Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Combat Arms

Go To

A free-to-play online First-Person Shooter developed by the South Korean studio Doobic Studios and published by Nexon. Players in the game are split into team Alpha and team Bravo, and duke it out on a variety of maps. As of Reloaded, the game has gotten more story and now a faction war rages between the World Federation Organization (formerly known as the United Alliance Forces) and the Third World Union, while WarCorp fights from the sidelines and takes on the real enemy.

The game has a rental system when it comes to its weapons and gear. Everyone in the game used to get an M16, a M9, a knife, and a grenade as default gear, but as the game is played, they earn GP or gear points, which allows them to rent new guns and accessories for an amount of time. When Reloaded came in, however, all weapons became availble, and eventually, they only became buyable through packs.

The classic version of the game also features the Black Market, an in-game shop in which the currency is NX points, which are purchased with real money. This shop includes new character models, guns with cooler looks, double xp abilities, and the ability to change the default weapons permanently to better weapons.

Like many recent first-person shooters, Combat Arms consists of game modes such as Team Deathmatch (known as Elmination) and One Man Army (Free-For-All). The game also has a ranking system based on military ranks. The higher the player is ranked, the more gear they can rent in the shop (although the black market has no rank restriction.)

This game provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: There's little by way of ingame explanation, and it seems as though a great deal was lost along with the original Fireteam mode. Given the blurbs for each level and buyable merc do little to connect to each other, you could be forgiven for thinking there was no plot at all.
    • It's there on the game page, but you're probably not looking for it.
  • Allegedly Free Game: Downplayed; Not as bad as other examples, really. If you're good enough, you can still kick ass with your basic gear.
  • Ambiguously Evil:
    • The WFO and their military force, the JSF, share a goal to end worldwide conflict, which is noble on the surface, but it's hinted that to do so they intend to essentially form a single government to control the entire world at the expense of poorer countries. Their rampant corruption inside their and extremist methods have also made them come off as villainous to a point where many of their best members fled to WarCorp.
    • It's hard to tell whether or not the TWU and their military force, Creed, has a malevolent endgame. Though, the fact that they formed because they oppose the WFO's goal of ending all worldwide conflict and commit terrorism and theft against the WFO does give off a bad aura. However, when you look at the WFO, it might not exactly be without reason.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Somewhat subverted, as the new clothing accessories you unlock as you rank up can be give your player benefits such as protection from headshots, but a good deal of it just plays straight the Rule of Cool.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: You can hide in one when people are turning into zombies.
    • Watch out for the poison gas.
      • You can hide in the same vent when people aren't turning into zombies now, but the poison gas is still there. Instead of zombies, you will find your opponent's spawn area if you exit the vent.
  • Announcer Chatter: Every time you respawn, you are treated with a "round start" from an announcer, which makes little sense as you are just respawning, not starting the whole game over again. Also, the end of the game is announced with a "X teams wins!"
  • Anti-Villain:
    • The WFO is a Type III; they seek to end all world-wide conflict by establishing a new world order, and they have many heroic specialists in their ranks with the exception of Morris, but unfortunately their higher-ups tend to come off as insidious and their corrupt ways and willingness to cross moral boundaries make it impossible to call them good,
    • Ingram is a specialist that's a Type II, given that he's no choice to obey NEMEXIS due to being taken by them and being turned into a cyborg after being fatally wounded in battle. The fact that he can fight them in Fireteam is indicative of the fact that canonically, he could easily turn on them and prove their experiments a success in the process.
  • Awaken the Sleeping Giant: NEMEXIS has a bad habit of doing this with WarCorp of all the factions, and it ends up being their undoing in the "Evil Never Dies" event.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: You can buy an Airstrike Designator, but if the enemy doesn't know to get away from the glowing orange beacon in the quarter-minute it takes for the strike to arrive, you probably could have run up and shot them without much trouble.
    • Much more practical in Cabin Fever, where the zombies are obviously too stupid to get out of the flare warning before they get pumped full of napalm.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: There are atleast 4 major factions in the Combat Arms Universe that make this up.
    • The JSF is a taskforce organized by the World Federation Organization, who's goal is to end worldwide conflict; not much else is said about them, but given that they want to form a "new world order" to achieve world peace and war crimes have been attempted by some of their personnel, it tends to raise questions. Despite this, no other faction in the game has world peace as their main objective, although corruption that's hidden within their ranks tends to undermine their goals and public relations.
    • Creed, the military branch of the Third World Union who formed in retaliation to the WFO, seeks to stop them for whatever reason and is attempting to steal technology while committing acts of terrorism. In some respects, they are the secondary antagonists of the series.
    • WarCorp is a PMC made up of amoral mercenaries, many who were once apart of JSF, whom will side with either of the two factions depending on the mercenary. Despite being a morally ambiguous faction, they're the ones who launch most of the operations in fireteam mode and are sofar the most capable of the 4 factions. Unlike the JSF, they've never actually committed any war crimes making them the closest thing this series has to good guys.
    • The only outright evil faction in the game is NEMEXIS, who're responsible for creating viruses and engaging in corrupt activities, as well as illegal weapon development and human experimentation.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Scoring a headshot will result in the player being rewarded with a quick picture of a skull with a bullet hole, with the words Headshot! written below them.
  • Breaking Old Trends: In 2021, Zharkov became the first male character to have a summer swimsuit costume in a game where the female characters are predominantly the ones in swimsuits.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Some of the guns that you can buy are either WWI or WWII guns.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Some of the better weapons and gear can only be bought with real money. Some weapons are simply more stylish (the G36E Valkyrie), while others are distinctly improved. Most weapons pale in comparison to the gear offered, including much-improved combat vests, and the commonly seen 'speed gear'.
  • Captain Ersatz: A few of the mercenaries tend to be this:
    • Harlequin Claire is basically meant to be the DC Extended Universe incarnation of Harley Quinn; Claire's outfit that resembles Harley's from Suicide Squad (2016) and the hair accessory pretty much solidifies that.
    • Mason The Hitman is basically John Wick.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive:
    • Wayne Decker, the man in charge of NEMEXIS.
    • The unnamed director of Trilobite Energy Corporation.
  • Critical Existence Failure: You can run around with 1 HP, but fall down several feet and...
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: When Quarantine mode was released, a promotional logo was made, with a bit of influence from a certain other game.
  • Easter Egg: At one point, delving into some of the game's files and looking into some user configuration text files revealed some leftover bits including such variables as "vehicle turn speed" and "toggle night vision." While the night vision was actually teased (before it was changed) by a loading screen for the map Rattlesnake with a picture of a merc using a pair of goggles with a pistol drawn, none of it ever came to be. In subsequent updates, the variables were removed.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: Quarantine Mode, which was added in the July 28th patch of 2009.
    • And expanded with Fireteam's 'Cabin Fever' map. The plot currently deals with a potential Zombie Apocalypse in the making.
  • Excuse Plot: Most of the descriptions behind the map tend to be this, as two people on separate teams can play Hauser at the same time, essentially rendering whatever story is behind the map nonexistent.
  • Expy: Cyborg Ingram is something of a combination between Raiden and Gray Fox; just look at his portrait.
  • Fackler Scale of FPS Realism: Zig-zags between Classic and Realistic. Matters of accuracy, sprinting, and weapon carrying capacity stay mostly realistic, but balance always comes first, leading to the ability to take a rocket launcher to the face and keep going.
  • Fanservice: C'mon, how could you NOT think of the mercenary specialist Viper?!
  • Griefer: The game has a long history of hackers, leading to interesting situations in which people convinced decent players are hacking can actually cause more trouble than the hackers themselves, depending on how recently the various exploits have been patched.
  • Groin Attack: Originally added in as an April Fools joke, but later kept in as a permanent feature, shooting male characters in the family jewels will result in what was once a one-hit-kill like headshots, but later nerfed to only show up if the killing bullet (or melee attack) was delivered to the groin area. At any rate, getting a kill in this fashion will result in hearing your character laugh evilly, and a picture of two cracked nuts will flash on the screen.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: WarCorp tends to be selective in whether or not they want to do good or bad; Given that they're mercenaries, it's justified since they're more concerned about payment than morality.
  • Heroic Neutral: Ironically it's WarCorp who's frequently the one stopping terrorism and thwarting the plans of NEMEXIS while the JSF is busy fighting Creed. For example, Power Surge features them putting a stop to an illegal weapons trafficking operation by Red Hawk. Furthermore, they are also the ones who put an end to the abnormality outbreak in Outpost 31.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Subverted. Bigger backpacks allow players to carry more gear with them, even more weapons, with the cost of reduced speed.
  • Ideal Hero: Joaquin is stated to be lead by his sense of justice; his vigilante group is allied with the JSF for a reason.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: While technically a not a katana, the Ninjato, which is close enough in looks, is a pretty effective melee weapon.
  • Killed Off for Real: NEMEXIS officially met its end during the "Evil Never Dies" event.
  • Level Grinding: Once you start getting into the "Field Officers" area, this starts to show up.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Creed partakes in terrorism and theft of hi-tech gear (and also fails to stop terrorism in their territory), but unlike NEMEXIS, it's quite clear that they have a line they won't cross due to their willingness to form a nonaggression with the JSF and WarCorp to fight the company. Ontop of that, in VIP mode, it's Creed who protect Micaela from the terrorist organization Babaroga.
  • A Lighter Shade of Grey: Believe it or not, WarCorp tends to be this despite being a PMC. While it's true they only fight for money and sometimes take dubious jobs at times, they've not committed war crimes like JSF has tried to nor do they engage in terrorism like Creed, which is why so many members of the former have defected to them. Their members basically just do their thing and some actually specialize in rescue missions and protection. It helps that they're usually the ones who take the fight to NEMEXIS and other terrorist groups in Fireteam mode and practically get the WFO and TWU to unite to end NEMEXIS once and for all.
  • Meaningful Name: The given name of the town Waverider takes place in is "Rupheria"
  • One Bullet Clips
  • Order Versus Chaos: What the conflict between the WFO and the TWU boils down to, who represent Order and Chaos respectively.
  • Pet the Dog: WarCorp, despite thriving off of war and profit, does this alot; most of the Fireteam missions are lead by them and they're frequently fighting either random terrorist cells, infected created by NEMEXIS, and even NEMEXIS itself.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Although the WFO fights to end all world conflict and achieve world peace, they won't hesitate to recruit criminals like Morris if they think they can do good.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: NEMEXIS' color scheme, primarily seen on their troops, weapons, and robots.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Played with regarding the Alpha and Bravo team specialists; both represent the two teams, with their color motif based around red and blue respectively. In terms of gameplay, the Alpha team specialist is more geared towards being on the front lines and mowing down his opponents with a machine gun and as such is meant to take the bullets from enemies, while the Bravo team specialist is a more subversive and speed-based since they are meant to rely on grenade usage to flush their enemies out and can virtually walk away unharmed from incendiary/gas grenades and flashbangs.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: While it might not make much sense, many of the old Civil War revolvers are this, especially the C1851N. It shoots extremely accurately for a handgun, and it also manages to shoot faster than the Anaconda- with comparable power. If that wasn't enough, it has a large amount of ammo compared to other pistols, and it reloads extremely quickly.
  • Rule of Cool: Some of the accessories and gun skins fall under this. They don't do really anything else but follow this rule.
  • Rule of Funny: Some of the items found in-game can be this, like exploding football grenades and oversized turkey leg clubs.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Get yourself killed by your own grenades or clumsiness, and you can expect this from the announcer in the comments during respawning.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Ophelia's primary reason for defecting from the JSF to WarCorp.
  • Scunthorpe Problem: The in-game chat censors out swear words, including words such as sniper.
    • Thankfully, you can turn off the curse filter now, and swear to your heart's delight. Which most players do.
  • Series Mascot: Brandon the Combat master, shown in the image at the beginning of the page, along with the Alpha and Bravo Specialists have essentially become the face of Combat Arms as of the Reloaded Update.
  • Shoot the Dog: the JSF has a nasty habit of doing this, from killing the mercs they hired after they retrieved strain samples in "Dead Water" to expecting blind obedience from their specialists which was probably why they lost so many of their strongest members to WarCorp, if Ophelia's story is anything to go by.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: After successfully holding off hordes of the infected in Cabin Fever, you're rescued at dawn by helicopter. However, due to your prolonged exposure to the toxic gas, you yourself become a zombie, and are presumably disposed off by your unit.
    • Happens again in "Dead Water" when you obtain all samples. The JSF come to pick you up, but then the operative inside shoots you, leaving you to die.
  • Shout-Out: kind of an Easter Egg—the Waverider map has the Dai-Gurren Brigade flag (sans sunglasses) in pendant form.
  • Standard FPS Guns
    • One obscure exception: Waaaaaay back when Combat Arms was still in the open beta/public release timeframe, a glitch with the knife would cause what seemed to be a smoke signal followed by a somewhat large glowing target on the ground to appear, along with the words "Incoming Artillery." This was never realized in the game, even to this day.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness: As you rank up, you gain access to better weapons. This adds a bit of fridge logic as well, as the M16, the default gun, is less powerful than the M4, which is just a carbine version of it and fires the same round.
  • Sniper Scope Sway: Every sniper scope does this.
  • Take Cover!: Most maps have waist-high objects you can crouch behind and shoot.
  • Technically-Living Zombie: The infected that NEMEXIS creates don't die and then become infected, but usually breathe in a gas made by the company which then causes them to turn. The same goes for the Abnormalities created by Trilobite.
  • War for Fun and Profit: Downplayed; WarCorp aren't exactly about partaking in war for fun, but they definitely do take advantage of the war between WFO and the TWU for profit.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Potentially how territories in the TWU view Creed.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: NEMEXIS starts one when they create a stamina drug, starting a viral outbreak that turns people into the infected. Outpost 31 shows that Trilobite Energy Corporation has started one as well by creating their own unique zombie species, the Abnormalities.