Arma 3 is the latest title in the famous military simulator franchise from developer Bohemia Interactive. Currently available in alpha as part of the Steam Early Access library, we were lucky enough to get our hands on a Lite key. Arma 3 Alpha Lite keys allow gamers to test out some of the singleplayer elements of Arma 3 without purchasing the game.
As soon as you start playing Arma 3, you will instantly notice the improvements. The first and most evident change is the massive visual and graphical improvements. Arma 2 is not a bad looking game, but there is still a distinctive jump. Textures seem sharper but this isn’t all that is improved visually. The terrain seems to be more varied and flowing, making it feel most realistic. To top it off the structures are less cardboard box like; although bugs often occur when parts of buildings are damaged, especially windows. I’m hoping this will be fixed before Arma 3 leaves alpha stage.
The next thing that gamers will notice is the slightly more accessible control scheme. They are certainly not simple enough to be deemed close to “pick up and play” controls. Also, I would strongly advise against attempting to remap keys; however the controls seem easier to do the basic things with plenty of options for the advanced players. Like in Arma 2, players can lean with Q and E, crouch with X, go prone with Z and rotate only the character’s head by holding alt. Now furthering the lean feature there is stance adjustment by holding control. This highlights that there are easy controls but players can do more advanced things if they so wish.
The state of Arma 3 can best be described as incredibly smooth in comparison to Arma 2. There are a lot of small bugs, but I have yet to come across any game breaking or crashing bugs. It is almost the case that the alpha is in the same state as the current version of Arma 2 despite still having plenty of time prior to release. Naturally Bohemia Interactive will be developing and testing the game on the highest end PCs but even with a slightly older PC, the game is handled very well with no major frame rate issues. The firefights I encountered were mostly on the small scale side and with more going on is often when issues will occur, but I was pleasantly surprised at the smoothness of the gameplay.
One issue that hasn’t been truly fixed from Arma 2 are the odd decisions sometimes made by the A.I. When you are spotted, the enemy seems to either run towards or away from you. While cover is used by the A.I., it isn’t often used to amazing affect. Again with other issues I don’t want to highlight them too much. It is only in alpha and improvements are bound to happen, but smarter A.I. is needed.
The inventory system used in previous Arma titles can be best described as a slow and painful experience. Personally, the problems were bets highlighted on the DayZ mod when players needed to quickly grab and loot items, unfortunately nothing could be done quickly with it unless you had spent hours upon hours using it. The inventory is now faster and simpler to use. On a game that is potentially very complicated even small changes like this make a vast improvement.
The step from Arma 2 to 3 is simply said to be an improvement. By no means am I good at playing Arma 3, but I feel less daunted by the game than previous titles in the franchise. It seems more accessible and a lot of issues that players have had with the last game have been addressed. It goes some way to inviting new players to the series whilst keeping itself true for the long time fans. Arma 3 is a military simulator at the end of the day but one that many will enjoy. If you think you might, buy the alpha now and become part of the games development.