by Ingvi SnŠdal
previewed on PC
Underwater gameplay was introduced in the Beta and features submersibles as well as the ability to dive. Specially modified underwater weaponry will allow players to engage in underwater fire fights and sneak unnoticed behind enemy lines, perform sabotage missions, and draw the enemy's attention away from the front lines.
While infantry combat is unquestionably the focus of the game, every vehicle is drivable. The factions are asymmetrically balanced and vehicles have their own strengths and weaknesses. NATO, for instance, will have light helicopters with advanced weapons, while the opposing force will have heavily armoured helicopters with more dated arms. Tanks come in many shapes and sizes, each designed with a specific purpose in mind. Driving a tank looks satisfying and multiple players can take up seats within, quite reminiscent of the Red Orchestra series.
Flying a helicopter is truly a challenge, and it is meant to be. The process from practice to perfection will take a long time, but once that is achieved, flying a helicopter through the air with the agility of a hummingbird will make you a vital part in any team, and a thorn in the paw of any enemy. Drones come in two types: unarmed ultra-light flying spy drones and six-wheeled all-terrain assault vehicles with a mounted turret and grenade launcher. Waypoints can be set for the UAV and it will automatically radio back enemy positions while you concentrate on other things. Commanders can designate targets for artillery and artillery gunners - assuming they are not too close or too far from the target - can fire upon them using the tactical map. That tactical map will play a big part in organising the troops and - if properly used - could mean the difference between a successful assault and a humiliating fiasco.
At launch, players will be able to play around with the mission editor, create missions, and upload them to Steam for other players to enjoy. Allowing the modding of tanks, terrain, and weapons is on the drawing board, but will not be introduced upon launch. The developers say that, if you are able to run Arma 2 on the highest graphics setting, you will be able to run Arma 3 on normal settings. Something I did not personally find to be true playing the Beta, but the graphics engine could have been optimized quite a bit since then.
The beta has been very well received and the online multiplayer community is already well populated with active players. It is no secret that Arma fans are eagerly awaiting its release and I for one will be camping out for this one, so to speak.