This weekend's Steam sale is all about the Call of Duty. If you're looking for a shooter that's deeper, more complex, more unforgiving and more glitchy, you'd be better off going to Bohemia Interactive's store. There you can pick up the excellent Arma 3 for a 50% discount.
Arma 3 is good at many things. Bohemia Interactive’s military sim is a huge, open-world playground where action dramas unfold, but its greatest strengths show when it dwarfs you with scale. Being a lone sniper in three miles of sprawling mountain wilderness or driving with a vanguard of advancing tanks will strike awe into the heart of the most jaded gamer. Whatever it’s doing, Arma paints these experiences in broad strokes you can’t find anywhere else in gaming.
On the other hand, Take On Helicopters, Bohemia’s 2011 helicopter simulator, was great at a single, specific thing: modeling helicopter flight physics. Beyond the high-definition cockpit, its world was a blocky and lifeless version of Seattle. Seattle wasn’t the point, though: the inside of that cockpit was the point. All the love in that game went straight into those dials.
It's The PC Gamer Show! In episode three we're introducing the new Large Pixel Collider Jr. with an afternoon of special living room gaming challenges. Can Counter-Strike maven Evan Lahti win when he's forced to play with an Xbox controller? Who will survive the frictionless mayhem of GTA 4's Carmageddon mod? Plus, we play upcoming electronic sport Videoball, and PC Gamer UK walks us through ARMA 3's awesome Zeus mode.
What does it take to rattle 80-some veteran players of Earth’s most hardcore military sim? ShackTac bossman Dslyecxi pointed me to this insane firefight and extraction attempt in one of his recent videos. Short on ammo, shorter on men, and their backs literally against a wall that may or may not be indestructible, Dslyecxi leads the survivors of a trapped infantry unit as they improvise an escape plan.
The Arma series is famous for its massive multiplayer battles, but there’s still fun to be had on the war-torn islands of Stratis and Altis by yourself. These missions can all be played solo, with a focus on small squads, infantry, or infiltration. They’ve all been created by Arma players using the game’s powerful built-in editing tools, and some are as impressive as anything in Bohemia’s own campaign.
For those not familiar with its particular brand of simulation, Arma 3 can be a daunting thing to approach. Don't let our recent, barely competent shenanigans fool you; there's a deep vein of realism at the heart of Bohemia's shooter and, with it, a level of complexity that can be difficult to parse. Hope comes in the form of the just released Bootcamp update. More than just a tutorial, it's designed to teach you the underlying principles powering the game. And all without R. Lee Ermey screaming in your face.
This afternoon, PC Gamer will be at the mercy of a vengeful, Scottish god. We'll be playing Zeus, ArmA III's on-the-fly adventure mode, where we'll be subjected to the trials and tribulations of our own Andy Kelly. The action kicks off at 2.30pm BST—check here for local times—and will run until we've experienced the full scope of Andy's twisted design.
ArmA 3 is a challenging game to learn, especially so when it comes to piloting choppers. Enter the Pilot Civilian Air Rescue mod, which features a number of single-player Mohawk chopper missions, from insertion (transporting doctors to a combat zone), extraction (retrieving injured NPCs and delivering them to a hospital), and even search and rescue, in which you look for lost hikers or downed pilots and ferry them back to safety. It's a great way to hone your chopper flying skills offline while getting a warm and fuzzy feeling from helping NPCs in need.
You thought it was funny that Arma 3 now has kart racing, didn’t you? Well pull yourself together, because the April Fools gag-cum-actual feature has managed to raise a million Czech koruna for the country’s Red Cross. That’s nearly US$50 grand.
As promised in May, Bohemia Interactive will release a substantial Arma 3 update imminently. The Bootcamp update will introduce a range of modes and features designed to ease new players into the notoriously complicated military sim, and to prove that “Arma is far from impenetrable”. These include a Bootcamp campaign, a special Bootcamp multiplayer mode, Virtual Training and a Virtual Arsenal.
While it offers an experience altogether different from the zombie violence of its sister-title DayZ, Arma 3 also looks to have struck a chord in the hearts and minds of PC gamers since its release last year. The military sim has sold one million copies, according to an announcement this week by Bohemia Interactive head Marek Spanel.
Arma 3 Karts began life as an April Fools' joke, but as sometimes happens, fans thought it was actually a pretty cool idea. So Bohemia Interactive decided to run with it, and the result is Arma 3 Karts, released today as an honest-to-goodness DLC pack for the famed military shooter, with a portion of sales going to charity.
Videogame war is fun. Real war is hell. It's a distinction that Arma 3 studio Bohemia Interactive seems anxious to make with the addition of a new and unique prize to its "Make Arma, Not War" content creation contest: the company will send a lucky winner to a conflict zone on a humanitarian mission providing aid to people displaced or harmed by the ravages of war.
Bohemia Interactive are 15 years old. And while I forgot to get them a present, they're going to give you one: a free weekend trial of Arma 3, and a free copy of ARMA: Cold War. In addition, the entirety of the Bohemia catalogue is now on sale on Steam. If you're a fan of military simulations—or of underwater puzzle games about secret agent fish—it's going to be a weekend to remember.
Bohemia Interactive did a great job of supporting previous Arma games after launch and it looks like Arma 3 will get just as much attention—if not more. Today, in a post to its official website, the studio outlined its plans for the rest of 2014 and 2015, promising better mod support, entirely new features, and vague details about a coming expansion.
Bohemia Interactive have released a whole series of community guides, focused on teaching the game's players to be better soldiers. This latest one is a little more ambitious: teaching how to be a better god. Specifically the god Zeus, who sits atop the battlefield as game master of troops, tanks and tactical assaults. The video is devoted entirely to Arma 3's new Zeus multiplayer mode, and features Shack Tactical's 'Dslyecxi' explaining how to get the most out of its birds-eye military management.
Online matchmaking client GameSpy is shutting down on May 31, which means that the games that still rely on it will have to either transition to a new solution or go offline. It looked pretty grim for a long list of games when we first heard the news, but since then most of the popular games announced that they will not go silently into the night. Today, we got the great news from 2K that there might be bit of downtime, but that Borderlands and the Civilization series will be transitioning to Steamworks.
In ancient Greece, Zeus was a pretty powerful guy: dispensing justice, lightning bolts, and an army of offspring conceived under pretty perverse circumstances. In modern Greece—albeit the fictional modern Greece of Arma 3—Zeus also has some powers. Only in this instance they extend to tanks, soldiers and inconveniently placed bollards. The soldier sim's free Zeus multiplayer DLC is now available, giving would-be gods the chance to GM an Arma operation.