Anthony "Tony" Magestro--or known on the field of battle as Metzge--is an avid writer, gamer, and entrepreneur. When he's not writing, gaming, or entrepreneuring, he enjoys cooking, trippy movies, and trying to be awesome to varying degrees of success. Feel free to check out his LinkedIn page, especially if you need freelance help with content writing or digital marketing. Or just like to network, that's fine too.
“You probably think you’re awesome with that noobtube.” “Go tell your mother I had fun last night.” “<Insert derogatory/racist/homophobic slur here>.” These are a few of the phrases you can kiss goodbye as you put down your Xbox controller and play a real FPS. I’m not talking about Call of Duty. I’m talking about ArmA 3, the modern war simulator that’s taking the PC battlefield by storm. It’s not just a game. It’s a vibrant world torn asunder by political chaos, ripe for the taking.
Though ArmA 3 doesn’t have much of a story – after all, the series is best known for its flexible mission and world editor and online co-op play – the conflict goes a little like this: In the 2030s, the Iranian military has set its eyes on some Greek islands, chiefly Altis and Stratis in the Aegean Sea. The rest of the world isn’t having any of that and have deployed NATO peacekeepers to bolster the native Altian Armed Forces (or AAF) there. However, at the start of the singleplayer campaign, the Greek AAF betray NATO and all hell breaks loose.
Aside from better storytelling than its predecessors, ArmA 3 has easier-to-use controls, making the game feel a lot more intuitive instead of needing a chart to figure out how to vault over a fence. With the help of its early access program, ArmA 3 looks, feels, and has better mod support than ArmA 2, in fact–in my opinion–making the earlier title seem completely obsolete.
With an emphasis on multiplayer and each server being its own simulation, complete with its own rules of engagement, weapons, and other mods of the administrators’ choosing, there is something for everyone. Whether you like night raids with just a few of your friends, or huge day-time assaults with hundreds of AI soldiers and vehicles duking it out, you’re sure to find a place you’ll fit in.
Heck, there’s even zombie apocalypse mods available, turning Altis into a hotbed of undead tomfoolery akin to Red Dead Redemption‘s undead DLC: save civilians, clear out old bases, and try to escape to a less infested area of the world. Mind you, this isn’t a part of the stock experience, but the fact that Bohemia Interactive has given its community the tools to make it happen is worth mentioning.
As far as “vanilla” features go, ArmA 3 is chalk-full of new gizmos and gadgets, not including the updated graphics and physics engine that really bring the world to life. The game boasts underwater environments and the ability to use specialized vehicles and weapons while you’re diving, infiltrating enemy dockyards from a more watery insertion point.
Naturally, weather, time of day, smoke and visibility (on good conditions, a player can see up to 20 kilometers) all play a role in your engagements and the AI are smart enough to react accordingly. Nothing is more exciting than setting up an ambush for an oncoming patrol. Well no.. maybe being caught in one yourself. Those AI are pretty crafty, man.
The inventory system is sleeker and allows for weapon and uniform customization: pick attachments, clothing, harnesses, what have you. You literally suit-up, making sure you have a map, compass, extra ammo, grenades, a nifty ACOG for your assault rifle, and some aviators to keep that pesky sun out of your eyes. Of course, there are mods that add even more weapons, ammo types, and equipment and if there aren’t any you like, you can always just make them yourself. Why so many options? Because, this isn’t your mother’s FPS game: it’s a war simulator.
If that isn’t enough, Bohemia is constantly working to improve their game, sometimes slipping in extra vehicles and weapons in their updates. I always love it when developers give us free things, especially with how DLC has been lately. However, the one downfall ArmA 3 has is that, given all the features and visuals and overall bad-assery, you’re going to need a pretty hefty system to run it and a decent Internet connection to send all that information back and forth. If you attempt to host a game and you’re using some Mickey Mouse ISP that averages at about 1Mb/sec, good luck.
Aside from the steep hardware requirements, ArmA 3 is truly a must-have for any war gamer and FPS fan–that is, FPS gamers that can handle a real war game. No, you can’t run-and-gun your way out of this one, but that’s how it ought to be. War is serious bidness and Bohemia Interactive’s bidness is a boomin’.