With the release of the Arma III Alpha back in March, the anticipation for the upcoming release of this open world tactical shooter has been building to a fever pitch. Developer Bohemia Interactive has been playing their cards expertly, engaging the community with frequent content releases for the Alpha while simultaneously granting peaks at what is to the come. The Arma III Beta is to be released on the 25th of June while the final product is expected, at long last, in Q3 2013. Though Arma III is exclusively a Microsoft Windows game, it is nonethless a visual and conceptual masterpiece worthy of the entire gaming community's attention.
The game is set during the mid-2030's on the Greek islands of Altis (based on the large island of Lemnos) and the smaller Stratis (the colloquial name for Agios Efstratios, the island Stratis is based on) in the Northeast of the Aegean Sea. Bohemia Interactive's creative process for these two islands found its roots in real-life locations and then created photo-realistic terrain and water environments that are close to their inspirations but not exactly the same. The remarkable beauty of the landscape is further enhanced by a 20km view distance, volumetric clouds, and an improved lighting engine. With approximately 270 square kilometers of land available to the player, Altis will be the largest official map in the Arma series. Stratis will provide an additional 20 square kilometers of terrain. Together the two islands will feature over 50 villages with buildings that the player will be able to enter and destroy entirely.
In the single player campaign, the player will take control of British Special Forces soldier Captain Scott Miller. Miller is a member of the NATO forces defending the Greek islands of the Aegean against an immense Iranian offensive from the east. Initially the player must survive alone after a NATO operation suffers a stinging defeat. Over the course of the campaign the player will face everything from solo infiltrations to missions commanding large combined arms operations. Depending on his particular style, the player will be able to control the action, choosing different objectives as well as what weaponry to employ in each scenario. UAVs, artillery, and air support are rarely far from Miller's side during the battle for Altis and Stratis. With the introduction of ragdoll physics, more fluid radio chatter, and the possibility for weapon as well as uniform customization, this combat couldn't look or sound better.
The player can also take control of military equipment himself; this area of Arma III includes many new features, such as support for six degrees of freedom (usually roll is partial or forgone in shooter games). Vehicle handling is now physics enabled. Flying helicopters has been particularly improved with a new flight model from Take on Helicopters. However, the single most different features the game introduces to the Arma series are underwater environments, vehicles, and diving, all rendered with the same photo-realistic detail as the ground war. The inclusion of diving missions provides a thoroughly new and highly promising side to Arma III.
Overall, Arma III is set to be a visually stunning game, all the while carrying on the combat realism of the Arma series. For the Arma uninitiated, this combat realism extends far beyond the reach of the Call of Duty franchise and even of the vaunted Battlefield franchise. These two games are still basically arcade shooters (i.e. very close proximity firefights). The Arma series, on the other hand, particularly in the realm of infantry alone, delivers an experience which is far more realistic in terms of firefight range and ballistics. Arma III is taking this sturdy tactical shooter foundation and layering on sublime visuals, not to mention the truly new content. Mark the date of release in your calendars and be sure to get yourselves a copy of this must have.
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