When it comes to accurately depicting military combat, Arma stands alone as the unchallenged elite. It is genuinely unique in its massive scale, unbridled freedom, intense realism, virtually unlimited content and replay value to a degree that is unmatched by any other war-game on the market today.
Not Your Normal Military Shooter
The Arma series has always been firmly grounded in reality and the latest in the series, and despite taking place in the near future, is still the most realistic war game available. In many military shooters, the player scarcely has to worry about their virtual life while running straight into danger with little hesitation despite facing overwhelming odds.
Playing Arma 3 will thoroughly destroy theses tendencies. New players will develop a level of situational awareness that is wholly unfamiliar. Hearing the sound of an enemy tank nearby might cause the player to actually consider their strategy before proceeding instead of simply pulling out their rocket launcher and charging forward without hesitation. Rushing blindly and confidently into danger will often result in a quick virtual death.
Players maintain a constant sense of vulnerability because they are not embodying a typical super-soldier capable of unbelievable feats. Instead, the player truly feels like a flesh-and-blood man that could be killed in an instant. Don’t expect to simply take cover when you are injured and wait for your health to magically regenerate.
Whether you are piloting a helicopter or fighter jet, commanding a tank platoon or charging an enemy base as an infantryman, there is a persistent magnitude of intensity. Knowing that a single misstep could instantly end your virtual life keeps the player focused to a degree that almost forces immersion.
Authenticity As A Core Principle
The Arma series is based on authenticity. All gameplay mechanics are designed in a way to attempt to retain a level of realism while still being accessible enough to be enjoyable. Vehicles, weapons, and landscapes have been painstakingly created to be as real-life as possible.
The complexity of Arma certainly drives away large numbers of gamers who would otherwise enjoy the experience. Most keys on the keyboard probably serve some purpose.
The learning curve could be intimidatingly steep to potential new players. This is definitely not a “pick up and play” game. Properly piloting aircrafts will take some practice in order to master the dynamics. Long distance shots require adjustments to accurately hit their mark. Operating on dark nights without night vision will require a weapon-mounted flashlight for visibility.
Many aspects of Arma could be staggering to newer players who are comfortable with the usual run-and-gun, undemanding shooters. This game doesn’t hold your hand and baby-step you through an easy exercise of annihilating anything standing in your way without much challenge. If you possess the required determination and desire to overcome these possible obstacles, an immense amount of enthralling, intense gameplay awaits.
Arma 3 is a warfare sandbox wherein any conceivable military scenario can be created. Want to participate in a huge tank battle? Feel like taking to the air for some dogfighting with fighter jets? How about playing as a sniper tasked with killing a high-value target behind enemy lines with only your spotter to watch your heavily outnumbered ass? On second thought, feel like you need some artillery support to cover your escape? All you need to do in order to play out any scenario you desire is go into the editor and start creating. Its a military warfare junkie’s wet dream.
A major aspect that sets Arma apart from the usual limiting shooters is the absolute freedom it grants players. The powerful editor provides the opportunity to create endless scenarios but there is also a vast amount of ready-made content available. The Steam Workshop contains a colossal amount of community created content, including countless diverse missions and entire campaigns, that is free to be enjoyed at your leisure.
The AI dynamically reacts to the circumstances presented which keeps missions from becoming stale and predictable but it also creates problems as the AI has a tendency to become robotic and occasionally idiotic. Most Arma players have experienced the fury of being head-shotted by an eagle-eyed grunt almost a thousand meters distant that somehow managed to spot you slowly crawling through thick grass.
Even when the AI isn’t obliterating the immersion by acting incomprehensibly, they still routinely resemble robots more closely than humans. The AI’s rate-of-fire is determined by distance and frequently devolves into a mind-numbing series of continuous, identical repetitions. Few moments break the illusion quite like when a machine gunner is repeatedly firing in identical five-shot bursts each exactly two seconds apart.
As with most problems with the base game, a mod probably exists which will dramatically or at least partially improve it. The amount of quality mods available is impressive. Everything from AI improvements, new weapons, units, maps, gameplay tweaks, and much more can be incorporated. There are even a couple mods which introduce dinosaurs into the game.
Arma 3 takes place on a Mediterranean island and is set in the near future but if you would rather conduct more modern operations, such as a counter-insurgency in the Middle East, have no fear: recreating recent battles in Iraq/Afghanistan can be accomplished by simply installing a couple mods.
Sniping a Taliban commander on a mountaintop or blowing up a truck full of religion-of-peace combatants with a Hellfire missile from an Apache helicopter never loses its appeal.
Arma 3 is a game that is worthy of the PC Master Race distinction. It clearly accentuates the superiority of PC power.
(Modded gameplay improvements are considered in the final score.)
Gameplay – An intense, realistic war-game that is unlike any other. Capable of providing exhilarating experiences that few shooters could rival. There is a massive amount of distinct multiplayer modes to play and such an enormous quantity of ever-expanding content available that you could easily spend years on this virtual battlefield. 40 out of 45.
Controls – Intricate and complicated. Once you get used to the complexity and master the mechanics the sometimes clunky controls will feel like second nature. 15 out of 25.
Graphics – Beautiful sprawling landscapes, gorgeous sunsets, stunning lighting effects, sharp character, vehicle and weapon models make the experience convincingly believable and frequently entrancing. 14 out of 15.
Sound – Sound is fairly solid overall. With mods installed it becomes magnificent. 7 out of 10.
Story- The single-player campaign exists and is set in the near future. It will most likely be played once before moving on to all the other gameplay options available. 1 out of 5.
Total Score- 77%. With limitless replay value and an inherent intensity not found in many games, Arma 3 is a must-have for any serious war-gamer even with its noticeable flaws and drawbacks. There are not many games that could match its scale, freedom and frequently exhilarating gameplay. Superb experience for military enthusiasts and war-gamers.
Arma 3 is the epitome of a masculine game. It is commendably free of SJW influence. Your squad wont be commanded by a woman. In-game soldiers resemble the real-life fallen warriors commemorated on the news who were killed in recent wars in the Middle East instead of SJW/feminist fantasy characters.