Although I’ve long been a fan of the Operation Flashpoint lineage, which bears a striking resemblance and supplied a lot of the coding talent at work on Arma, I’d never managed to delve into the franchise until now, and reviewing Arma III came to me as a welcome assignment. By the end, to my chagrin, it had overstayed that welcome. Here’s why:
Coming into this, I’ll admit I thought I was going to have a pretty fine time, as I consider myself a fairly avid war game buff, and love me some hyper-realism to boot; Arma III looked like it was going to hit all the sweet spots. It’s a game that operates on both a massive scale and a tiny one, where the map would take you all day to walk across, and your gear is inventoried down to the type of wrist watch you’re wearing. There’s no doubt that the developers at Bohemia Interactive wanted to pour as much steaming realism as possible down the warm gullets of their audience…. but to what end?
So why deliver the campaign after release? Simply put: it’s not ready. There are several factors – some of which we’ve touched on above – that have made it infeasible for us to finish our work to the level of quality we’d be happy with for this release. Why make it at all? Well, we like campaigns and we simply want to make and play them. We also know that we owe it to our community, who’ve backed us from the start. To those eagerly anticipating the experience, we sincerely apologize for the additional wait. While we would have loved to include the campaign at launch, we could not accept compromising on its quality.
Still, there’s a good amount of content for the introverted gamer: you can choose from a variety of ‘Showcases,’ which are meant to demonstrate the finest qualities of Arma III’s gameplay scenarios, and also give you a sense of the variety of multiplayer missions that you can expect to find online. Each mission usually involves a great deal of walking/swimming/flying as you attempt to make your way across the map towards some inscrutable objective while trying not to get sniped. After Showcases, you’ve got ‘Challenges,’ which provide the chance to go out on a range with an expert instructor. There, you’ll work on improving your marksmanship abilities by running and blasting your way through various obstacle courses. I think I derived the most enjoyment from this mode, actually, in spite of the fact that all of the targets were cardboard.