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Land, Sea, And Car: ARMA III Bares All

I must remember to ask Battlefield 3 if this counts as an ARMA-ed Kill.

Well, maybe not quite all, but ARMA III‘s debuted three rather sizable portions of its E3 demo, and – while I’m a bit unsettled by the sudden and ominous proliferation of threes in my life – I’m definitely impressed. Nighttime combat, underwater features, and vehicles are all given lengthy turns in the spotlight here – though sadly, the fascinating character of “suicidal goat” is only briefly explored in one of them. And of course, each is exceedingly gorgeous, but – as the old saying goes – staring at gloriously rendered mountains and going “ooooooooooo pretty” is only half the battle.

It’s a wondrous thing, isn’t it? ARMA II’s already proven quite adept at being realistic and open, so “bigger, better, more” is just about the best approach Bohemia could be taking without adding laser horses. The pitch-black night combat, especially, seems rife with potential for both tactical sneaking and all-out unpredictable chaos. Vehicular stuff, meanwhile, looks nice enough, but I wish we got to see more than just ground-bound options. And oh my, diving seems like it’ll open up all sorts of new possibilities – especially in terms of getting the drop on enemies or, failing that, tremendously changing the pace and range of combat.

Admittedly, this footage is mostly focused on nuts-and-bolts technical improvements, so Bohemia’s still saving its biggest guns (which will, in all likelihood, take the form of, you know, big guns) for later. I can’t wait to see a larger skirmish combining a bunch of these elements, though. If it all comes together well, I think ARMA III stands to be pretty damn special. Well, assuming the engine holds up – and, based on the brief snippet of the E3 demo I got to go hands-on with, I have very little reason to assume it won’t.

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Nathan Grayson

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