      It isn’t directly the fault of Americans and Russians. You have an area that has essentially been the play thing of the majors powers since the 19th century. There are a long string of events that led to the rise of Isis, and a number of possible choices that might have made them non-existent, weaker, or more powerful.

      • magogjack says:

        Removing Saddam was a direct cause. Selling weapons in the region was a direct cause. Drone strikes are a direct cause.

        • wengart says:

          Are we talking about Isis or insurgent forces in general?

          Isis as a sort of psuedo-state and relatively (using that loosely) organized force is to an extent separate from those. Removing Saddam was a cause, but so was the reduction of Coalition troops from Iraq, as was the Arab Spring and the collapse of the Syrian State in particular.

          • magogjack says:

            I think that having those coalition troops there in the first place was more of a cause then them leaving. People tend not to like you if you kill their neighbors and family members for a few decades and assassinate their leaders. It makes them want to join groups that fight against you.

            How many people civilians have died as a direct result of the Russians and Americans. You can say that they aren’t the only ones responsible but they are the invaders, and in the case of Saddam didn’t even have the slightest justification.

          • magogjack says:

            The only honest thing to do with the middle east is to get the hell out before we make things even worse. Its like a scab that you try to heal by rubbing shite on it.

          • wengart says:

            Yes, foreign intervention has a part to play, but foreign intervention didn’t lead directly to what is currently happening. You have the intervention, you have the weak State system in the region that was being propped up by regimes of varying harshness (remember Saddam gassed his own people), historical antipathy between religious and ethnic groups, the existence of Israel and the failure of Arab Nationalism in the 60s/70s, the ongoing proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the destruction of the Baathist state system by America during the invasion and immediate occupation, the pullout of Coalition troops from Iraq, the Arab Spring which toppled some of the few remaining power structures in the region, the original partitioning of the region, etc etc…

            Largely what I’m trying to get at is saying “X caused this” is a bit of a cop out. The region is complex and the solutions, if there are any, will also be complex. Part of the West’s problem, imo, is not understanding the region as a complex place. Well at least this was true in the early 2000s. Obama seems to have keyed into it a lot better than Bush ever did.

        • Hobbes says:

          Not being funny but you could cite direct causes going back all the way into the 70’s if you were feeling really picky. The problem with the middle east is that it’s a constantly evolving brew of geopolitical influences and state and non-state actors who for varying reasons (both selfish and extra-political) act in both rational and irrational ways.

          Even Israel, who is the one relative constant in the region isn’t always reliable in how it acts depending on who’s in charge at the time and Israel is probably the one state we absolutely should support at all costs because it’s the one state that -isn’t- prone to fold like a house of cards or decide to suddenly realign itself because it didn’t like which way the wind was blowing.

          No, I’m not exactly pro-Israel for reference, I just am of the belief that when it comes to the middle east, you need to be careful in your dealings, because frankly allegiances out there can change in the timespan of days, which for governments, particularly ones bound by democracies such as Western ones, is mere blinks of an eye. The notion that you can have reliable dealings with say, Iran or the Syrian government has been fictional for an extended period of time, and whilst it’s all very well making grand overtures such as the whole nuclear deal in exchange for the lifting of sanctions, at the same moment you’ve got Russia, ostensibly the actor most pre-disposed to play fly in the soup with the West already throwing spanners in Syria, and it wouldn’t entirely surprise me if they did the same in Iran.

          /Shrug

        • SuicideKing says:

          In the case of ISIS it was more instigating regime change against Ahmadinejad that let them rise.

        • pennywyz says:

          I think you guys need to read a little bit about just how many people Saddam Hussein killed. Conservative estimates in the hundreds of thousands, probably much more than that either directly or indirectly. But go ahead and keep pretending that leaving Saddam in power would have worked out fine and dandy.

    • Greg Wild says:

      Eh. As critical as we should be of the US/Russia, it’s a much deeper and more complex problem than just being a direct result of their foreign policy.

    • pennywyz says:

      Blame America, blame the west, blame Russia…How about some fucking blame for ISIS themselves? They are literally sawing the heads off of completely innocent and uninvolved civilians. They are suicide bombing soccer matches. They are throwing bodies off of 5 story roofs and cheering as they hit the stairs below. They are sick in the head and it’s not because of foreign intervention.

      • Jediben says:

        You can throw as much aid, money or education at a place but while you still have a lag of 1500 years of cultural reform (the last 200 of Europe’s certainly wouldn’t go amiss) you’re just giving apes machine guns.

  7. Pulstar says:

    Arma 3 will tide me over till this gets fleshed out with vehicles and whatnot.

  8. TheRaptorFence says:

    Squad and Project Reality both suffer from the extreme military enthusiasts whose personalities are reminiscent of jocks reliving their glory days from high school. Other military sims (like Red Orchestra) don’t suffer from this, so I wonder what the reason is for this group gravitating towards PR and Squad.

    • wengart says:

      In RO2 you are pretty removed from any individuals actions. You are essentially part of a huge organism and the most that anyone can do to communicate is broadly tell the team what is going on, or try to give orders to particular masses of people or tanks.

      PR, Squad, and Arma all have a very tight connection to individuals at the fireteam level. The communication between 2-3 people can have a very drastic impact on how things play out. This leads to a sort of intimacy that can cause experiences to be a little iffy.

      These sorts of people do exist in RO2, just that they can’t realistically be as bossy as they want to be. The game just doesn;t allow for it.

      Personally ‘ve played Squad for about 8 hours and have yet to run into anyone who is very “jock-like”. Nearly all of my competent squads have essentially been leaning towards the mil sim side of things, but they are also helpful and friendly.

    • Pulstar says:

      This is the reason I stopped playing Arma multiplayer. These jarheads take their role-playing a bit too seriously, and don’t me started on nasal Teamspeak requirement.

      I would play more, but vanilla servers are sucky too; vanilla content just doesn’t feel good to me.

      • SuicideKing says:

        For Arma, the best thing to do is to join an organised, yet open, community and play, like Folk ARPS or Team 1 Tactical.

        More on FA here:
        link to rockpapershotgun.com

      • Reapy says:

        I keep wanting to get arma 3 but in the end I just fire up some shacktac videos and watch that to get the experience I would probably want to be having in arma 3 but won’t be. Really saves on the cash ;)

    • Goodtwist says:

      That exactly describes my experience with Project Reality. The toxic community eventually put me off.

  9. itsbenderingtime says:

    Be careful with your sources with the Pontius Pilate stuff. Most of the most awful stuff written about him leads back to Flavius Josephus, who was first a Jewish revolutionary (a member of the original Zealots), but later surrendered to the Romans and ended up pretty chummy with them (hence the Romanized name). So when he wrote about Pilate, he had an agenda: he needed to show that his earlier resistance against the Romans was justified, so he needed to show that the Roman authorities in Judea were the worst of the worst, but not in a way that reflected badly on the Roman Empire as a whole. He pretty much accused Pilate of anything and everything so as to strengthen his “No really, we were fighting a despot!” defense. Not really a trustworthy guy.

    Here’s a pretty neat and well-researched article talking about Pilate and his reputation: link to livius.org

    • magogjack says:

      To be fair this is true of pretty much any ancient text i.e. that they are untrustworthy at best.

      • Premium User Badge

        teije says:

        Some sort of bias, whether stated or not, is also true pretty much for any modern text or interpretation.

        • magogjack says:

          The difference being that we have lots of information to filter bias with. It becomes much more difficult when there are only a few sources available.

          Look at the way that WW 2 is misrepresented in modern media and we are not even one hundred years away from the event then think about what it will look like in two thousand even with lots of sources saved.

      • itsbenderingtime says:

        Also to make things fun in this case, Judea was a backwater province of the Roman Empire that didn’t become historically interesting until after the fact (when Christianity took off), so nobody was really writing down what was going on at the time it happened. Most of the history of that era is orally-derived, which means the first guys to write it down would be able to strongly influence what was accepted as truth. And when those guys had an ax to grind…

  10. gayreth says:

    Gosh, I wasn’t expecting something this erudite going into a review like this. Top form.

  11. skyturnedred says:

    Sounds like this would be the best time for me to play it, since I don’t like vehicles in my shooters. I only play the infantry maps in Battlefield games too.

  12. A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

    Marsh, Marty, whatever your name is: You make history interesting, which is one of the highest terms of praise I can give a man, well done.

  13. Dev says:

    What’s depressing is most people’s understanding of the region’s ills only extend to the last 15 years.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      To be fair, there’s been so many ills in the last fifteen years alone, you can forgive people for just throwing up their hands and giving up.
      Every time I’ve tried to understand it myself I’ve just come to the conclusion that humans are irredeemable shitheads all round.

  14. JustAchaP says:

    I’ve been really enjoying the game. This is what I wanted ARMA 3 to be but since you have to be in a clan and install heaps of mods, after a while I got bored of it. Squad is what I wanted and I am happy :)

  15. mukuste says:

    I’m having an absolutely unanticipated amount of fun with Insurgency and RO2 recently, so am also cautiously interested in this. It sounds much larger-scale than even RO2 though, which might make for an interesting change.

  16. bamjo says:

    Some of my best gaming memories come from Project Reality. I still remember intense rounds I played almost 10 years ago. Shitty teammates are a curse of any online fps, and PR/Squad forces you to work together with said possibly shitty teammates.

    Finding a good server is absolutely crucial to enjoyment in these games. Squad is still so new, and the PR community so stagnant, that those servers don’t really exist right now. I remember the Tactical Gamer server being the place to be back in PR’s peak days. I actually paid for a reserved slot there (something I haven’t done before or since in any game) because playing anywhere else seemed like being thrown in with gibbering cavemen by comparison. A good server that polices its community, including its admins, is really the only way to consistently enjoy this game.

    At its best PR/Squad is really second to none.

  17. junglist 69 says:

    Maybe I am in the just too PC crowd, but does anyone seem to have a problem with the West vs Middle East thing again and again, couldn’t they makeup an enemy of unhappy militia or something?
    Dice take note, you should be implementing something like this in your many mindless pew pew modes in your multiplayer!!!