|Director(s)||Joris-Jan van 't Land|
|Engine||Real Virtuality 4|
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, Linux, macOS|
OS X, Linux
ARMA 3 is an open-world, realism-based, military tactical shooter video game developed and published by Bohemia Interactive exclusively through the Steam distribution platform. It was released for Microsoft Windows in September 2013, and later announced for macOS and Linux in August 2015.
ARMA 3 mainly takes place in the mid-2030s, on the fictional islands of Altis and Stratis in the Aegean Sea, and the South Pacific island of Tanoa, as well as the island of Malden and a landlocked terrain set in the historical region of Livonia. The islands feature photo-realistic terrain and water environments. Altis is the largest official terrain in the ARMA series with ground area covering approximately 270 square kilometres (100 sq mi). The smaller island, Stratis, expands over an area of 20 square kilometres (7.7 sq mi).
The single-player campaign has the player take control of U.S. Army soldier Corporal Ben Kerry. During the campaign, the player is placed in a variety of situations, from lone wolf infiltration missions to the commanding of large-scale armored operations. The player is able to choose different objectives and weaponry (such as UAVs, artillery, and air support) according to their play style.
Since its initial release, the ARMA 3 platform has been actively maintained and extended by Bohemia Interactive and publishing partners with almost twenty significant game engine updates and downloadable content (DLC) releases, including most recently, in 2021, a major Vietnam War era DLC expansion S.O.G Prairie Fire.
ARMA 3 also has a very active modding community that has published nearly 90,000 mods, adding thousands of additional terrains, buildings, vehicles, weapons, placeable objects, missions, campaigns, and game mechanics enhancements, most of which are freely and easily available from the Steam Workshop.
Despite its relative age, ARMA 3 maintains a substantial player community, often being in the top 50 games (by active players) on Steam, with hundreds of official and community multi-player servers, community groups, and many dedicated ARMA 3 mil-sim realism groups.
ARMA 3 is set in the 2030s, when a new Eastern military alliance, known as the Canton-Protocol Strategic Alliance Treaty (CSAT), led by Iran and China, is growing in global influence, while the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is on the decline.
The story of ARMA 3 takes place over a variety of campaigns which introduce the player to the world of the game and give them new things to discover and challenges to overcome. There are four large story-based campaigns and a variety of smaller ones that take players through unique scenarios as different characters. The four main campaigns are:
The East Wind is broken into a three-act structure, with each act concerning a different state of affairs regarding the crisis on Altis. The acts are titled Survive, Adapt and Win respectively. Survive concerns the player character (NATO Corporal Ben Kerry) trying to survive while being hunted by the AAF. Adapt involves him and an FIA cell (the government-in-exile) on Altis waging guerilla warfare against the AAF. Win involves Kerry and the FIA linking up with NATO forces as they push the AAF back into a surrender.
Following continued fighting between the AAF and FIA, NATO peacekeepers are preparing to leave the country. This is interrupted when the AAF, seemingly without provocation, attack NATO forces and a state of war is de facto declared. Kerry regroups with a British special forces unit led by Captain Scott Miller after his commanding officer is killed. Miller organizes a number of ineffective guerilla missions against the AAF from Camp Maxell on Stratis in an attempt to get a foothold. Kerry assists his surviving allies in an assault on Air Station Mike-26 to make contact with NATO, but this fails and the equipment is destroyed. Afterwards, Miller's group meets with an FIA operative named Nikos Panagopoulos, who informs them of a cache on the island, which they find trashed by the AAF. After numerous skirmishes, Miller informs his team that he reached NATO MEDCOM and that their job is clear out a town to the south to stage a landing zone for reinforcements. They are initially successful, but a CSAT strike force fires on them, killing most of the remaining survivors, and they are forced to flee to Altis, where they plan to meet up with the FIA. While fleeing Stratis, their flotilla of speedboats is attacked by AAF planes and most of the vessels are capsized.
Kerry washes up on the beaches of Kavala and makes his way to Miller's second-in-command, Lt. James, in the midst of a battle. They link up with the northern cell of the FIA, led by Kostas Stavrou. Stavrou orders Kerry to command a series of dangerous missions from an old factory complex in order to regain supplies they had lost during fights against the AAF and CSAT. The operations, though costly, are successful, and they begin to go on the offensive. The FIA discover their supplier, who is revealed as Nikos, is being held on Stratis, so Kerry and Miller launch an assault on the island to rescue him. It is successful, and Nikos informs them that he has discovered that NATO are planning an invasion of Altis. Armed with this knowledge, the guerillas assault various positions near the drop zone to ensure a safe landing for NATO reinforcements. However, NATO forces arrive and fire on the guerillas, mistaking them for hostiles. Kerry flags down a crashed gunship and informs them that they're friendly, and inquires to the whereabouts of Scott Miller. The NATO commanding officer, David Armstrong, informs Kerry that they have no one in the database by the name of Scott Miller, and that the United Kingdom pulled out of Altis months before the flashpoint.
Kerry links up with the NATO forces and is reluctantly assigned various unimportant jobs in the early days of the NATO offensive. Armstrong is distrustful of Kerry, due to the fact that he is the only surviving member of the peacekeepers and is in contact with an unknown special forces operator. Throughout the days following, Kerry proves his loyalty to Armstrong and is permitted to lead a squad of guerillas, and then eventually his own squad of NATO soldiers, to perform various assaults and defenses to support the main offensive. During these operations, an unusually high number of earthquakes is detected throughout the island, which temporarily disrupt NATO operations. Kerry is contacted by Armstrong, who absolves him of suspicion, but warns that he should stay out of contact with Miller and that the information is highly classified. After the assaults, the AAF is on the verge of defeat, so Armstrong orders all NATO forces to regroup for the final offensive. Right afterwards, Kerry is contacted through a broken transmission by Lieutenant James, who provides his location and asks for assistance. Depending on the choices the player makes, he can either:
The canonical ending (choosing to obey orders) grants access to a final mission which allows the player to witness the end of the Altis flashpoint. Kerry, now promoted to Sergeant, is helping the remaining NATO forces stabilize the country. He meets a reporter at the airport and drives him to a nearby town for an interview with Nikos, who is now running for government. After Kerry says his farewells, the campaign ends.
Following a major tsunami in Southeast Asia known as the Pacific Disaster, the paramilitary crime syndicate Syndikat rises to power in several regions of the former French colony of Tanoa. Finding the Syndikat's rapid expansion and supply of extremely advanced equipment suspicious, NATO sends in the highly-classified black ops unit the Combat and Technology Research Group (CTRG), under CTRG Group 15.
Group 15, under callsign "Raider", deploys on Tanoa and conducts several operations against Syndikat to weaken and provoke them, as well as to discover the whereabouts of their upper members. They discover evidence that China, a member of CSAT, is supplying and supporting Syndikat. During an operation to capture the leader of Syndikat, Solomon Maru, Group 15 is ambushed by an elite special forces unit of the Chinese army known as the Viper Team and forced to withdraw.
Following the ambush, Raider conducts a seemingly unrelated operation to rescue CTRG asset codenamed "Keystone". Once rescued, it is revealed that Keystone is Captain Scott Miller, leader of CTRG Group 14, working undercover as a UKSF operator. His true purpose on Altis (wherein it is heavily implied he caused the flashpoint by bombing Kerry's commander) is revealed to be the monitoring of the Eastwind Device, a tectonic weapon of mass destruction developed in cooperation by CSAT member states. After Altis, the device was transported out of the country and Miller believes that China used the Eastwind Device to manufacture the Pacific Disaster and secretly created the Syndikat, all to destabilize Tanoa and make it vulnerable to influence through support from China and other CSAT countries in the fallout.
After rescuing Miller, CTRG raids a Viper Team black site to locate the Eastwind Device. They find the black site already attacked and abandoned, and soon learn that Syndikat double-crossed China and the Viper Team and are holding the Eastwind Device as ransom. CTRG also recovers documents concerning CSAT's "Apex Protocol," which is a set of plans detailing how the Eastwind Device and other undetectable methods can be used to manufacture crises and make target nations vulnerable to influence through CSAT support. With Miller's assumptions vindicated, NATO sets out to expose CSAT and safely recover the Eastwind Device.
CTRG tracks the device to a port in the north of Tanoa, where CSAT is attempting to negotiate with Syndikat to get the device back. However, Maru is unsatisfied and unexpectedly arms the device, causing panic. CTRG assaults the port, fighting against both Syndikat and the Viper Team, and manages to successfully eliminate Solomon Maru, disarm the device and transport it safely away. Following the operation, CTRG quietly leaks a redacted version of the Apex Protocol documents to the press, which leads to worldwide condemnation of CSAT's aggressive expansionism.
Days after the end of the NATO invasion of Altis, a mechanic from the Altian town of Oreokastro by the name of Markos Kouris returns to his ruined home after hearing news that his missing brother had appeared at the town's church in a recent firefight. As he searches the church for evidence of his brother's whereabouts, he is killed by a landmine.
Several days later, journalist Katherine Bishop, working for AAN News, conducts an online interview with bomb disposal expert Nathan MacDade, who works for the humanitarian NGO the International Development and Aid Project (IDAP). His job is to dispose of the explosive remnants of war in the town of Oreokastro, which was almost completely destroyed during the Altian Civil War. Nathan, who was in the town's IDAP camp before and during the war, recounts his experiences of the various sides of the conflict and how it began and ended through five playable scenarios which each depict a different facet of the town and the war. In all five, the player's choices make an impact on how Nathan recounts the story, and he will comment if things go awry.
After all five sequences are completed, Katherine asks Nathan about who he thinks is most responsible for the tragedies of Oreokastro: NATO, CSAT, the AAF, the FIA, or "everyone and no one." Nathan responds with a pretermined justification, and shortly afterwards Katherine gives the player access to a draft of her article on the war in Altis and on Oreokastro. The contents of the article change depending on the player's choices in the memory sequences and the final few paragraphs change depending on who the player gives as most responsible for Oreokastro's destruction. The player's final objective is to clear all remaining mines in the town and complete whatever else remains. After this, Nathan says goodbye to Katherine and gets back in his van, where he drives off to his next assignment.
Bohemia Interactive officially announced the development of ARMA 3 on May 19, 2011. In June 2012 an alpha version of the game was demonstrated at E3. In August 2013, Bohemia Interactive announced that they will release three downloadable content episodes for free after the game's initial launch. An alpha version of the game was released on March 5, 2013, allowing players to experience the game during development, as well as assist in development by reporting bugs and giving feedback on their experience. The beta version was released on June 25, 2013, and anyone who owned the alpha would have their copy automatically upgraded. The final version of ARMA 3 was launched on September 12, 2013. At its launch, ARMA 3 featured more showcase missions and the large island of Altis.
ARMA 3 uses a new version of Bohemia Interactive's Real Virtuality game engine.
In February 2014 the first, free DLC for the game, entitled Zeus, was announced. It allows players to use the game's Zeus mode in multiplayer where the player(s) designated as Zeus gain god-like powers and can control scenarios in real time using a full 3D overview of the match reminiscent of the game's Eden editor's primary interface. Zeus was released on April 10, 2014.
Bohemia Interactive featured an April Fool's joke video on April 1, 2014. It announced a DLC Karts that would add a Go-kart racing into the game. The video was a parody of Jean-Claude Van Damme's Splendid Split video using the character of Scott Miller. The video became popular and fans liked the idea so Bohemia Interactive released the DLC on May 29, 2014. The DLC added 20 types of Karts and objects useful for creating tracks and driver models. ARMA 3: Karts is the first paid DLC for ARMA 3.
The Helicopters DLC is second premium DLC for Arma 3 and was released on November 4, 2014. Content exclusive for owners of this DLC includes two new heavy transport helicopters, NATO's CH-67 Huron, based on the CH-47 Chinook, and CSAT's Mi-290 Taru, based on the Ka-226. It also includes single-player scenario and time trials.
The DLC was also accompanied by a platform update, which added new mechanics including firing from passenger seats of vehicles, sling loading with helicopters and an advanced flight dynamics model which is an improved version of the flight model from another Bohemia game, Take On Helicopters.
Marksmen is a premium DLC for Arma 3 released on April 8, 2015. Owners of the DLC get access to new equipment including new weapons, scopes, ghillie suits and single-player content.
The DLC was supported by a free update for Arma 3, which included new mechanics for weapon resting, bipods, recoil, AI suppression and sound scape alongside new content and a game mode called End Game.
ARMA 3: Apex is ARMA 3's first expansion, released on July 11, 2016. It was announced as part of Bohemia Interactive Roadmap for ARMA 3 in 2015–2016. The expansion includes some free features for users which optimize the game and act as a visual update as well. The main features for this expansion are:
Arma 3: Jets is the first piece of DLC developed in cooperation with a partner, Bravo Zero One Studios, adding gameplay improvements and new units to the game including planes and an aircraft carrier. It is included as part of DLC Bundle 2 and was released on May 16, 2017.
Some of the aircraft included in the Jets DLC are NATO's F/A-181 Black Wasp II, based on a combination of the F/A-18E Super Hornet and F-22 Raptor of the U.S. Navy and Air Force, and To-201 Shikra, CSAT's counterpart, based on the Su-57 and Su-35. It also comes with an AAF operated jet, the A-149 Gryphon, based on the Swedish JAS 39 Gripen, and the NATO operated Sentinel UCAV, based on the X-47B. The DLC also includes many performance changes and the addition of a new interactive object, a nuclear-powered Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier, the USS Freedom (CVN-83).
This DLC also includes a large sensory overhaul, changing the way radar, laser and missile tracking functions. Some of the other overhauls included in the DLC include an extended damage model and a dynamic load out system.
To celebrate the 16th Anniversary of Operation Flashpoint, Bohemia Interactive announced it was working on a full recreation of one of the game's maps: the fictional Mediterranean island of Malden. It contained new assets as well as many already created for Altis and Tanoa, and was released free for all game owners in June 2017.
This DLC was developed by Bohemia Interactive's new studio in Amsterdam, Netherlands under the code-name Orange, and pursued an aspect of warfare not often covered by other games. This DLC was released on September 7, 2017.
The DLC added many new features, including a new faction called the International Development and Aid Project (which specialises in rapidly responding to crisis requiring humanitarian aid), a new miniature campaign for users to play, new vehicles, two new unmanned aerial vehicles, an APERS Mine Dispenser, cluster munitions, and various new clothing items.
This DLC is included in DLC Bundle 2 and was released in late November, 2017. It includes three distinct singleplayer military "operations" (essentially mini-campaigns), each focusing on different aspects of ground combat. Each operation requires careful planning in order to succeed but offer high replayability as the decisions the player makes can affect the outcome.
Other features include an "After Action Report" video, which includes insights for each operation from one of Bohemia Interactive's military consultants, new music tracks, new Steam achievements, and improvements to the game's scripting system in order to help players more easily create complex scenarios.
The Tanks DLC is a premium DLC released on 11 April 2018 focusing on armoured assets. Premium content includes three vehicles, an anti-tank launcher, and a mini-campaign. An accompanying platform update brought new handling and damage models for vehicles alongside expanded anti-tank launcher systems and additional content.
This DLC was released on 29 April 2019. It includes a 10 mission singleplayer Campaign, four new factions (West Germany, East Germany, Poland and Denmark), 70 new vehicles (with new variants), 30 weapons (with new variants), 'various' infantry clothing, new terrain and gear, and 17 multiplayer scenarios. The DLC is set in Cold War West and East Germany during the 1980s, which includes the new map of Weferlingen which is 419 km2 (162 sq mi) and adds a new building style and 'fresh feel' to the Arma 3 series. Unlike other ArmA 3 DLCs, the Global Mobilization was developed by Vertexmacht.
Contact is an expansion released on 25 July 2019 set in the fictional Eastern European country of Livonia in form of a new 163 km2 (63 sq mi) map. The DLC brings two new factions, the Livonian Defense Force and Russian Spetsnaz, along with new weapons and equipment.
This DLC also contains a new campaign called First Contact, in which the player takes part in a military training exercise when an alien vessel enters the atmosphere.
This DLC was released on May 6, 2021. It includes a 6 mission co-op campaign with up to 14 players, 5 Singleplayer 'Showcase' missions, 4 new factions (US Armed Forces, People's Army of Vietnam, The Vietcong and Army of the Republic of Vietnam), 54 new vehicles (with multiple variants), 55 new weapons (with multiple variants), 41 different uniforms and a new terrain named 'Cam Lao Nam' (A combination of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam respectively). This DLC is set in the Cold War during the Vietnam War as part of Bohemia Interactive's Creator DLC Program. The new map is 300 km2 and contains the three countries of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, a first in the Armed Assault series. Like the Global Mobilization DLC it was developed by a third party studio known as Savage Game Design, created to make Vietnam War era games.
On September 30, 2021, a free update was released adding a new terrain, 31 additional uniforms and 7 vests, 9 weapons (with multiple variants), 13 helmets and 6 new vehicles. The new terrain, named Khe Sanh, is 225 km2. The update also adds the ability to play as one of three primary Navy SEAL groups that operated in Vietnam, complete with underwater diving capabilities which was previously missing in the DLC.
This DLC was released on 16 June 2021. It includes 9 singeplayer 'scenarios', 9 multiplayer missions and 1 singleplayer 'Showcase', 2 new factions (United States Armed Forces, Czechoslovak Armed Forces), 30 new vehicles (with multiple variants), 35 new weapons (with various attachments), various new uniforms for all factions and a new terrain named 'Gabreta' with a size of 256 km2 . This DLC is set during the Cold War at a border region of Czechoslovakia and similar to the S.O.G Prairie Fire and Global Mobilisation DLC's it is made by a third party studio known as ČSLA Studio, a team of previous modders for the Armed Assault series.
On June 24 of 2021, Bohemia Interactive PR representative "Nillers" released a forum statement saying that BI "recognize[s] that [they] did not do enough to ensure the appropriate quality of this particular Creator DLC." and that they would be offering no-questions-asked refunds for the next 36 days up until July 30, 2021.
This DLC was released on November 18, 2021. It includes a scenario named 'Extraction', a open world sandbox featuring 'dynamically randomized contracts' playable in both singleplayer and multiplayer with up to 4 other players, 2 other multiplayer scenarios and a new showcase. It adds 4 new factions (UNA Peacekeepers, Sefrawi Freedom and Independence Army, Tura tribe insurgents, NATO in a desert variant and the official return of ION Services), 9 variants of existing vehicles, 4 new weapons, various new equipment such as a ballistic shield and a drone mounted with a Light Machine Gun, various new uniforms and a new terrain named 'Sefrou-Ramal'. This DLC is set in 2036 in a fictional country in Africa and is the first CDLC to not be set in the Cold War era.
The Bootcamp Update was released on 14 July 2014. It features training content, a Virtual Reality terrain, and a short campaign. The Bootcamp Campaign serves as the prequel to the main game. It follows Sergeants Conway and Adams one year prior to the Eastwind Campaign. The goal of this update was to introduce new players to the game's mechanics.
The Nexus update was released on 1 December 2015. It brought an improved version of the official multiplayer mission "End Game", a spectator mode, and multiple improvements such as soldier protection, stamina, and an audio overhaul.
The Eden update, released on 18 February 2016, added an in-game 3D editor, making the creation of missions easier. It also included launcher and server browser improvements, and an update to the audio system.
A 'Visual Update' was released with the 1.60 update, in May 2016, in advance of the Apex update.
As of 1 August 2018, the 1.84 update was released, together with the Encore content pack, which contains additional anti-air assets, fixed-wing armaments, and the fictional Liberty-class destroyer.
On 8 December 2018, the 1.86 update added the Warlords multiplayer missions, based on a capture the island (CTI) scenario.
|Metacritic||74/100 (38 reviews)|
|PC Gamer (US)||8.4/10|
ARMA 3 has received favorable reviews, garnering a score of 74 out of 100 on the review aggregation website Metacritic based on 38 reviews and a user score of 7.6 based on 1048 ratings. Some reviewers praise the modifications Bohemia Interactive have done with the engine, animations and sound. However, others criticised the lack of single-player content on release.
PC Gamer selected the game to be the simulation game of the year. ARMA 3 also gained Czech game of 2013 Award for technological contribution to Czech video game output and was elected to be best Czech video game of the Year in Booom 2013. Rock, Paper, Shotgun selected ARMA 3 to be 16th best FPS of all time and the 10th best Simulation Game of all time.
The islands of Altis and Stratis also received much praise. The Guardian even included them along with Chernarus (the setting of ARMA 2 and DayZ) in its list of 10 most beautiful video game environments.
It was announced on May 28, 2014, that the game had sold one million copies. In October 2015 sales had reached two million units, and in March 2017 it reached 3 million sales.
The game has sold 5 million copies as of June 2019.
The Greek media reported on 10 September 2012 that two Czechs were arrested on the Greek island Lemnos and charged with espionage. According to Greek media reports, the two men claimed to be working for Bohemia Interactive in an official capacity, recording videos and taking photographs for the development of ARMA 3. Under Greek law taking photographs of military installations and the like is prohibited for reasons of national security. Prior to the incident, the issue of the game causing potential threats to Greek national security was discussed in the Greek Parliament in 2011.
The two were initially identified as David Zapletal and Pavel Guglava, although it was later confirmed that the two were actually Martin Pezlar and Ivan Buchta. The duo's employee status under Bohemia Interactive was confirmed, but the company later stated that they were on the island "with the sole purpose of experiencing the island's beautiful surroundings". Buchta and Pezlar refuted the charges of espionage, maintaining that they "went just to a holiday [...] to enjoy the beauty of the island", noting that the layout of the virtual island in the development studio "was practically done" prior to their arrival, and that any video or photographic recordings were intended for memorabilia purposes and that they would have little or no use in the game's development. After being held in custody for 128 days, the Greek government released the arrested developers from jail on 15 January 2013.
While the two were imprisoned, Bohemia Interactive shut down access to one of the threads on their official forums titled Greek Military which was created on 1 August 2012. Bohemia Interactive has since made several statements regarding the situation on their official forums, discussing legal matters and warning users regarding the problems arising from photographing Greek military installations. As a result of the incident, on 2 February 2013, Bohemia Interactive announced that the name of the main island 'Lemnos' would change to 'Altis'. The Greek island of Lemnos was chosen as inspiration after Bohemia Interactive CEO Marek Španěl had visited the place on vacation. According to Bohemia Interactive, the name change is meant to emphasize the game is fiction. The game's smaller island named 'Stratis' remained unchanged.
In September 2012, Iran's National Foundation of Computer Games and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps refused to allow the sale of ARMA 3 because the game portrayed the CSAT faction (which was partially composed of Iranian soldiers in the main campaign) as an enemy of NATO.