I will never call myself a journalist. I have my personal tastes and preferences in video games and I have no intention to hide this attitude. ARMA3 is one of those precious, rare diamonds in the chaotic world of poor porting and money hunger publishers. First of all, we are talking about a marine simulator. The closest thing ever to a real modern-day warfare situation you can play at home. Forget consoles, forget porting, forget huge and cheating hype and marketing goals. The guys at Bohemia Interactive ride their crazy train of pure devotion to their franchise with steady determination, hitting hard in the chest every player coming from other FPS shooters, even the most famous ones, like Battlefield or CoD series.
There is no score, no unlocks, no kill/death ratio. One precise bullet from a sniper positioned 900 meter away, somewhere on higher ground, will kill you.
This is war.
Ripped apart the dream of glory of every FPS player around, what’s left?
Another dirty, duty filled, heart beating day as a marine.
Like in ARMA and ARMA2, the legitimate sons of the praise “Operation Flashpoint” (franchise sadly fallen a long ago in the incompetents hands of Codemasters) the first painful step to take is mapping your keys.
There is a plethora of commands: movement, the (god blessed) lean, zoom, running, crouch, prone, the most useful and impressive series of stances to get advantage of every cover, etc.
Keep in mind that there are UAVs, vehicles, planes, helicopters, small submarines and tanks; all of them requiring their keys to work properly.
For you to practice there is a training ground and some single player tutorials, extremely well made.
Since the game is on Steam, you can even download, install and keep updated every mod the (huge and faithful) community will release. I found very handy the firing range mod, that allows you to check and test every weapon available.
Forget to dive yourself in PVP soon. There are a lot of servers hosting official and custom-made missions for you to get used about the game mechanics.
Your first breath in the isle of Altis and Stratis: the first one is a huge, detailed, 270 squared kilometers open sandbox, while the second one is a smaller 20 squared kilometers battlefield with the purpose to host straight, furious clashes for full-scale pvp engagements.
To think as a marine will always be rewarding in discovering all the sweet love the devs put in this game.
When you equip yourself take care of your weight; most of the time you will reach your goal on foot, and fatigue could be hell: slow running, blurry visuals and unstable aiming due to heavy breath will make you nearly useless.
The inventory is not properly user-friendly, but after a bit you will enjoy planning your loadout due to the incredible amount of choices you can do: from clothing to backpacks everything affect your capacity as well as your encumbrance and (do not underestimate) how visible you’ll be: for an enemy is much more easy to spot a silhouette wearing an anti tank weapon and a huge backpack even from huge distances.
Now you are ready, but you are not a lone wolf in the wasteland. You are part of a team. So keep your eyes on the chat window and your ears open for invoice orders (used by almost every player).
To be transported by a heli close to the goals is by far the most common way to move around the isle. And you really feel yourself as part of a team while you seat with a dozen other brothers waiting to reach the landing zone hoping the enemy does not lock on you with some AA lethal weapon.
As your feet will touch the ground, you shift to the hunter/hunted state of mind that only a simulation like this can offer.
Since every bullet count, to reach your enemy undetected is the best strategy.
Shooting at a slow, unaware targets, while you are in the best stance to maximize your aim and calmly holding your breath means you nailed it.
The second just before the shot you focus inside you all it takes to taste that moment: the adrenaline during the approach, the thoughts crossing your mind while you were helpless sitting in the transport, the nerve breaking quiet around you that could last for minutes or suddenly break into hell.
If your first shot is well placed, it will be enough. Semiautomatic mode is the choice for those scenarios. The body in your crosshair falls to the ground: the fight has started.
Save a wounded mate by dragging him to cover and call for a medic, make the day with a well placed RPG on an enemy tank hammering your teammates, and leave no one behind.
If you were lucky enough to be still alive, drop a green smoke and call for evac with your radio. Some angel from the sky will come to get you to base, ready to reload and run for another task of your mission.
This time maybe as a pilot, a tank commander or a detached sniper scout squad.
See Also: Call of Duty: Ghosts – Fans Going Nuts?
Oh…what about the game? Right, the game: a high-end computer is required to have a good experience; ARMA3 is still in kind of beta version with most of the contents already planned but still to come. But if you like what ARMA3 has to offer with amazing sand-box experience, one of the most advanced editor to make everything you want and the thrill of some serious play, you’ll better know that the guys at Bohemia take care of their products for years by fixing, updating and expanding the game. The graphic as well as audio is overall amazing, and it’s like the game…no fireworks and sparks but everything needed to help the game shines.
It has some flaws but, unlike Rome Total War II, they are not the ones that let you down, forcing you to uninstall the game and curse the devs as traitors.
One downside, I must admit, is lurking around viciously: Gamers make the game. If you play with the right people it will be a sublime experience, if you encounter someone with the aim of trolling, all you have to do is to pray an admin to appear and solve the matter with a ban.
It’s all about the attitude.
If simulators intrigues you and you have iron willpower, ARMA3 could become the only shortcut on your desktop.
And the rest will be just…videogames.