The Arma 3 Alpha has shot to the top of the Steam charts, and for good reason. It's looking like Bohemia's most potent offering yet.
Trailer and thoughts below.
First up, I should point this out: ARGH. The alpha has stopped working on my PC. I've reinstalled it from scratch, done all the requisite PC game tinkering, and still nothing. Baffling. I am crying. There are number of things you can take from this: one, it suggests that I am a technical incompetent who has done something terrible to his PC. Or it could be a sign that this is, well, an alpha. But don't forget I that I am crying. Crying, like Roy Orbison in a love song. And that's because I want to play more, because Arma 3 is so beautiful. (Was it love at first mouse/keyboard interaction?)
Needless to say, I am abusing my journalist powers to badger BIS directly for technical support. Also, I got to have had a good kick about in it, so here are some battle thoughts:
- Holy cow, this is slick.
Yeah, it's marvellously improved on Arma 2 in all manner of ways: lighting, animation and so forth. Even the "MAN AT ONE HUNDRED METERS" stuff actually sounds more like real people, and is markedly less absurd. And this feeling of ooh slickness begins at the title screen and continues as you head into the game. It's a handsome beast if ever I saw one. BIS weren't pulling your leg when they said that fixing the rough edges they've become known for was important this time around. This higher level of polish, combined with a decade of iteration on (basically) the same game, is paying off like a century of implicating professional bankers in central government.
- I Can't Wait To Explore This.
That's pretty much the next thought I had. Arma 2's maps were fairly interesting by large PC game environment standards, but the BIS team are at full power for Arma 3, and you have every reason to go off-piste and explore. Hell, this is only the small island for the alpha, and there's still plenty to hike about and see. I am sucker for wandering in digital worlds at the worst of times, and this isn't one of those.
- Unexpectedly, Performance Is About Comparable With Arma 2
Arma 2 ran pretty well on my i5 2500k and 560ti, and the same is true here for Arma 3, only with the game looking a whole lot better thanks to the improved lighting and general detail level. The view distance and range that things have been drawn in Arma 2 were pretty impressive, but the fidelity at range seems to be far higher here. I didn't get a chance to play with the editor before my catastrophic launch fail, so I can't really throw stuff in to see how it fares. I will do that when I get it working again.
- You can go underwater!
It's a thing now! Might be rubbish.
- I Still Can't Do Vehicles!
I know this is supposed to be easier now, thanks to Take On Helicopters, possibly, but I still completely suck at it. I won't be getting my chopper out for you.
- It Has The Best Crouch And Lean Functions Ever.
Really, I have never really spent that much time contemplating crouching or leaning, except where games that need it do not have it down, and it makes life awkward. Yet here's Bohemia making it so that you can change stance within crouching and leaning. Basically standing, crouch, and prone, each have a secondary stance, allowing you to adjust your height relative to cover in a more realistic fashion - avoiding the classic "I must stand up completely straight to shoot over this rock, and yet risk being shot by the baddies", which is faced by no soldiers I real life, ever. It's amazing stuff, if a bit fiddly, and I can't wait to get proficient with it. I have a Track IR in the post to me.
Hang on: "I can't wait to get to proficient with it." AM I A ROBOT NOW?
- Yeah, Movement Is Really Improved.
You can even speed up and slow down in prone stances. It's like a simulation or something! Brill.
And here's a trailer: