ARMA III (BETA)

Having spent 8 years in the United States Marine Corps, my primary MOS’s (military occupation skills) were focused around infantry jobs. I was a basic rifleman (grunt),  a machine gunner, in security forces, the chief coxswain in a MEUSOC unit, Humvee and assault vehicle driver, and an infantry instructor. So playing frantic military games with no tactical sense gets a bit frustrating such as all the Call of Duty’s. It’s the same affect as a cop watching an unrealistic cop show or a doctor watching Grey’s Anatomy or House. This is not the case with ARMA III.

ARMA III is the third installment (duh) of the series, a game developed by Bohemia Interactive and being released on Steam in Q3 2013.  ARMA III is an open world tactical shooter (first or 3 person shooter, I know, awesome right?!). The battles take place 20 or so years from now on Altis and Stratis Greece.  On a side note, you may have recalled the devs were arrested in Greece and spent 130 day or so in jail, over suspicion of espionage as they were accused of taking photos of military installations to enhance the realism of their game… This crew is dedicated!! There is no “official” word as of the exact makeup of the campaign, but sources such as Wikipedia claim in campaign mode you will play as a British Special Forces Captain.

arrested

Just like any other Beta, the gameplay and modes of play are limited. From what I have seen in the several hours of gameplay, I am amazed! From the sound effects, to the ability to see the dirt pop up from where your rounds are striking. The realism of the game is stunning! The fact it is an open world game even makes it better. As far as video games go, this is as close to combat a gamer can get. With that being said, I think that fact may throw off a lot of gamers. They are so used to having to assault a certain way, having more ammunition than John Rambo and an M-60. Having objectives highlighted and the game being very linear, there is no ‘prestige mode’ here. The clock is 24 hours and weather constantly changes.

In ARMA III you will have various missions to include, infiltration from air land and sea (scuba). How you complete those missions is up to you, frontal assault, control your squad by fire and maneuver, or silent and deadly (no you can not fart in the game), because it is open world you can complete missions in several different ways. In ARMA III you cannot take a barrage of gun fire and survive, typically 1-3 hits and you’re a goner, same goes for your foes. One shot to the the head and they drop like a sack of potatoes and few to center mass with the same effect. The maps even have your typical military grid squares with military style compasses. Your inventory is limited to what can fit into your 3 day assault pack, you can upgrade your equipment from downed soldiers (friendly or foe), grab a set of night vision goggles sitting on a desk etc. Just make sure you have room in your pack.

If you were never in the military it will help to play the tutorial and orientate the map (know your north, east, south, and west [never eat shredded wheat] unless of course you’re fiber deficient or it’s frosted), get caught up on the military lingo. If you don’t, you will soon get confused as your team leader may tell you there is a sniper at 3 o’clock or the base is to the west. You just won’t have time to look at the map if you are taking fire. The game does not pause if you are reading your map, or looking in your inventory (as it shouldn’t).

assault

Where the game tends to get a little annoying is the radio command bar and the voiceovers. It sounds like a drunk male version of Apple’s Siri. The inflection in their voices and how they say things takes away from the military feel. Personally to me it doesn’t sound like the voice actors were ever in the military and if they were, definitely not the infantry (we never sounded like that and if we did then.. nah we didn’t). You have to utilize the command bar, for support, to radio in a request (artillery, air strike, combat drop, pickup, etc.) you also use the command bar to tell your team where to go, who to attack, etc. This is extremely valuable to flank enemy positions. You can tell your sniper to go to a good cover/concealment location on a hill to cover your approach, thus using the radio in a firefight is difficult. FIND COVER, then use the radio.

The AI gets better with each update. Once you or your team is spotted the fight is on. If a foe zeros in on you they will keep shooting until the threat (you) is incapacitated. A silenced kill will not alert other enemies unless the body is found.

Co-op: True co-op is more likely. I find in other military simulation games (or so they think they are) you pick from 3 to 4 types and most everyone is a sniper (camper), assault (seasoned), or machine gunner (noob). In ARMA III you really have to set your team like a military squad (3 fire teams) or a fire team (4 person team). You need support (snipers, medics, heavy machine gunners, forward observers, pilots) and you need basic infantry men, sure if you have 52 rifleman (platoon) you can take over a base of 6 enemy. But throw in enemy mortars, airstrikes, tanks, snipers, and you my friend, are screwed. You can set up a sniper as a forward observer and they can then identify your enemy (A.I. or others online) give you an idea of numbers and key locations. Then they can paint a target for an air strike or howitzers, as your squad creeps down a valley to flank your enemy base. Have a mechanized unit sitting behind your sniper and under the hill crest and as  the enemy force leaves the base to assault your sniper element, you call in the mechanized unit over the hill as your sniper relocates or joins the assault. All while you enter the base, take out a few stragglers. Now you are the rock and the mechanized is the hard place and your foe has nowhere to go. You will constantly have to adapt to your enemy and their forces. I can’t foresee one type of person or unit being better than the other. Enemy sniper on a hill, sure I can counter with another sniper, or better yet I’ll just paint the hill and devastate it with some artillery… bye bye sniper.

This game is a must for military gamers. Sorry folks, only on the PC right now.

I imagine this game will be modded soon enough to allow for another epic zombie survival game (DayZ for Arma II is a blast!!)

GRAPHICS

On higher end PC the graphics are amazing!

SOUND

The true sound of combat, gunfire, helicopters, underwater sounds, all great!

FINAL THOUGHTS

This is a true military personnel game, Bohemia really outdid themselves here. YOU WILL BUY A HIGH END PC OR UPGRADE YOUR CURRENT PC JUST TO GET THIS GAME!!!

Pros

  • Awesome Combat Theater.
  • Graphics and sound for an open world are great.
  • Gameplay is as real as I can remember a game being.
  • Co-op is fantastic.
  • Finally a modern game where playing isn’t about prestiging or getting ranked so I can have better gear.

Cons

  • Human sound bites are a bit too dramatic and robotic.
  • Lack of military knowledge, lingo or not playing the other ARMA’s will put you behind a power curve.
  • For being 20 years in the future, the weaponry and armor is modern day. Not that there should be plasma rifles and T-3’s running around but everything felt modern day not futuristic which is good but dumb of them to say mid 2030’s, they should of just said in 2016 or something close.
  • The use of a controller are not refined in beta and it’s hard to fly a helicopter or use your gear with the Xbox Controller for PC (I love playing this game my wrist hurts so much from the mouse and keyboard)

rifle

Style – Single, Multiplayer

Developer – Bohemia Interactive

Release – Q3 2013

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