Arma 3 – Is the Third Time a Charm?

 

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Arma 3
Bohemia Interactive

Our four-man team was hunkered down in a lush valley; an enemy checkpoint was up ahead as indicated on our maps, but all I could blurt out was: “Whoa! Look at how the sun cascades through the trees…” My teammates ignored me.

We’d begun as POWs, and after overwhelming our captors, we found our original weapons and gear and left the camp along with a few dead bodies. To get to a possible extraction point, we had to get through the heavily guarded vehicle checkpoint. We ditched our pilfered cargo truck and approached our target on foot. But still, all I could think about was how lovely the scenery was. After all, it was the first time I’d played the game on a decent (newer) gaming PC.

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Courtesy – Bohemia Interactive

The leader of our squad suggested that we break into two 2-man teams and flank the checkpoint from higher ground on each side. As my partner and I scrambled up our side of the valley, a snake slithered by our boots, and a little later, a bunny hopped across our path. “Whoa! That is so cool,” I thought admiring the wildlife.

My friends chuckled this time, but then our leader reminded us to get back on point since we each had only one life to live (no re-spawns). We got to a certain point up the incline and decided that we’d dip down behind a large out-cropping of rocks just ahead of us. Big mistake. As soon as we arrived, I looked at the detail; the smoothness of the edges—their strata lines. “Look at the detail on these boulders…incredible!” I murmured.

This time my ramblings proved dangerous. Instead of surveying the checkpoint from our elevated position, I was entranced by the graphics of Arma 3. All of a sudden bullets were whizzing around us and the only reason we weren’t dead at that moment is because of the aforementioned big beautiful boulders. The next ten minutes were a desperate battle for survival as we were set upon by a multitude of enemy soldiers. Even though we managed to revive one another several times, we were eventually wiped out by our ambushees, mainly due to my own personal lack of vigilance. This resulted in being heckled to no end, with remarks such as: “He’s like a blind guy who just got laser surgery and can see for the first time, haw haw haw!”

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Yes, the buzz around Arma 3 being a super-realistic military simulator is well deserved, especially on a decent gaming PC as I quickly learned. In fact, the visuals are so good that, to me, they were distracting. I’d never before witnessed such immersive, detailed graphics in a military-themed shooter. In fact, it’s almost insulting to call Arma 3 a mere shooter, since there are so many other facets to the game itself.

Arma 3 is set in a fictitious group of Greek islands within the Aegean Sea, where NATO forces are on the defensive against a sudden Iranian military offensive. Unlike the Battlefield or Call of Duty series, in Arma 3, players must learn how to traverse and utilize terrain (instead of gawking at it) in order to improve their odds against the all-too-dangerous enemy elements occupying the islands. I wasn’t surprised when I was told that the developer, Bohemia Interactive, worked with the military for the purpose of enhancing actual military training programs and applications.

Courtesy - Bohemia Interactive

Courtesy – Bohemia Interactive

While many have complained that Arma 3’s interface can feel a little unwieldly at times, since there so many keyboard keys that are utilized, from everything to minor adjustments in your stance to how you are holding your weapon, when one finally learns to bind their keys to specific tasks, the learning curve can be crested. And when it is, it’s one heck of a game to play indeed.

Arma 3’s adversarial multiplayer modes are still coming into their own, so don’t expect to jump into a fast-moving free-for-all experience like Call of Duty. The real gem within the game is its mission editor, combined with its extremely fun co-op mode. There’s nothing like getting together with a few of your gaming buddies and pouring over maps in order to figure how you will collectively approach each particular mission during the briefing phase, and deciding which roles each of you will take.

Courtesy - Bohemia Interactive

Courtesy – Bohemia Interactive

One mission had our group take a submersible craft to a shoreline under the cover of darkness, and then swimming ashore in our wet gear. Spotlights beamed over our heads as we swam toward the beach and the tension of being spotted was gripping to say the least. Finishing a mission, especially some of the more difficult, multi-tiered ones, can take a few hours or so, so the sense of accomplishment when you do can be through the roof.

Yes, Arma 3’s controls can be a little wonky, and its learning curve a bit on the steeper side, but those with the patience to learn them will be in for some military realism nirvana.  Adding to the base game’s value is a vibrant modding community, with some mods that feature survival-horror elements, and even a cops vs. criminals-type mode as well. This, combined with Arma’s robust and relatively easy to grasp mission editing tools, make for one of the finest military themed games I’ve played to date, especially on the realism side of things.

Courtesy - Bohemia Interactive

Courtesy – Bohemia Interactive

SCORE: 90%

Kane’s suggestion:

In order to really get immersed in Arma 3, consider investing in a dedicated gaming PC. Those who are into 4k gaming will be blown away by the game’s graphics, but even in 1080p they are real eye-pleasing. Here’s a one such awesome machine for playing Arma 3:

Visit CyberpowerPC’s website to find more great deals as well!

 

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