Bohemia Interactive’s ARMA series is not for casuals, so let’s get that out of the way right now. However, even such a game catered to hardcore aficionados can be a hotbed of developments that would then be good for more mainstream audiences. For instance, ARMA II gave us DayZ, which is now getting its own standalone game due to the success that the mod had garnered. With the release of ARMA III, it could be the best way yet to slap that Call of Duty-playing kid right in the face. This is a real military shooter, not that watered-down cash cow.
ARMA III is Bohemia Interactive’s product for the discerning military gaming aficionado. Perhaps it’s not fair to label this game as a niche title right off the bad and deter the casual gamers who may be curious, but that’s just how it is. This is nothing like the Call of Duty or Battlefield games at all. They’re all about the military, but that’s where similarities end. While most people can take to those military action shooters right off the bat, ARMA III takes more patience and immersion to play properly.
Immersion is just what this game is all about. Aside from the scale, the visuals easily impresses those who look at it for the first time and stuns those who had been non-believers. It’s not Crysis level in terms of hype, but this game’s graphics sure can give it a run for its money thanks to Bohemia’s Real Virtuality engine. There is incredible detail put into the making of this game, in such a way that the locations are as realistic as they can ever get as they were based from real world locations, so much that there had been sacrifices made to get that realism.
First off, you’ll notice that everything about this game is in an epic scale. The in-game world is vast, the graphics are very detailed, and everything you do can get really difficult if you’re not into following orders and coordinating with fellow soldiers. It’s definitely not your usual military shooter as it really is about being a soldier and not Rambo. You can take on various roles in order to contribute to the battle; shooting at enemies isn’t the only way to be a good soldier here.
Due to the scale and effort put in to this game, there is nigh infinite amount of things you can do in this game. If you think that the STALKER series was big, then you’d be flabbergasted by this game’s sheer size and scope. If you do get this game, you better be really into military simulators because you don’t really get much in terms of tutorials and other things that help you learn this game. Players would go into this cold and have to observe carefully in order to learn the ins and outs of this game. That is what the developers had done to make the experience as realistic as possible, forcing you to adapt to the environment and follow the orders of your superiors instead of just charging in to reach wherever an objective indicator on your map or compass is telling you to go.
Another thing that makes such a bare yet vast game like this a good thing is how the community can use it as their canvas for various mods and conversions. That’s how titles like DayZ were born from ARMA II, and it doesn’t seem like it will stop there. The extensive mission editor is a good place to start, so those who want to stage big battles and such can do so there. It can also be used to create something more substantial, and it will perhaps be like ARMA II as well in terms of accommodating mods and such.
Much has been put into the making of this game. In fact, two of Bohemia Interactive employees had sacrificed their freedom to bring this game to life. On September 2012, they had been arrested by the Greek authorities for taking pictures of military installations on the charge of espionage. They were so adamant at making the game as realistic as possible that they had sat in jail for four whole months for it. If you do buy this game, then you better feel the passion that they had for this because they really seemed to have put their souls into bringing the most realistic military simulation game to life. The game is still set around Greece, but some changes had been made in response to this fiasco.
It’s not an overly hot game, but it surely does stand out on its own as a game made with quality in mind. Although it doesn’t have much of a story, it doesn’t mean that it lacks substance. While it may not garner the huge audiences that other more popular games get, ARMA III can potentially give birth to future titles that can do so.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 8/10