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E3 2013: Arma 3 (Impressions)

Posted by: Travis at 6/15/2013 6:30 PM
At my appointment with Bohemia at E3 I was shown a preview of new content and updates that will be included in the beta release of Arma 3. The major additions include four new showcase missions that feature the beta's expanded content with additional armored ground and air vehicles, artillery support, and the new independent faction. As well, a wealth of updates to the base game including in-game support for the Steam Workshop, improved stability and optimizations, and added graphics effects such as localized fog.

The artillery support mission showcased the added commands for issuing air strikes and other bombardments from actual units on the map. I'm excited to see what mission creators will eventually use with the added ability. Another mission showcased a night infiltration into an enemy base in which the player utilized the newly-added long range sniper scopes. The game's interface has also received an upgrade that displays useful information such as ammo left in the clip and the player's stance. The developer did note that the on-screen information can be toggled in the settings.

The editor will receive a major upgrade in the beta version that allows users to upload their custom missions in-game to the Steam Workshop, in addition to downloading new missions from other community members also inside the game's interface. As with previous Arma games, the modding community has created a wealth of varied and polished content. Later Steam Workshop support will include custom mods, but for now only missions are supported.

The beta also includes a new challenge mode that allows players to test their shooting skills at a competition gun range. Each of the included challenges provide ratings and medals for players based upon their performance. Players will also be able to create new challenges through the in-game editor. Multiplayer isn't being left out as a horde-type map will be added that pits each of the game's three factions against an onslaught of enemies and possibly each other. Players have the option of helping each other or breaking alliances and attempting to survive against everyone on the map.

Arma 3 will upgrade to the beta version on June 25 and will be free for current owners. The game's price will increase once it's been upgraded to the beta version.