Bohemia Interactive Studio is showing off a few complex sims at E3 this year, one of which is Arma 3. To its credit, even a slowly paced, open-world shooter can provide enough unique variety to get a tired editor smiling and nodding his head.
In this industry of shooters where crap is happening all around you, you and your enemies are bullet sponges, and you retain the accuracy of a robot, a sim actually has a unique appeal of its own.
Arma 3 strips down all of the flash and flair of the typical first-person shooters that make us feel like a badass meathead (and those that actually feature meatheads), and keeps things closer to the level of combat simulators. The great thing about this third installment is that it quells a lot of the user friendliness issues that its predecessors suffered from. While it does remain a bit less intense than other shooters, and features a large emphasis on strategy and tactics, the menu system, controls, and mission system have been streamlined to be more easily accessible to people who might not enjoy steep learning curves.
Players are provided a base camp, where they can receive all of their missions, set up their equipment, and even do a bit of training. For such a large and persistent game, it’s a good idea to have everything center on a home base where it all can be managed. It even looks cool for such a glorified “main menu,” retaining the semblance of a forward command post in the middle of the boondocks.
This all leads to combat that really doesn’t have much in common with anything you’ve likely played. Soldiers run at the medium-brisk pace that an actual person would, and don’t reload their guns like they’re trying to break some Guinness record. Missions take place in maps that go on for several miles, and don’t provide any clear direction on how to approach the target area. So imagine you’re an actual soldier that has to infiltrate some small town in the middle of nowhere, and you’ll have an idea of how this game plays.
The combat is great, though. Guns recoil no more or less than someone experienced with firearms would expect, and actually take down enemies (and you) in only a few hits. That’s right, Arma 3 doesn’t let players take ten bullets to the chest, then hide around a corner and shake it off -- like they’re playing as Wolverine or something. One or two hits will basically finish you, and I really liked it that way. I sort of miss the days of Rainbow Six when getting shot with a freakin’ gun actually killed you. Because, you know, that’s kind of supposed to happen.
My favorite part of the game was the underwater combat. You read that correctly: some missions actually take place beneath the waves. Players will don scuba gear, wield a prototype water-functioning assault rifle, and drive around one of those classy miniature submarine things that Navy SEALs drive. It’s an interesting thing to be the first shooter (that I can think of) that has gunplay in the ocean. I will admit it was a bit odd that enemies just sat there and floated about in their own scuba gear, waiting for me to arrive. Honestly, who guards shit underwater by actually being underwater?
Nonetheless, Arma 3 was an interesting change of pace. If you’re a bit tired of the traditional Hollywood-style gunplay that virtually every other shooter at E3 has to offer, then perhaps this game should remain in your sights. Heck, I’ll admit that even I’m going to keep an eye on it, just because it’s such a shift from what I’ve been playing for years.
Expect Arma 3 to occupy your PC later this year.
|6:00 AM on 04.26.2013|
How to be an effective team player in Arma 3
Hey look at that. Developer Bohemia Interactive worked with a fan to produce some player guides. It's like Bohemia actually cares about their players! Seriously, it's awesome to see a studio work so closely with their fans i...more
|4:45 PM on 03.19.2013|
Preview: Arma 3 impressions from under a bush
I'm hiding in a bush. It's a nice bush, all green and... bushy. I feel safe here. Unfortunately, I'm drawn out of my verdant sanctuary by the crackling of my radio, and then an authoritarian voice starts shouting at me. There...more
|6:30 PM on 03.15.2013|
Free lite version of Arma 3 alpha is now available
If you have pre-ordered Arma 3 then you already have access to the alpha version of this hard-core military simulation. If you haven't already purchased your copy, you now have a shot to check out Arma 3. A free li...more
|9:00 AM on 03.06.2013|
Arma 3 Alpha now available
The Alpha version of Arma 3 is now live on the Steam store. Players can check out the game ahead of release and help provide feedback on some of the limited content they can mess around with. There are four showcase missions...more
|4:15 PM on 02.26.2013|
Full and lite Arma 3 alpha builds coming soon to Steam
Arma 3 is ready to launch into its first public alpha test on Steam, and anyone who pre-orders will be given access to this early look at the game. There isn't going to be a lot of content included, but there will be fou...more
|7:30 PM on 02.21.2013|
Arma 3 is going Steam-exclusive to make its 2013 release
Last year, much of the news surrounding Arma 3 had to do with two members of its development team getting charged with espionage and arrested in Greece, not with the game itself. Bohemia Interactive is "on the verge of reveal...more
|5:30 PM on 01.17.2013|
Arma devs freed on bail after 130 days in prison
After spending 130 in a Greek prison, Bohemia Interactive developers Martin Pezlar and Ivan Buchta have been released on a €5000/$6,672/£4160 bail. The charges against artist Pezlar and creative director Buchta sti...more
|1:00 PM on 12.13.2012|
Arma 3 delayed to 'reach its full potential'
Given what Bohemia Interactive has called an "eventful year," it's not entirely unexpected to see that military sim Arma 3 has been pushed back to an all-encompassing 2013 release window. "The additional development time enab...more
|11:00 PM on 11.16.2012|
ArmA 3 devs to remain in jail after being denied bail
Bohemia Interactive's Martin Pezlar and Ivan Buchta have been locked up for some 70 days now, having been arrested while on holiday on the Greek island of Lemnos. The two are accused by the Greek government of espionage ...more
|12:00 PM on 05.13.2013|
New redaction-heavy The Bureau: XCOM Declassified trailer
There was a rocky period there where I wasn't so sure 2K would keep the XCOM shooter going. To hear that it's back, albeit with new branding, and still looks more or less like what I was hoping to get out of the game in its ...more
|12:45 PM on 05.10.2013|
Gears of War: Judgment gets another free map next week
While it would have been nice for Gears of War: Judgment to come out of the gate with more content, the fact that some of the post-release DLC is free helps reduce the sting. Following the Haven map and Execution mode, anothe...more
|12:00 PM on 05.09.2013|
Kick the day off with six minutes of Saints Row IV
Miss out on the pre-alpha demonstration of Saints Row IV at PAX East? Me too. We can finally stop crying in the corner together now that Volition has put together a video of exactly that walkthrough. If this is the first you...more