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ArmA 3, first contact

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Like in Hollywood,  entertainment gurus seems to favor sequel rather than creating new IPs, at least triple A wise. I’m not going to complain considering the quality delivered and after watching daring videos and other previews, players are finally able to access ArmA 3 Alpha via Steam.

The current version contains several showcases formost major feature. The only missing would be the plane showcase but jets  are not implemented yet. Nevertheless, you can play as infantry, scuba diving, put your hands on a few land vehicules and a couple of choppers. The mission editor is also available . On top of the single player experience, multiplayer is enabled and allows you to check out this tittle’s most interresting aspect. Indeed, Bohemia Software always been mod friendly and Arma 3 is no exception, especially since the success of DayZ.

Right away you can feel noticeable improvements have been made to the engine. The general feeling and movements are much more responsive. PvP is therefore  way more exciting that his predecessors. This ain’t BF3 either but they made a great effort to optimise the combat experience, which I believe will please a larger crowd than just milsim fans. The loading times has also been greatly reduced.

Using Track-IR, Arma 3 is becoming one of the best PC game PC immersion wise.. Whereither you are piloting a chopper or in the midst of a firefight, scanning your surroundings with this head tracking device has never been so fast and easy. Its definitely a must have for Arma fans.

One specific mod called Wasteland; based on Arma 2 identitcal mod; got my attention as it lays the foundations for survival oriented mods. The other mode such as capture and hold are pretty classic. I can’t wait to see what the community will come up with after release. One major feature for Arma 3 is the underwater combat. Using specific waterproof weaponry, this totally new playground gives opportunities for new missions and tactical insertions on objectives. Its already playable and despite some minor bugs; it is running pretty smoothly. Animations while using fins on third personn views were quite realistic.

Arma 3 Alpha Island

Until then, the game still has a long way to go before release. Bugs are legions, the current map is smaller than the original continent they are working on for the release. The clip plane is also rather short and can be an issue especially for aerial vehicules. I also noticed some massive lag spikes occuring on a random basis. Several patches went live to fix most of the critical issues but there’s still alot of work ahead. I believe the game will be ready for this summer at best. Considering his current price as an alpha / preorder i would recommand it to anyone who likes large scale FPS.

Written by Fallanx

March 8, 2013 at 7:11 pm

Posted in Gaming -, Military FPS, Preview, PvP

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Murder simulations; also known as “First Person Shooters” is a type of game i particularly affectionate. Some of the best multiplayer games produced during the last decade were FPS and militarised background naturally came up. These games managed to create some of the most entertaining moment i had as a player. Battlefield mayhem is the apex of multiplayers experience, from Omaha beach, Vietnam jungles or even Bagdad streets, game developers always tried to reproduce past; current or fictionnal conflicts with more or less success.

We can easily distinguish several categories of games with this setup. Tactical shooters on a large scale being one of my favorite; I will introduce you with two games modifications,  Arma 2 mod “Warfare” and Battlefield 2 mod “Project Reality”. I choosed these mods because they are both setted in a contemporary background with excellent features.

Arma 2: Warfare

When it comes to virtually blow someone up, Bohemia Software knows it business. They started back in 2001 with the award winner Operation Flashpoint and since then developped some of the best “mil sim” on PC. Arma 2 is their latest released product and the vanilia version already provides an amazing playground of 86 square miles. With countless vehicules and weapons, Track-IR support, solo, coop and PvP modes including a sandbox aspect, this game is a must have despite numerous bugs.

Warfare mod is just the consecration.

 

“With 3 factions: East, West and Resistance. East and West are playable, with NPCs as Resistance.  Each town provides supply points which enable your team to build more bases and buy upgrades. To win the game players must either eliminate the other players bases or seize control of all the towns.”

So technically you’ll experience PvE and PvP in this conquest mod with a sandbox aspect. Each PC faction built bases and upgrade them with ressources obtained from captured towns. As a player you will lead a squad of npc who will follow your commands. You can even bind npc’s commands to the Track-IR movements.  After wiping NPC “resistance”, you quickly end up fighting against real players and their npc’s. Who gets access to Air supremacy first is often defining the outcome of each game.

Despite numerous bugs, especially with the NPC’s IA and many glitches, this mod is on my top list due to the gargantuan size of the map, the amount of vehicules and equipments available.

Battlefield 2: Project Reality

There’s no need to introduce Battlefield 2; who sold over 2 million copies. This blockbuster came with a SDK who managed to produce some of the most entertaining mods with many different settings. My favorite would be Project Reality for many reasons but mostly because this mod redefined the notion of teamplay within a “mil sim” oriented FPS.  Excellent coordination between Squad Leaders and the Commander using ingame VOIP  is a must. There’s also a mini sandbox aspect with the ability for each side to build a “Firebase” for players to spawn closer to the frontline. The respawn time for vehicules is increased and kits are  available in a limited amount; making every asset even more precious. Theres obviously many changes compared to the vanillia version and they did an impressive job to revamp BF2 and maintaining it with new versions on a regular basis.

 

To give you a precise example of how deep these changes are, players using Ground Laser Target Designator will provide targeting for another player in his fighter jet who will drop a laser guided bomb. The pilot will have to be at the right altitude; distance; angle and speed to drop his deadly ordnance and make sure he hit the target.

With several type of custom game modes, the main one being an advanced conquest mode called Assault And Secure (AAS).  Basically you have to cap all flags in a specific order, naturally creating a frontline with choke points and incredible firefights. You will have to heavily rely on your allies to prevail since capturing a flag also require several players in the caping radius.

The other game mode is called Insurgency; where coalition players will have to search & destroy randomly generated weapons caches. They will have to dodge planted IED, suicide cars and ambushes to reach their objectives. Insurgents are able to play as a fighter or as a civilian collaborator. Civilians concept is quite original as they provide human shields to insurgents and they can only throw rocks to defend themselves. With the ability to heal minor wounds; they can also use a cell phone to report infidels on the map.  Allies will have to get very close to civilians in order to arrest them using platic handcuffs. It will generate Intelligence Points, needed to reveal weapons cache. If a civilian is killed by a coalition member; it will result in a  heavy malus for the allied player and his team.

From the streets of  Al-Basrah to the deadly Korengal Valley, this mod as plenty to offer with 28 unique maps, several factions including the British Army, Israeli Defense Force, German Forces, Russian Forces, Chechen independentist, Taliban, Iraquis Insurgents and more. Black Sand Studios tried to exploit every aspect of the now ageing BF2 engine to provide a credible environment with as much realistic details as they could.

I obviously highly recommand these mods if you possess the orginal game or buy them if you don’t 🙂 This article also highlight that some of the best modifications out there push the boundaries of their original titles, boosting the sales years after the release and also to maintain a dedicated community.

So what’s next ? Well I’m now looking forward Arma 3 and Red Orchestra 2, who should provide exciting new battlegrounds with the same approach; SDK included. I’m also looking forward BF3 but this will be another article as it is action/arcadish oriented rather than simulation.

Arma 3 latest presentation during Gamescon 2011

Interresting link on the subject:

http://dslyecxi.com/bestoftactical.html

Written by Fallanx

August 20, 2011 at 11:51 pm