Phew, finally we get some new names in the Steam top 10 (previous weeks here’n’that), after the chokehold of the Steam Summer Sale is loosened. I did not expect that number 1, but I really did not expect that number 10.
Arma 3 [official site] has jetted off on its summer hols with the launch of its Apex expansion today. Apex sends those surly soldiers to the sunny South Pacific to adventure on the tropical archipelago of Tanoa. Naturally, they’ve snuck a few fun toys into their luggage – one can hardly hit the beach without a thermal-masking uniform. A big update launched aside Apex too, with changes for all Arma 3.
No new indie millionaries this week: we’re still looking at the consequences of the Steam Summer Sale, so the weekly list of best-sellers is entirely devoid of new releases. Hordes of people who’d sat on the fence about 2015’s big games jumped on the discounts, and that means many familiar names. Of course, you discerning bunch went and bought all the games we recommended instead, didn’t you?
A shorter than usual weekly Steam best-sellers chart this week, primarily because almost everything is explained simply by the words “Steam Summer sale”, but partly because I’ve already spent a chunk of today compiling a big list of Sale recommendations to help our beloved readers’ purchasin’ decisions. You can have a pithy and/or explantory line about each game next week, promise. Meantime: these are the ten best-selling games on Steam last week. Expect next week’s to look wildly different, thanks to the ongoing and regularly changing sale.
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Arma 3 will jet off on its summer hols to the sunny South Pacific on July 11th, developers Bohemia announced during E3 this week. The military sim’s Apex expansion [official site] introduces the archipelago of Tanoa with 100 km² of sun, sea, shanty towns, sugar cane fields, and submachine guns. Along with a new area, it adds new vehicles, men, weapons and whatnot. Observe the customary E3 moving pictures:
Maybe you think you’ll like shooting things, but you’re not sure what flavour of shooting. Are you the type who likes tense, simulated military manshoots you can play with dozens of friends in wide open areas, with missions you make yourself and vehicles you can pilot and drive? Good news! Arma 3 is free on Steam this weekend.
Or are you the type who likes slightly-silly, rapid paced, run-and-gunning against chums and zombies? Good news! Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 multiplayer is free on Steam this weekend.
“You can imagine the editor as a military-themed Mario Maker on PC,” says one Bohemian in a video showing off the new editor coming to Arma 3 [official site] later this month. It certainly looks a lot friendlier than Arma editors of yore. Sure, folks have already managed to turn Arma into everything from a zombie apocalypses to a job simulator, but more approachable tools mean even more people making stuff. I am always in favour of more people making things. The more readme files the merrier, I always say. Missions and mods too, I suppose. Here, have a look at the new editor:
RPS Feature Arma's best roleplaying mod explored.
Altis Life is a mod for Arma 3 [official site] where players take on the role of paramedics, police officers, taxi drivers, salt miners and many other ordinary occupations. You start with a wad of cash and try to make your own way in the world. Maybe you start running minerals and metal between mines and refineries. Maybe you become a humble fruit picker and spend all your money on a sweet new scarf. Or maybe one day you’ll have an interview to become a medical helicopter pilot, conducted by other players. It’s all possible.
Recently I was dispatched to a UK server to make contact with the citizens. I discovered tales of banditry, traffic regulations, police corruption, salt barons and much more. Most of my information came from a criminal known as Hank. Here we offer you the chance to hear my ridealong with Hank firsthand (edited for time, of course).
RPS Feature Can a rookie play with Arma veterans?
There was a shot. It was not the sound guns make in Call of Duty or Battlefield. It was more of a sugar stick snapping or stretched bones cracking. Sparks was still running, his back occasionally illuminated by passing bullets. Careful, considered commands still coming over comms. I, however, was not moving. My vision blurred, and I fell. A crack later, and I was no longer in first person – cast into spectator mode by death.
This is how my first mission with Folk ARPS, the Rock, Paper, Shotgun joint Arma 3 outfit, came to an end.
Here is how it began.
RPS Feature A day with Arma 3's roleplaying mod
Hank receives a message. ‘Raise your altitude or be shot down’. Before either of us have time to consider it, we can hear the telltale crack of gunfire beneath us. Hank lifts the helicopter higher and higher until the gunshots ebb away. We are flying high over the orange streetlights of Kavala now, over the main street of the town, the bank, the fishmongers, the pub. I turn to Hank. Was that the police shooting at us?
“Yeah,” he says, hand on the stick, “that was small arms fire.”
Bohemia don’t always seem the most organised with how they update their games, whether it’s DayZ or Take On Mars, but they have been much better over the past few years with Arma 3 [official site]. I like especially their regular posts about their internal development roadmap, and there’s now a post and new footage outlining updates and expansions to come in 2016.
RPS Feature How To Get Involved
July is for lazy mornings in the sunshine, lounging around beer gardens with family in the afternoon, and tackling gaming challenges with friends in the evening. Despite the height of summer, the RPS community has continued to soar, with action in Arma 3 [official site], Europa Universalis [official site], Guild Wars 2 [official site] and Terraria [official site].
The South Pacific archipelago of Tanoa (pronounce that last part like in ‘quinoa’ or everyone will think you’re a right mug) will arrive in Bohemia’s military sim with an expansion in the first half of 2016. I don’t believe they’ve named the expansion yet. Of course, given that this announcement already leaked, all we really have to show you that’s new is the trailer we couldn’t see before:
RPS Feature Closed Circle
I remember my second kill in Battle Royale. The first one, like many first things in life, was somewhat sloppy and forgettable. The second one was different. It was at night and I was hiding in a ruined building in Agios Dionysios. The blue circle had just popped up and I was looking at the map when I heard the footsteps. A man ran past my building and stopped under a tree some 15 metres away, most likely to do the same thing I was doing – look at his map. All I had was a revolver. I peaked over the crumbled wall, aimed at his back and fired three times. Razmon – that was his name – flopped to the ground.
On a surface level Battle Royale is simply free-for-all deathmatch, but unlike most public multiplayer mods available for Arma 3 today, it’s based on skill and a tiny bit of luck. You can’t buy anything or grind to unlock anything. How well you do is down to your map reading skills, planning, situational awareness and gun handling. In this way, it’s the cleanest deliver of what makes Arma multiplayer great – and it’s playable against strangers, without the need to clear hurdles and join a community.
Forget Big Brother, the real gods of surveillance are ardent fans. A keen-eyed dude(ette) over at the Bohemia Interactive forums recently shared a shocking geographical discovery: a new South Pacific island has been spotted in the waters of Arma III [official site]. It seems a new expansion will be announced real soon.
RPS Feature Never in the field of human conflict...
Ready to discover once-and-for-all whether X-Plane is better than FSX? Whether Falcon 4.0 is better than Milk Float Simulator 2012? Ready to read the word ‘realism’ 46 times in a single hour, and spit feathers on discovering that the sim that
caused got you through your divorce has been cruelly cold-shouldered by an idiot with a bus fetish and a sci-fi blindspot the size of the Crab Nebula? You are? Splendid. You’re in the right place.
RPS Feature The Worthiest Reticules Of All Time
Me, I like my video game wars unrealistic enough that I can cross an entire battlefield in five carefully-placed strafejumps but you, you may fancy them more simmy. If you like your shooty-shoots militaristic and damned demanding, yet you haven’t hopped into the Arma 3 [official site] APC yet, hey: give it a go, as the whole game’s free to try in a free trial weekend on Steam.