Are One Era’s Complaints Worse Than Another’s?

The last major thing I picked up during the Steam sale was ArmA 3. I know I said a while back I’d stop blogging about ArmA 2, but that was ArmA 2. This new game feels like a whole other level, though I’m barely scratching its surface right now. I’ve only just finished the first section of its campaign, which I’m told changes dramatically in the following two sections. More than anything else, that first chapter reminded me of what military shooters were like before Modern Warfare took over the industry.

I’m not even talking about just tactical shooters either, but military-themed shooters in general. It feels like the thought process of a PS2-era action game brought to today’s technology. ArmA 3 is supposed to be an open-world military simulation like its predecessor, but the first third of its campaign is actually a collection of pretty linear missions. In effect, it feels like a standard military shooter from 15 years ago on today’s technology. It reminds me of all the things we complained about before Call of Duty gave us new things to complain about.

Actually, the main campaign of ArmA 2’s expansion, Operation Arrowhead, had pretty much the same feeling. Instead of endlessly moving from scene to scene we’re back to mission briefings in ArmA. Even though the paths in ArmA 3’s early campaign are relatively determined, they’re still wide paths where you have some latitude with how to fight battles. It is linear, but not scripted.

I’m not down on Call of Duty, Halo, and Gears of War at all though. I just think the majority of modern military-themed shooters have done a poor job of imitating those games, misunderstanding why they did what they did.

ArmA 3’s early campaign reminds me a lot of the early SOCOM games on the PS2. Structurally the squad tactics and objective structure remind me of Ace Combat missions. Arrowhead’s abundance of vehicle-based missions had the same effect — to the point where I found myself turning on Ace Combat briefing music during Arrowhead’s briefings. Maybe the only difference is that the older games keep the player on a slightly looser leash and don’t rely so much on elaborate scripted events or QTEs.

And I remember people used to complain about military-themed games back then too. They were just complaining about doing the same objectives (secure this point, plant this bomb, etc.) and the games having repetitive storylines. I feel slightly relieved to go back to that crap in an era where people instead complain about the abundance of QTE’s and tight corridors.

I’m not saying this as some profound reason why ArmA 3 is a great game or anything. Playing these linear missions within this open world just reminds me of an earlier era, as well as the differences between that era and this one.

I guess none of that really matters how because from what I understand ArmA 3’s campaign becomes a very open-world affair from here onwards.


  • New roguelike to keep track of.
  • Like clockwork, Super Time Force get’s announced for Steam.
  • Dave Chappelle went hard on Donald Sterling
  • This “Ultima Ascension” thing from the Ultima Underworld guys sounds extremely intriguing. First we get a bunch of people resurrecting classic isometric RPGs, now somebody might be trying to resurrect classic-style immersive simulation RPGs. I just hope they can get the production capital to do it.
  • RIP Animated Series Gordon.
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