Tag Archives: arma 3

Arma 3 Contact Refines Bohemia’s Campaign Design

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Over the last week or so I finally got to the new Arma 3 “Contact” expansion pack. From what I can tell it hasn’t garnered a lot of buzz outside of people already playing Arma 3. Maybe it wasn’t most Arma fans were expecting, but I rather liked the mini story campaign that came with Contact.

You may have heard that Contact is an expansion that adds a “what if” alien first contact scenario to Arma 3’s hardcore military simulator. Let me get this out of the way first: you don’t actually shoot at aliens or get shot at by aliens. It’s closer to that movie Arrival where you see the conflicts between different groups of people dealing with first contact while trying to figure out how to communicate with the aliens.

I think it resulted in an interesting mix of new gameplay mechanics in service to a story that’s downright odd for this kind of game. Following up a previous DLC pack about land mines and the different humanitarian angles of war, Contact makes me feel like developer Bohemia Interactive is really trying to branch out. For years modders themselves have used Arma as a base to build games in completely different genres — among them the mod that literally invented Battle Royale games, so it makes sense Bohemia would experiment more. But Contact also feels a bit more refined compared to previous Arma 3 official campaign stuff. Continue reading

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Arma 3 DRO Mod Adds “Combined Arms” Mode

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For a while now the mod that has taken up most of my time with Arma 3 has been “Dynamic Recon Ops”, which I’ve written about multiple times here and recently wrote about for Wargamer.com. Seemingly in sync with Arma 3’s new “Contact” expansion but not necessarily directly related to it, DRO just got another significant update that actually added a new mode. Continue reading

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TRGM2: Another Mod To Exemplify Arma 3’s Sandbox

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Wargamer.com just ran my latest piece about Dynamic Recon Ops and another new Arma 3 mod that seems to compete with it — TRGM2. In the article I give a basic rundown of what the two mods do and contrast how they do it. Generally, compared to what I’ve written before about DRO, TRGM2 sacrifices some variety for a more intricate and challenging experience.

What I couldn’t really work into that story’s word count though is an anecdotal description of things I’ve done in TRGM2 that I probably wouldn’t be able to do in DRO (and other military shooters for that matter). So here’s just one recent example of my messing around with the different systems and thinking about how I could take them further. If you haven’t played Arma and haven’t read anything about it, what I’m about to describe is a pretty good example of its crossing of tactical shooter, vehicle combat, and real-time strategy elements. Continue reading

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Arma 3 “Tanks”: More Toys In The Sandbox

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Arma 3’s final expansion, “Tanks,” came out last week and I was able to check it out for a bit. I don’t think anyone else outside hardcore military simulation fans are talking about it so I thought I’d go into it a bit here. Despite my 450+ hours on the game, I definitely wouldn’t say I’m “in deep” with the MilSim crowd.

I remember seeing videos of some other hardcore tank simulator, but I have no idea how Arma 3’s “Tanks” compares to a single-purpose simulator like that. I imagine it’s not as in-depth since it’s a combined-arms game with a far broader spread of gameplay from on-foot to vehicles to aircraft. That being said, what’s in “Tanks” is still somewhat bewildering to someone like me. Continue reading

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Dynamic Recon Ops: Big Expansion And Big “Sequel” Mod

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I let Arma 3 back into my life despite knowing how much time it would suck away from other games like Zelda Breath of the Wild. I figured I’d almost never get the chance to go back to it if I always put newer games in front of it. Bohemia Interactive also just added a new map — “Malden 2035” that’s apparently a remake of a map from the original Operation Flashpoint. Then you’ve got that new free game Argo that’s based on the systems of Arma.

My current favorite mod, “Dynamic Recon Ops,” from modder Mark “mbrdmn” Boardman has been getting significant updates in the months since I took a break from it, and I guess it’s time to talk a little bit about them. Continue reading

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My 2016 Top 10 Games List

People seem to think 2016 was generally an awful year, but at least it was a good year for video games, probably even better than 2015. 2015 I feel is when AAA games emerged from a sort of rut that started after 2011 as developers were getting used to new hardware. 2016 is proof some kind of good trend is in full swing. I usually don’t force myself to pick 10 games I think are the best of a year, but the fact that I was actually able to pick that many games I immensely enjoyed this year is a great sign.

One thing I also noted is the games on my list tend to be exactly the kinds of games that performed somewhat below expectations commercially because of changing trends in the business. The big budget game business is starting to favor continuous services providing online interactions and rolling content updates. Most of my favorite games were singleplayer with little online interaction — the kind of game that generally stays the same after the initial purchase. I feel like we got a lot of great games of that type in 2016 — games where the developers somehow got a lot of resources to invest not into devices for player retention, but into simply crafting good level design and pretty game worlds for players to explore. Maybe that’s why their weakness in the marketplace against Games As A Service was more visible this year.

Before I start on the list though I should go over the games I couldn’t get to in 2016 and actually didn’t mention in my earlier post about this. Firstly, a lot of seemingly great RPGs came out in 2016, particularly on handheld systems, that I never even tried to find the time to buy or play. Fire Emblem Fates and Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse look like perfectly fine games. Pokemon Sun & Moon also got quite a bit of hype and praise but I’m so hopelessly far behind in Pokemon I mostly just scrolled past it all on my social media. I want to get to it someday though. Also, I pretty much didn’t touch most of 2016’s indie games. I think I was able to finish Firewatch and Inside and that’s it. I bought a few others like Oxenfree and Hyper Light Drifter. I’m sure a lot of those games were great, it’s just that the more time-heavy AAA games got really good in 2016.

And onto the list, starting from the top:

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Assault On Saint-George Airstrip: An ArmA 3 Story

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The mission I just completed in ArmA 3’s Dynamic Recon Ops mod should make a nice send-off as I put the game down for a while. I haven’t gotten bored with ArmA 3. Far from it — it’s starting to suck my time away from other games. After probably more than 250 hours I need to rip myself away from it. Continue reading

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ArmA III: Dynamic Recon Ops Has Been Improving

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Since I wrote about it in July, the ArmA III mod “Dynamic Recon Ops” continues to develop, adding features and squashing bugs. It was already really fun then, but now has become a far more functional and content-rich sandbox within ArmA’s existing sandbox. Continue reading

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Up-And-Comig ArmA 3 Mod: Dynamic Recon Ops

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Operation Swampforce had me leading a team of three AI recon soldiers into a lumber mill just north of the town of Berezino to assassinate an officer, blow up a storehouse, and grab some intel. Overall the mission went off without anything too disastrous happening, but I did have to call some audibles which put the team into some pretty serious gunfights. This all came out of an ArmA 3 mod based on random generation.

A lot of ArmA 3 mods rely on randomly throwing a bunch of factors together, often with mixed results. This game is the kind of simulator with a bunch of systems that react to each other so dynamically that just tossing them all together in a bunch of random ways: enemy placement, objective generation, Bohemia Interactive’s large and dense maps, can create some legitimately cool situations. The recently released “Dynamic Recon Ops” from mbrdmn is the most successful attempt at this I’ve seen yet, and it’s because it seems to take a more measured approach to random generation. Continue reading

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ArmA 3 Apex Impressions Part Two

arma3_2016_07_22_19_44_29_687So I’ve finished the main campaign that came with the ArmA 3 expansion, Apex, after putting down some quick words about it. Other than a pretty good write-up from Kotaku, I don’t see much critique of the expansion coming from major websites. Continue reading

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