The average gamer has probably only heard of ARMA through the wildly popular mod 'DayZ'. While DayZ is certainly worth picking up, there are plenty of other features in the core ARMA 2 game that many DayZ players or gamers in general either do not appreciate or know about. There are plenty of other reason to get your hands on a copy of ARMA 2 and even more reason to dive into ARMA 3.
As an ARMA veteran who believes the ARMA series can offer the most authentic FPS experience, I feel like it is my duty to share the uncovered potential and enjoyment that these games can offer.
Intensely dedicated mod support.
This is probably the most obvious upside to the ARMA series, seeing as how ARMA 2 is most well known by the mod 'DayZ'. But don't be mistaken, DayZ merely scratches the surface of what ARMA modifications are capable of. New skins, weapons, events, entire overhauls just to name a few. Take my favorite ARMA 2 mods, for example:
You're taking on the role of corpsman in an intense battle for a small insurgent controlled town when over your radio you hear a Fireteam leader call for corpsman. You rush over to the injured soldiers, examining their wounds; you use bandages to stop the heavy bleeding but your work isn't done yet. You inject epinephrine to revive the soldier and morpheme to stop the pain, but his right leg is broken and he will need a medkit. Shit, you're out and the only ones left are in the MRAP. You pick up the soldier, carrying him on your shoulders through thick fighting over to the MRAP before grabbing a medkit, patching him up and sending him back into the fight.
During this exchange a few mods were utilized. ACRE allowed the use of authentic sounding in game radios, complete with range settings and channels but it also does more; ACRE is a Teamspeak modification as well as an ARMA mod, implementing a talk system that uses realistic draw distances when a player speaks. For instance, with ACRE each player must be within close proximity to speak with each other without a radio, but to speak hundreds of meters or even across the map, each player will need a specialized radio depending on what their battlefield role is. Fireteam members use a small 5000 meter radio, team leaders use a more robust 30,000 meter radio and radio operators are given the massive AN/PRC-119 backpack radio with huge range capabilities. Everyone has a role in sending information up and down the chain of command.
The second element is the ACE mod, allowing an in-depth medical system that requires special equipment to revive team members, unlike other games where you can throw on a medkit and you're magically healthy again. But ACE is so much more than that; towing howitzers, range finders, realistic damage modifiers, the amount of features to ACE are too numerous to list.
And those are just two ARMA modifications out of hundreds of thousands. The modders are dedicated and the community that supports them is hands-down the most dedicated user content base in gaming. No contest.
Unparalleled realism and depth.
Picture this scene:
Two platoons ride single file, in convoy, down a long, barren road toward the town of Nagara. Two MRAP troop transports, a single MK47 HMMWV followed by two HMG HMMWVs trek through the desolate road with gunner and passenger alike scanning for road-side IEDs. As the convoy approaches the town, an RPG rocket slams into the lead MRAP; thankfully, the MRAPs thick, sloping armor was built for such an impact and the crew can safety pull off the road and take cover behind a group of large rocks. All passengers exit the convoy vehicles as the gunners rain down a hot metallic hell on the town. As you take cover behind the rock your radio sounds off with the voice of your Fireteam leader.
"Bravo, we'll be moving bearing 227 with Haymaker 1-1 covering us from the rocks after mortar smoke."
"Copy" you reply, moving toward the far end of the rock cluster as you get ready to run like hell toward the town.
A deep, rolling noise crashes through the sky as 60mm smoke rounds plummet toward the ground. In a massive plume of smoke, the rounds make contact, covering the towns approach in white fog.
Your Fireteam breaks into a dead sprint toward the towns nearest building. Gunfire streams into the city block as your fellow platoon members cover your approach. With heaving breath you finally reach the building, cursing the three, heavy 200rnd M249 ammo boxes in your backpack.
As you catch your breath the team leader radios back to the rest of the platoons Fireteam leaders on his VH249 radio.
"Haymaker 1-1 this is Bravo Actual, Bravo is set."
Now it's time to return the favor, your M249 pours out tracer rounds into nearby windows and doorways as you suppress fire for your team members to the cross into the town. The invasion of Nagara was underway.
Every element in that story was directly related to player involvement. Players drove the vehicles, players mounted the HMMWV guns and players relied coordinates to player controlled mortar teams. Obviously this is not every story you hear about the core ARMA game. Like myself, many people may be left with the first impression that ARMA is too hardcore and difficult to get into. But when you abandon the notion that ARMA can be played as a run-and-gun FPS, then you can truly appreciate ARMA for what it is.
ARMA can easily be mistaken for a boring game that focuses too much on realism, but the first time you and 59 of your friends assault a town in true-to-life military fashion that's when you see ARMA for the potential it has. No other FPS can comes close to the amount of satisfaction you feel when your squad mate gives you coordinates and range to an enemy right before you adjust sights on a .50 caliber heavy machine gun and light them up.
This is where you will get the thrill that I have been talking about. If you want the authentic military FPS experience. If you don't want any of that bullshit, any of that no-scope, rocket launchers everywhere, knife kill bullshit, than your only option is a realism unit. Don't get me wrong, you can find friends and communities that screw around and have fun just playing multiplayer and shooting the shit out of a few scrubs. But if you want the real deal, you need to join a realism unit.
That video offers just a small taste of what a standard operation in a realism unit is like. Realism units stress authentic military .
The future is bright.
The ARMA train doesn't stop there, with a newly released beta of ARMA 3, players can pay just $45 for both instant Beta access and the full game at launch. Buyers will enjoy all the things that make ARMA great along with a plethora of new features including better graphics and lighting, improved editor, more firing stances, more weapons, full gear customization system including the ability to mix and match clothing and armor, and best of all the same mod support you would expect from an ARMA game. In fact, ACRE has recently launched their ARMA 3 version and ACE is working on ACE 3 for players to sink their teeth into.
The potential for the ARMA series is only limited by what you want out of it, and at only $25 for the entire ARMA 2 collection and $45 for ARMA 3, there is no better time to jump into this colossus of an FPS.